Day two of the 8th Senior Match Play Championship, presented by Johnson Brunetti, concluded at The Farms Country Club, with only four players left with a chance to capture the title. Dave Szewczul, William Lee, Mike Natale and Jon Groveman each won their respective quarterfinal matches to successfully advance to the semifinals.
Conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association, the Senior Match Play Championship is open to Connecticut senior golfers who are fifty five years of age and over by the start of the event. The tournament challenges competitors with a round of stroke play to determine the low sixteen match play qualifiers. Following the qualifying round, four rounds of match play are conducted over consecutive days, culminating in an eighteen-hole final match.
The final four is highlighted by the #1 seed and three-time defending champion Dave Szewczul of Tunxis Plantation Country Club, who claimed medalist honors on Tuesday with a qualifying round of one under-par 71. Szewczul, a five-time CSGA Senior Player of the Year, played steady in both his morning and afternoon matches. Facing Gary Mattesen of Cedar Knob Golf Club in the Round of 16, Szewczul was 1-down through four holes early in the match, but quickly captured a commanding lead by winning holes #7, 8 and 9 to take a 3-Up lead into the back nine, a lead he would never relinquish. His afternoon match against Craig Dubois of Wintonbury Hills Golf Course, Szewczul made the turn at 1-Up, but traded birdies throughout the back nine and was only 1-Up standing on the 18th tee following a clutch birdie by Dubois on #17. However, Dubois failed to make his long birdie putt on the par-5 18th, and a par by Szewczul was all that was needed to advance.
Szewczul will face one of Connecticut’s legendary players, Rev. William Lee of the Course at Yale in the first semifinal match on Thursday morning. Lee, a three-time Connecticut Amateur Champion (1975, 79 and 90) and 2008 Senior Amateur Champion, had perhaps the most difficult road to the semifinals, facing a pair of past CSGA major champions. Entering the tournament as the #13 seed, Lee notched the first upset of the week by knocking off Shawn McLoughlin of Ridgewood Country Club, the reigning New England Senior Amateur Champion and #4 seed. All square through twelve holes and as many as 2-down early in the match, Lee went on to win Holes #13, 14 and 15, which carried him to an eventual 3 & 2 victory. In his quarterfinal match, Lee faced off with 2007 Senior Match Play Champion Bill Torza of Wethersfield Country Club. He jumped out to an early lead, winning Holes #1, 4 7 and 8 and eventually defeating Torza by a score of 5 & 3.
On the other side of the bracket, both Mike Natale of East Mountain Golf Club and Jon Groveman of Connecticut Golf Club needed extra holes to advance in their respective matches. Natale, who shot a round of one over-par 73 in stroke play qualifying to claim the #2 seed, cruised to victory over Bob Spaniotis of Wethersfield Country Club in his morning match, winning by a margin of 7 and 6. However, he faced his toughest test yet in the quarterfinals against Robert Carroll of Wampanoag Country Club. Both Natale and Carroll grinded out birdies and pars the entire match, but it was Natale who won with a par on the third extra playoff hole advance.
The last player to advance was Groveman, who entered the bracket as the #6 seed. Earlier in the day, he knocked off Manny DaSilva of Blue Fox Run in dramatic fashion, sinking a long birdie putt on the 18th hole to win 1-up and advance. He faced off against Tom Yellin of The Stanwich Club in his afternoon match, which proved to be a stern test. Groveman narrowly led for much of the match, but opened up his biggest lead after winning the 11th and 12th holes to go 2-Up. However, Yellin refused to go down without a fight, winning the 16th hole with a par and making an 8-foot birdie putt on the 18th to force extra holes. However, it was Groveman who traded the final blow, making a par on the difficult opening hole to secure his place in the semifinals.
The Senior Match Play Championship concludes tomorrow, May 28th, with the Semifinal matches beginning at 7:30 a.m., followed by the Final match in the afternoon. For more information and Live Scoring, visit CTSrMatchPlay.com or csgalinks.org.
7:30 a.m. – (1) Dave Szewczul, Tunxis Plantation CC vs. (13) William Lee, The Course at Yale
7:40 a.m. – (2) Mike Natale, East Mountain Golf Club vs. (6) Jon Groveman, Connecticut Golf Club
Round of 16 Results
Dave Szewczul, Tunxis Plantation CC def. Gary Mattesen, Cedar Knob GC, 3 and 2
Mike Natale, East Mountain Golf Club def. Bob Spaniotis, Wethersfield CC, 7 and 6
Tom Yellin, The Stanwich Club def. Wayne Tymosko, Timberlin GC, 6 and 4
William Lee, The Course at Yale def. Shawn McLoughlin, Ridgewood CC, 3 and 2
Bill Torza, Wethersfield CC def. Bill Dober, Brooklawn CC, 1-Up
Jon Groveman, The Connecticut GC def. Manny DaSilva, Blue Fox Run, 1-Up
Robert Carroll, Wampanoag CC def. Frank Geiger, H Smith Richardson GC, 20 holes
Craig Dubois, Wintonbury Hills GC def. Thomas Gorman, Topstone GC, 2 and 1
Dave Szewczul, Tunxis Plantation CC def. Craig Dubois, Wintonbury Hills CC, 2-Up
William Lee, The Course at Yale def. Bill Torza, Wethersfield CC, 5 and 3
Mike Natale, East Mountain GC def. Robert Carroll, Wampanoag CC, 21 holes
Jon Groveman, Connecticut GC def. Tom Yellin, Stanwich Club, 19 holes