It’s a rarity, but when the 74th Connecticut Senior Amateur takes place at Black Hall Club in Old Lyme September 23-24, there will be one single, overwhelming favorite. His name is Bill Hermanson.
Hermanson, a Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame member, happens also to be a Black Hall member and has won some 25 club championships there.
He is a perennial contender with partner Phil Perry in the Connecticut Two Man Team Championship each May at Black Hall, an event now named in his honor. The 2015 Senior Amateur champion, he placed second last year at Shorehaven Golf Club, losing to Torrington’s Ray Underwood by a shot.
Still, Underwood, 2017 champion Patrick McGuiness of Keney Park (last year's Senior Player of the Year), returning Dave Szewczul, the 2017 Player of the Year, and Bob Murphy of Brownson Country Club are among several others who should be considered contenders.
Black Hall suits the game of someone like Hermanson, whose prodigious length and consistent ball striking allow him to hit a high percentage of fairways and greens, avoiding Black Hall’s many bunkers and trees. The Robert Trent Jones Sr./Roger Rulewich design plays to par 71 and measures about 6700 yards. It uses doglegs and natural topography to make the layout, especially its par 4s, more challenging than length alone would suggest. Experience on its challenging greens is a plus.
Host to the 2003 Connecticut Open and the 2015 Connecticut Amateur, in addition to many state and national qualifiers, Black Hall is named after a historically important section of Old Lyme, and was founded in March of 1965.
The Connecticut Senior Amateur Championship is open to bona fide members of a CSGA club who have reached 55 years of age by the start of the tournament. The championship was first held at the Country Club of Farmington and Tumble Brook CC in 1961.