Hartford, Connecticut (June 10, 2021) – Headlined by defending champion and 2021 Russell C. Palmer Cup winner Chris Fosdick, 120 of the state's best golfers will compete from June 14-18 at Hartford Golf Club for the right to be crowned the 119th Connecticut Amateur champion. The event will return to Hartford GC for the first time since 1990 and for the 10th time in the club's history.
“It means a great deal,” said second-year Hartford GC head professional, Richard Bray. “I think it is really the highlight of the year as part of celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the course. To be able to host an event which really holds a lot of weight in our state is such an amazing way to show the golf community what we have.”
Hartford GC was founded in 1896, and hosted its first Connecticut Amateur in 1902, however this year the field will get a new look at the course. For the first time in club history, a tournament will feature holes from all three nine-hole layouts. Typically a par-71 championship layout the course will become a par-70 track that Bray believes will present more of a challenge, “The course is going to play longer. It is going to be a bit more of a challenge. We are picking some of our better holes, and with that some of our harder holes.”
Play at the 119th Connecticut Amateur will begin on Monday with the first of two days of stroke-play qualifying. After 36-holes of qualifying the field will be cut to 32 and the format will switch to match play.
“I think match play is a beautiful thing. It doesn’t matter what anyone else in the field is doing, it’s just you versus the guy you’re playing against,” defending champion Chris Fosdick said. “Each hole is essentially its own match. It doesn’t matter how many shots you win or lose by on a hole, the result is either a win, a loss, or a tie on the hole.”
Last year at Shorehaven Golf Club Fosdick shined in match play and proved that it doesn’t matter what seed you earn, it is all about surviving stroke play. “Match play allows me to get a little bit more aggressive than I normally would be in normal stroke play at times,” said Fosdick, the 21-seed last year. “My strategy might also change depending on what my opponent does.”
The final three days of the Connecticut Amateur are both a sprint and a marathon. Match play begins on Wednesday with the Round of 32 and Round of 16, it continues with the quarterfinals and semifinals on Thursday before concluding with the 36-hole championship match on Friday.
“It is tough to prepare for the marathon that is the Connecticut Amateur,” said Ben Day a semifinalist in 2020. “I try to stay fit, eat well, and get rest in the lead up to the event. Then during the week I focus my attention on the event.”
When the field arrives at Hartford GC on Monday the tournament will be wide open but one thing is certain, the course celebrating its 125th anniversary will shine bright and provide a championship worthy test.
Notes on the Field:
Number of Players: 120
Past Champions: 8 - Chris Fosdick (2020), Rick Dowling (2019 & 2017), Ben Conroy (2018), Cody Paladino (2013), Brian Hedstrom (1997 & 2020), Brian Ahern (1999), Bill Hermanson (1991), Dave Szewczul (1978)
Players to Watch:
Brian Ahern (Wampanoag Country Club) – The 2018 Palmer Cup champion also won the 1999 Connecticut Amateur.
Christopher Ayers (Goodwin Golf Club) – Ayers has had success in the Connecticut Amateur in recent years. In 2020 he advanced to the Round of 16 while in 2019 he was the R.M. Grant Medalist before falling in the Round of 32. Last year Ayers put together an impressive season recording three top-10 finishes. His best showing came at the Public Links where he was the runner-up while at the Palmer Cup he finished in fifth place. Ayers just completed his senior season on the Old Dominion University golf team.
Jack Bracken (Hartford Golf Club) – A long-time member of the club, Bracken is the only Hartford golfer in history to have won the club championship in four separate decades. A 7-time qualifier for USGA Championships, Bracken is a two-time runner up in the Connecticut Amateur, including 1990 when Hartford GC last hosted the championship.
Patrick Casey (Torrington Country Club) – In 2020 Casey shared third at the Palmer Cup, and by way of his T8 at the Connecticut Open he tied for low amateur honors.
Matthew Chorches (Hartford Golf Club) – Playing on his home course Chorches will look to build upon his recent success in the Connecticut Amateur. In 2019 Chorches reached the quarterfinals and last year he made it into the Round of 32 as the 29-seed.
Ben Conroy (New Haven Country Club) – Conroy won the 2018 Connecticut Amateur at the CC of Waterbury, and added to his trophy case last year with a win at the Mid-Amateur on the second playoff hole at Madison. The victory capped off a season that included three top-10 finishes and a run to the Round of 16 at the Connecticut Amateur.
Ben Day (New Haven Country Club) – The 2019 Mid-Amateur champion reached the semifinals at the Connecticut Amateur last year, finished T2 at the Palmer Cup, and notched a T9 at the Mid-Amateur.
Rick Dowling (EClub of Connecticut) – Dowling is a two-time Connecticut Amateur champion winning in 2017 and 2019. In 2020 he won the Palmer Cup and nearly won it again this year before settling for a third place finish.
Thomas Durkin (Suffield Country Club) – In 2020 Durkin made a run to the quarterfinals at the Connecticut Amateur. He recently completed his senior season at Rider University where he earned one top-10 finish and was third on the team in scoring average.
Chris Fosdick (Wallingford Country Club) – After a successful freshman season on the University of Virginia golf team, Fosdick is back in Connecticut and he has his season off to a good start. The defending Connecticut Amateur champion won the 2021 Palmer Cup with a back nine charge.
Adam Friedman (Great River Golf Club) – Last year Friedman reached the Connecticut Amateur quarterfinals as the four-seed only to fall to eventual winner Chris Fosdick. Friedman was also in the mix at the Connecticut Open finishing T12.
Rick Hayes (Silver Spring Country Club) – Hayes won the 2019 Russell C. Palmer Cup.
Bill Hermanson (Black Hall Club) – A Connecticut Golf Hall of Famer Bill Hermanson has won nearly every event on the CSGA schedule. Most recently he won the 2019 Senior Amateur at his home course, the Black Hall Club. He won the Connecticut Amateur in 1991.
Mike Kennedy (New Haven Country Club) – The 2017 Connecticut Mid-Amateur winner is always a threat. Last year he reached match play at the Connecticut Amateur and finished third at the Two Man Championship.
Dan Murphy (H. Smith Richardson Golf Club) – Murphy’s 2020 season was highlighted by a run to the quarterfinals of the Connecticut Amateur, and a T10 showing at the Public Links. This season he claimed medalist honors at The Patterson Club in local qualifying for the 2021 US Open.
Cody Paladino (Wampanoag Country Club) – Last year was a season of near misses for Paladino and although the 2013 Connecticut Amateur champion didn’t lift a trophy he did earn Dick Tettelbach Player of the Year honors. In last year's Connecticut Amateur final Paladino suffered a heartbreaking defeat.
Chris Pieper (TPC River Highlands) – The 18-year-old has jump started his 2021 season in a big way. First, he was the medalist at Palmer Cup qualifying then one week later he followed that up by earning medalist honors at U.S. Open Local Qualifying at Shuttle Meadow.
Jamie Sheltman (Alling Memorial Golf Club) – Sheltman has made it to the Round of 32 in each of the last three years at the Connecticut Amateur. This year he will be looking to make a deeper run.
Dave Szewczul (TPC River Highlands) – Last year the 1978 Connecticut Amateur champion won his 10th Dick Siderowf Senior Player of the Year award. Szewczul picked up wins at the Senior Match Play, Tournament of Champions, Senior Four-Ball, and the Super Senior Championship.
Brad Tilley (Brooklawn Country Club) – The R.M. Grant Medalist last year, Tilley reached the semifinals before falling to Fosdick on his way to the title. Tilley won three mid-amateur titles in just 12 days in 2019 when he captured the New York Mid-Amateur, Westchester Mid-Amateur, and the Metropolitan Golf Association Mid-Amateur. In 2017 Tilley was the U.S. Mid-Amateur medalist and reached the quarterfinals.
About the Connecticut State Golf Association
The Connecticut Amateur is one of 19 championships conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association. The CSGA functions as an extension of the USGA and provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. Founded in 1899, it is the country’s oldest state golf association and conducts over 60 Championships, Qualifiers, and One Day Tournaments throughout the year. For more information, visit csgalinks.org.