Last year at the Julius Boros Challenge Cup the CSGA amateurs won for the first time in 11 years. An exception, for sure, given that the pros owned the matches, 34-13.
That the amateurs would repeat, a feat they also hadn’t accomplished in a decade—well, the odds weren’t good.
But what are odds.
Thursday at New Haven Country Club the amateurs resoundingly defeated the pros again, 46.5-25.5, winning, as weekend golfers say, the front, the back and the whole deal, in both team and individual matches. The team score was: 17-7. The score in the 16 individual matches was: 29.5-18.5. 2019 Final Results
“It feels great, for sure. But it was closer than it seemed, even after the front nine,” said Captain Roger Everin. “The key was our guys stuck to it and really played well on the back nine. So I feel very fortunate to be on the winning end again.”
PGA Captain Ralph Salito, was gracious, and philosophical. “All credit to the amateurs today,” he said. “They must have played very well, because our guys played well. And these guys are some of the best players not only in the Section, but in the country. Most of all ,this is a great event. We’re all proud to be here.”
If there was any suffering behind those words, he erased it quickly. “I take no credit for this loss,” he told his team at dinner.
If the final score was decisive, things hardly looked like a sure thing at the halfway point. After nine, the CSGA led in individual matches, 10-6, but only 4.5 to 3.5 in team matches. (The competition is Four-Ball, with two-man teams competing for three points (front, back and 18) while individuals simultaneously play a three-point competition against a member of the other team.)
In the end, many matches where decided on the final hole and few were sweeps: Taking all three points in their team match were Glen Boggini of Manchester Country Club and Patrick Griffin of Blue Fox Run against the New Haven Country Club home pro William Wallis and former New Haven assistant Billy Street, with Griffin making 4 consecutive birdies and shooting 30 on the front nine. Also sweeping were Dan Murphy of H. Smith Richardson and Jamie Sheltman of Alling Memorial, who played Rick Fleury of the Ledges and James Giampaolo of Shuttle Meadow. For the PGA, Kyle Bilodeau of Golf Club of Avon and Chris Tallman of Cold Spring Country Club also swept their team match against Ben Day of the Country Club of Waterbury and Shep Stevens of New Haven Country Club.
In the individual matches, 2017 Connecticut Amateur Champion Richard Dowling, former professional Nick Cook of Tashua Knolls and Murphy took all three points for the CSGA. On the PGA side, Kevin Mahaffey of Pequabuck and Kyle Bilodeau swept their matches.
Last year’s Challenge Cup victory was the beginning of an unprecedented sweep in team competition for Connecticut amateurs. In August Connecticut's junior team dominated the New England Junior Invitational Championship, and in October the CSGA team, by a single point, defeated the Massachusetts and Rhode Island teams in the Tri-States.
This was the 48th playing of the Challenge Cup and the 44th time that New Haven Country Club has hosted. Created in honor of Julius Boros, arguably Connecticut’s greatest golfer, who won the U.S. Open twice and the PGA Championship, the matches were first played at Tumble Brook in 1972, but have found a home at New Haven.
Founded in 1898, New Haven Country Club was first designed by Robert D. Pryde, with the present layout completed by Willie Park, Jr. in 1922. In addition to hosting the Challenge Cup, the club has a rich history of hosting the state’s top amateur and professional events. New Haven Country Club has hosted a total of sixteen Connecticut Amateur Championships, seven Connecticut Open Championships, including the 2018 Open, and one Connecticut PGA Championship. It will host U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifying this year. The course was set up at approximately 6,560 yards for the Challenge Cup and played to a par of 34-36—70.