Bill Hermanson of Black Hall Club shot a four over-par score of 76 on the final day for a two round total of 146 (+2) and emerged victorious at the 70th Connecticut Senior Amateur Championship. The two-day, 36-hole stroke play championship was contested September 21st-22nd at Torrington Country Club in Goshen, Conn. and is open to Connecticut senior golfers who are fifty-five years of age and over.
Hermanson began the final round in search of his first Connecticut Senior Amateur title and third CSGA championship of the season, having already won the Senior Match Play Championship and Two-Man Team Championship earlier this season. After opening with a round of two under-par 70, he held a two shot lead over 2011-12 champion Dave Szewczul, and a total of ten players stood within five shots of the lead. For the second consecutive day, breezy conditions and fast greens were the story, as players made their way around the 6,415 yard, par-72 layout that boasts one of the most challenging set of green complexes in the state.
Hermanson began his day with nine pars and a lone bogey on the par-3 6th hole, and standing on the par- hole, his lead was three over Mark Vasington of Wampanoag Country Club, who shot an opening round of 74. But after hitting it just over the green, Hermanson struggled and left the green with a disastrous triple-bogey six, moving to two over-par for the championship. Suddenly, his comfortable lead had quickly evaporated in a matter of minutes.
“It was really a battle out there because the greens were so severe with the wind and you really had to pay attention," said Hermanson. "Luckily I survived the train wreck out there on the 11th hole. I hit a good tee shot and made a six on a par three, which is never good, and I three-putted two in a row after that but then I recovered coming down the stretch.”
Indeed, Hermanson would rebound from the disaster with birdies on the par-5 12th and 16th holes, playing even-par for the last seven holes. However, the shot of the round was on the par-3 17th. After missing the green short and hitting a poor chip to twenty feet from the hole, Hermanson calmly drained the putt to maintain his narrow advantage over Vasington. With birdies a rarity given the challenging conditions, Vasington was unable to make a move up the leaderboard on the final stretch of holes, and Hermanson’s final round of 76 proved good enough for a two stroke victory.
With the win, Hermanson becomes only the second played in CSGA history to win both the Senior Match Play Championship and the Senior Amateur Championship in the same year (Dave Szewczul- 2011) The 2012 Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame inductee has now amassed a total of twelve individual CSGA championships, which ranks second all-time only to Dave Szewczul’s thirteen individual CSGA titles and two New England Senior Amateur titles.
“It feels really good to have won my third different CSGA major championship,” said Hermanson. “I've played really consistent all year. I went to the claw putting grip this year and I wish I did it 20 years ago. It's really helped me be competitive and that's really the difference.”
Hermanson will be searching for the “three-peat” next week when he heads to Oyster Harbors Club in Osterville, Massachusetts for the 18th New England Senior Amateur Championship. He will be joined by the likes of Szewczul, Vasington, Bracken, McLoughlin and many of the other top senior amateur golfers from Connecticut. Jim Romaniello of Shorehaven Golf Club, who finished tied for 18th, will be defending his title after he captured the New England Senior Amateur last year at Laconia Country Club in New Hampshire.