On Monday, June 6th, ninety two of the state’s top senior amateur golfers will begin their quest for the 10th Senior Match Play Championship, presented by the Lincoln Motor Company. The championship is open to bona fide members of a CSGA club who are fifty five years of age and over by the start of the tournament. The Senior Match Play, which is the first of two majors for senior golfers on the CSGA schedule, challenges competitors with a round of stroke play to determine the low sixteen match play qualifiers followed by two rounds of match play each day that culminate in an eighteen-hole final match.
Last Year’s Champion: Bill Hermansonof Black Hall Club captured his first Senior Match Play title, defeating four-time champion Dave Szewczul of Tunxis Plantation Country Club in the final match. Hermanson, who was inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame in 2012, would go on to capture his first Dick Siderowf Senior Player of the Year title.
Senior Player of the Year Race: Hermanson’s dominating performance in 2015 broke Szewczul’s streak of winning six straight Senior Player of the Year titles. This year, Szewczul currently leads Hermanson by narrowest of margins - 0.7 points, and both players are in the field this week. The winner of the Senior Match Play Championship will earn 400 points, and the runner-up will earn 260 points.
A total of three players in this year’s field will be representing the host club as they all search to capture their first Senior Match Play title. They are: John Martocchio, Kurt Myers and Brian Jensen.
This year's field boasts an incredible history of capturing CSGA major championships. A total of five players in the field have previously captured the Connecticut Amateur and seven players have previously captured the Connecticut Senior Amateur. They are:
Dick Weigold, Torrington CC - 1974 Amateur Champion
Dave Szewczul, Tunxis Plantation CC - 1978 Amateur and 2011 & 2012 Senior Amateur Champion
William T. Lee, Course at Yale- 1975, 1979 & 1990 Amateur and 2008 Senior Amateur Champion
Roger Everin, Wethersfield CC - 1989 Amateur Champion
Bill Dober, Brooklawn CC – 1997 and 2000 Senior Amateur Champion
Shawn McLoughlin, Ridgewood CC - 2001 Senior Amateur Champion
Manny Cavalieri, Wethersfield CC – 2009 Senior Amateur Champion
Jack Bracken, Hartford GC - 2013 Senior Amateur Champion
Mark Vasington, Wampanoag CC – 2014 Senior Amateur Champion
Bill Hermanson, Black Hall Club – 1991 Amateur & 2015 Senior Amateur Champion
Youngest Player: Randy Rizy of Timberlin Golf Club is the youngest player in the field, having celebrated his 55th birthday less than one month ago. Rizy was a semifinalist in the 2007 Connecticut Amateur Championship and runner-up in the 2009 Connecticut Mid-Amateur Championship.
Shawn McLoughlin is one of only three players to win multiple New England Senior Amateur titles, having won in 2000 and 2013. McLoughlin is still searching to capture his first CSGA Senior Match Play title – he was a finalist in 2007 and semifinalist in 2009.
Interestingly enough, McLoughlin is paired with Ivan Lendl of Torrington Country Club, who is also searching for his first Senior Match Play title. Lendl is a former world #1 professional tennis player and captured a total of eight Grand Slam singles titles during his illustrious tennis career.
Along with Szewczul, Jim Romaniello of Shorehaven Golf Course is the only other New England Senior Amateur Champion in the field. Romaniello captured the title in 2014 by one stroke with rounds of 71-74—145 at Laconia Country Club. Since the inception of the New England Senior Amateur in 1998, Connecticut has the second most champions of the event (seven) with Massachusetts leading the way with eight.
About the Course: The 2016 Connecticut Senior Match Play Championship will be hosted at Hop Meadow Country Club for the first time in tournament history. Hop Meadow Country Club has hosted numerous CSGA championships and qualifiers, most notably the 1995 Connecticut Amateur, the 1999, 2005, 2012 and 2014 Connecticut Mid-Amateur, and the 2009 and 2011 Russell C. Palmer Cup.
Unique Finish: Hop Meadow Country Club finishes with back-to-back reachable par 5’’s that both measure under 500 yards on the scorecard and will no doubt provide some dramatic finishes to the match play portion of the tournament. The 17th hole is guarded by out of bounds down the entire right side of the hole, while the 18th hole requires precision to avoid the pair of hazards that guard the narrow fairway.