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15th Senior Match Play Championship

Tee shot precision is key to mastering Innis Arden's "mini-greens"

Though Innis Arden Golf Club in Greenwich is as old as the CSGA itself, it was not until 2018 that the club hosted its first CSGA championship, the 20th Connecticut Women’s Open, won by now-LPGA-member Sarah Burnham. That was stroke play.

In many ways, Innis Arden is made for match play. Its small greens will yield birdies—runner-up Elsa Diaz made eight when she shot 66 in the opening round in ’18—but only if a player finds the “mini-greens” within Innis Ardens usually fast putting surfaces.

Robert Trent Jones designed the course in 1960. Ken Dye renovated it in 2008, removing many forced carries, and then re-greened it in 2015. He created hole locations on what amount to greens within greens.

“Players have to find the right quadrant to have a chance,” says Head Professional Gary Murphy. “On some holes, where you hit your tee shot will determine if you’ve got a chance to do that. So that demands precision both off the tee and into the green. On the back there are a few choices. And those choices will determine what kind of scoring chances you’ll have.”

Murphy also advises caution when approaching back hole locations. “There’s often out-of-bounds over greens. And getting up and in from behind them, because they are small and tend to be fast, is very difficult. I think the ability to recover, to get up and down when you miss a green will be big.”

The course measures about 6300 yards and plays to par 70.

The Senior Match Play is in its 14th year. In four of those years Hall of Fame member Dave Szewczul has won. He will certainly be a favorite, as will defending champion Mark Vasington, also a Senior Amateur champion, and 2015 Senior Match Play champ Bill Hermanson, who won last year’s Senior Amateur at Black Hall. 2017 Champion Tom Brett and Bruce Kraczkowsky, who won in 2016 and was a finalist last year, promise to be in the mix.

Competitors will play one round of stroke play on Monday October 5. Sixteen players will advance to match play beginning on October 6, culminating in semi-finals and 18-hole final on October 7.

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About the CSGA

Founded in 1899, the CSGA is the country's oldest state golf association and, as an Allied Golf Association of the USGA, provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. In addition to administering handicaps for over 40,000 members at 181 member clubs, the CSGA conducts more than 85 days of competition throughout the year for golfers of all ages, genders, and skill levels. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the CSGA supports a variety of golf organizations within Connecticut, including the Connecticut Association of Golf Course Superintendents, Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, Connecticut Section PGA, Connecticut Women’s Golf Association, CSGA Scholarship Fund in honor of Widdy Neale, LPGA-Amateur Golf Association, Southern New England Women’s Golf Association, and The First Tee of Connecticut.