April 29, 2019 Old Lyme, CT One year and forty-one holes later, the leaderboard for the CSGA Two Man Team Championship looked exactly the same. Richard Dowling and Nick Taylor won, and Steve Gettings and David Giulietti finished second. Just as they had done in 2018.
This one was closer, and required a five hole playoff before all was decided.
The Two Man, held annually at Black Hall Club in Old Lyme is a 36-hole affair played at four ball stroke play in the morning and alternate shot (selected drive) in the afternoon.
Eric Bleile and David Marseglia grabbed the lead with a 4-under par 67 in the morning round. Bleile’s eagle 3 on the par-5 second hole was one of eight threes on the pair’s scorecard.
A total of six teams broke par on the 6,666 yard, par 71 Black Hall Club layout in the morning. Dowling and Taylor, and Giulietti and Gettings shared second place at lunchtime after shooting 68.
The day began with a 45-minute frost delay, warmed up with some bright sun, then turned cold again with overcast skies and a north wind. It was nearly dark when Dowling rolled in a 5-foot downhill slider on the 5th playoff hole to secure the victory.
The afternoon round, always more challenging with the alternate shot format produced higher scores throughout the field as no teams matched or broke par. Dowling and Taylor bogeyed their final two holes for 72 and a 140 total. Gettings and Giulietti did the same, while first round leaders Bleile and Marseglia shot 73 to join the party at 2-under par 140 for the day.
The playoff, played at the same alternate shot format as in the afternoon round began at hole number 10 where Bleile and Marseglia were eliminated after missing the green and making bogey. Both Gettings and Taylor lipped out birdie attempts that could have ended the marathon.
The par-5 11th was halved with uneventful pars. The 12th also failed to produce a champion as both teams missed the green, failed to save par and marched on with bogeys.
At the difficult par-3 13th both sides again missed the green. Giulietti’s bunker shot left Gettings with a 12-footer for par that he barely missed. Taylor, with a chance to seal the victory after Dowling’s chip to 8 feet below the hole, hit what appeared to be a perfect putt, only to see it horseshoe 360 degrees around and out.
On the final hole of the day, the par-5 14th, Giulietti and Gettings found trouble as their second shot sailed into a red-staked penalty area on the right side of the fairway. After dropping under penalty of one stroke, the best the pair could manage was bogey.
With darkness descending and many in the small gallery shivering, Dowling, the 2017 Connecticut Amateur Champion, calmly stroked the five-foot par saver, found the center of the hole, and produced a repeat of history for the 2018 champions.
Black Hall has been host to the CSGA Two Man Championship since 2008, and is played in honor of Bill Hermanson, a 2012 Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame Inductee. Hermanson is a twenty-five time club champion at Black Hall whose run of titles includes nineteen consecutive from 1981 through 1999. Hermanson has also won the Black Hall Senior Club Championship each of the past seven years. A five-time CSGA Mid-Amateur Champion, Hermanson earned the title of 2015 CSGA Senior Player of the Year after capturing both the CSGA Senior and Senior Match Play championships during the 2015 season.