Links: Full Results
After nearly twenty years of playing in CSGA competitions, Glen Boggini of Twin Hills Country Club broke through to win his first individual major championship, shooting a final round score of even-par 72 to capture the 29th Connecticut Public Links Championship at the Golf Club at Oxford Greens.
Conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association, the Connecticut Public Links Championship is a 36-hole stroke play competition that honors the true spirit of public golf in the state. The Public Links Championship is open to Connecticut amateur golfers who have been bona-fide public course players since the start of the calendar year. The championship layout at Oxford Greens opened for play in 2005 and was set up to play at a total of 6,598 yards for the competitors.
After an opening round of two over-par 74, Boggini began the day as one of twenty competitors within four shots of the lead held by Richard Malafronte of Hunter Golf Club and Philip Boehme of Wheeler Park Golf Course, both of whom shot a round of 73 on day one. Whereas the story in the first round was difficult scoring conditions, marked by gusty winds, fast greens and high scores, day two was no different. A steady 15-20 mph wind greeted the leaders as they teed off hoping to make their bid at CSGA championship history.
Playing in the final group and seeking to win his first championship title, Boggini got off to just the start he needed, making the turn in even-par 36 to hold steady at two over-par for the championship.
“I played great yesterday, but finished with two bogies on the final two holes, so I was a little disappointed. I tried to put that behind me and just focus on playing well today. I felt like if I could shoot even-par today, I would have a great chance.”
As Boehme and Malafronte both found trouble on the closing stretch of the front nine, the race to the finish became much clearer. Boggini offset a bogey at the difficult par-4 11th with a birdie at the 14th to move to +3 for the championship and sole possession of the lead.
“I missed a couple of short putts early on, but being a bit more mature now, I just kept telling myself that I needed to focus on the next shot.”
The early pace was set by the defending champion, Brent Dietz of Cedar Knob Golf Course, who shot the only under-par round of the championship to grab the clubhouse lead at five over-par. After an opening round score of 80, Dietz rebounded like a true champion, firing a round of three under-par 69 that included six birdies, moving him from a tie for 28th into contention for the title.
Also making a move up the leaderboard was Dave Szewczul, the 2011 Public Links Champion and six-time Senior Player of the Year. After shooting 75 in the first round, he played steady golf on a day where bogies were plentiful, and through his first 13 holes, he was +4 for the championship and just one back of Boggini with four holes to play. Unable to make up any ground on the closing stretch, Szewczul needed birdie at the last to catch the lead, but after his birdie attempt at the final hole slid by, he would have to settle for the new clubhouse lead at four over-par.
But it was Boggini who seized the moment when it mattered most. After making a pair of clutch par’s on the 16th and 17th holes, he stood on the 18th tee clinging to a one shot lead. Perhaps one of the most difficult tee shots on the course, with hazards and out of bounds lurking, hitting the tee-shot in play was imperative.
“Sometimes, luck is on your side,” said Boggini. “I was planning on hitting a hybrid off the tee, but I wanted to avoid the fairway bunker, so I took out the driver. I tugged it a little bit but I had a great lie in the rough and had the perfect yardage for a 9-iron.”
From there, Boggini hit the shot of the tournament, a magnificent approach that rolled to within five feet from the hole. Needing just two putts for the win, he calmly rolled in the birdie putt for a two-shot victory and his first CSGA major championship.
“I was worried right up until the final putt dropped, because I knew there were so many guys that had a chance," said Boggini. "I’ve been playing in CSGA events for so long and I’ve been close to winning a few times, but to finally win is so special. I thought if I kept putting myself in position to win, one of these times I would break through.”
Indeed, Boggini had been close before, having made runs at the Connecticut Amateur, Mid-Amateur and Palmer Cup, but a few putts here and there had kept him out of the winner’s circle. But today was a different story, as Boggini was able to secure his first individual title and finally etched his name in championship history.
Finishing in a tie for second along with Szewczul was Josh Cameron of Shennecossett Golf Course, who offset a pair of double bogies on his opening nine with a back nine charge, making birdies on #14 and 16 to briefly stand within one of the lead. But closing par’s on #17 and 18 left him just short of winning his first CSGA title.
Rounding out the top five with Dietz at five over-par was Ross Kronberg of Great River Golf Club, who recently won the Jerry Courville, Sr. Memorial with longtime friend Peter Ballo, a member of this year’s USGA State Team.
The Connecticut Public Links marks the final CSGA major championship of 2014, but many of Connecticut’s top amateur’s will look to make a bid at history this Thursday, when Team Connecticut takes on Massachusetts and Rhode Island in the annual Tri-State Matches. The matches begin on Thursday, October 9th at Tumble Brook Country Club, Foursomes matches played on day one followed by Singles matches on day two. Scoring and results will be available on the CSGA website at csgalinks.org.