2019 is the year of great architects in the CSGA championship schedule: Willie Park Jr. designer of Shuttle Meadow, the Mid-Amateur site. (Park’s protege Orrin Smith, is responsible for Torrington Country Club, site of the Open). Desmond Muirhead, who designed Oronoque Country Club, where the Women’s Amateur will be played. And, of course, A.W. Tillinghast, whose Brooklawn Country Club design is the site of the 2019 Women’s Open.
But what such list would be complete without the great Pete Dye?
Wintonbury Hills in Bloomfield, site of the 34th Connecticut Public Links Championship August 6-7, adds Dye to the list. It was designed by Dye and Tim Liddy and opened in 2005. A straightforward layout that combines open, linksy holes with parkland-like, tree-lined ones, Wintonbury relies for its defense on Dye’s demand that you play its angles correctly to have a chance at birdie on multi-leveled greens. Which can be done. Brooklawn’s Andrew Sciarretta shares the course record with 62, eight under, here.
The youngest of this year's championship sites, Wintonbury was last year named GolfWeek’s top Connecticut public course and has since opening been a favorite of public golfers. At par 70 and measuring just over 6700 years, it should test even the championship's long hitters, beginning with defending champion, now CSGA staff member, John Abbott. Champions from the preceding five years are all expected to compete: Dave Szewczul (2017), returning from back surgery; Kyle Nolin (2016), who was runner-up last year; Chet Hrostek (2015), Glen Boggini (2014), who played in the 2018 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, and Brent Dietz (2013), last year’s One Day Player of the Year as he came back from hip replacement.
The Public Links is 36-holes of stroke play open to players of 9.0 handicap or less who have no private-club privileges. The low 30 players and ties on day one advance to the second 18.