Farmington (September 29, 2020) Friends say it’s rare to catch Jim Lawler in a bad mood, and he was in an especially good one Tuesday at the Country Club of Farmington.
Lawler shot 69 (-2) in the first round of the 75th Connecticut Senior Amateur, the only player under par. Lawler was two shots ahead of Mike Kraczkowsky, a Farmington member, and Rick Malafronte of Indian Hill, the only other players who matched par.
It’s been a good late-summer for Lawler, a computer specialist with the Knights of Columbus in New Haven, and a member at Mohegan Sun Golf Club. He finished tied for 7th in the CSGA's Public Links Championship, and together with buddy Tony Susi, also of Mohegan Sun, won the Harry Bartholomew Four-Ball at Pequabuck Golf Club in August.
Susi advanced to Wednesday’s second round, too, shooting 76. So did another Mohegan member and friend, Dave Jones, who made the semi-finals in last year’s Senior Match Play at Wampanoag.
Lawler has upped his game over the past year, one friend said, and Tuesday was evidence of that.
“It was a good day,” said a smiling Lawler after his morning round. “I left a couple out there, but overall, all good.”
Lawler made three birdies, one on the front and two on the back nine par 3s, first at the short (115-yard) 12th, and then at the final hole, the long downhill par-3 18th. His up and in from the short side of the difficult par-4 11th, seemed to propel him. “I was lucky there. I had a good lie,” said Lawler, who pitched his third to about a foot.
Thirty-nine players shot 78 (+7) or better to advance to tomorrow’s round, which will not start until noon, due to anticipated heavy rain and subsequent cleanup tonight and tomorrow morning. Players will tee off on holes 1 and 10.
Included in Wednesday’s field is Defending Champion Bill Hermanson of Black Hall Club, and recent Senior Amateur winners Richard Stevens (+2), Pat McGuiness (+4), Dave Szewczul (+5), Mark Vasington (+5), and Shawn McLoughlin (+6).
Lawler surmised that it might take five under par to win. “Which means I’m going to have to play better tomorrow!” he smiled.