Hamden (September 23, 2020) On day when 20-mile-an-hour winds made greens measuring 13 on the Stimpmeter roll even faster, and hole locations bewildered the state’s best players, the CSGA amateurs resoundingly defeated the Connecticut professionals to win the 49th Julius Boros Challenge Cup, 48.5 to 23.5
It was the third consecutive win for the CSGA side, something the amateurs haven’t done since 2009-2011, and the largest margin of victory in the event’s history, though the pros lead the series overall, 34-15.
“We had the strongest team I’ve seen, and I was still nervous,” said four-time captain Roger Everin. “On those greens nothing was safe. You’d miss a three-footer and have a 25-footer coming back. But it feels good. Our guys really played well.” The amateurs won the four-ball matches 17-7, the singles matches 31.5 to 16.5.
Leading the way for the CSGA side was the team of Cody Paladino and Nick Cook, both former professionals who have regained their amateur status. They defeated Brian Keiser, recent winner of the Connecticut PGA Championship, and Adam D’Amario of Indian Hill Country Club, 8.5 to .5.
Paladino, who plays at the Country Club of Farmington, was one of four amateurs who swept their opponents in singles matches: Former Amateur and Palmer Cup Champion Brian Ahern, 2019 Palmer Cup Champion Rick Hayes, former Senior Amateur Champion Richard Stevens were the others. On the CTPGA side former section champion Chris Tallman swept his singles match against Ben Conroy.
The Challenge Cup format comprises singles and team matches played simultaneously. In each foursome, a total of nine points is at stake, three in each singles match and three in the team match.
Winning seven points were Patrick Griffin of Chippanee Golf Club and Jamie Sheltman of Alling Memorial. They made six birdies between them and had a team score of 67 (-3). “We yinged and yanged it pretty good,” said Sheltman, who made two birdies. His partner, the 2019 Tournament of Champions winner, made four, including consecutive birdies at Nos. 15, 16 and 17, the first two par-4s, the last a 170-yard par 3. On the PGA side, home professional Bill Wallis and Wampanoag’s Donny Kirkpatrick won two of three from John Steinberg and Brian Ahern, each competing against his respective club professional.
All agreed that New Haven Country Club shared the victory. “She played as tough as she can play,” said home-professional Wallis. “It was Willie Park Jr. at his finest. Plenty of room to play from tee to green, and then the fun starts.” There were four-putts on each side, and multiple three-putts, even among the victors. Greens were the topic of the day. “There were some gnarly hole locations out there,” said 2020 Palmer Cup Champion Rick Dowling, who with partner Peter Tomlinson, the 2019 Public Links Champion, swept three team points from Pequabuck’s Kevin Mahaffy and Manchester’s Jordan Gosler. “Honestly, downwind, they were rolling at 15,” said Brownson’s Bob Murphy.
Paladino suggested that the tough hole locations were not even necessary on a day as windy as Wednesday. “Hey, if you’d just put the pins on flat spots on these greens, at 13 with this wind, you’d have your hands full.” As it was, with flags tucked and holes set behind slopes and ridges, putting was a game in itself. Mike Kennedy, who teamed with Hayes and is a member at New Haven, said “It played as hard as I’ve ever seen it, as hard as it can today.”
The three-peat by the amateurs comes after the professionals had won six consecutive matches. PGA player captain Ian Marshall of IAMGOLF, was gracious in defeat. “They played great,” he said of the amateurs. “I will say, and this is not in any way an excuse, our professionals have been busy this year. They have not had the chance to play that they normally do, but that’s a good thing. It’s been a great year for golf. And we’ll go home and re-group and be back determined to take the Cup back next year.”
Competing for the CSGA amateurs: Brian Ahern, Ben Conroy, Nick Cook, Ben Day, Rick Dowling, Rick Hayes, Patrick Griffin, Bill Hermanson, Mike Kennedy, Bob Murphy Jr., Dick Stevens, Cody Paladino, Jamie Sheltman, John Steinberg, Dave Szewczul, Peter Tomlinson.
Competing for the PGA Connecticut Section: Ed Altobello, Marc Bayram, Adam D’Amario, Jeff DelRosso, Jordan Gosler, Brian Keiser, Donny Kirkpatrick, Kevin Mahaffy, Fran Marrello, Ian Marshall (captain), Mike Martin, Bob Mucha, William Street, Chris Tallman, William Wallis, Jan Wivestad.
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, where it has been played 45 times. Lisa Fern Boros, a fine player in her own right, was on had to preside over the trophy presentation.
The course 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.