(April 22, 2021) – The championship portion of the 2021 CSGA schedule begins Monday at the Two Man Championship hosted by the Black Hall Club with 52 teams competing for the first title of the season. This year's field will be highlighted by the return of defending champions Kevin Newlan/Kevin Ward and Jamie Sheltman/Dan Murphy. Both teams finished 8-under on a day that saw the best scores at the Two Man Championship since 2016 when Dave Szewczul and Bill Hermanson finished 5-under to win their second consecutive title.
The Two Man Championship has been hosted every year at the Black Hall Club since 2008 and is played in honor of club member Bill Hermanson, a 2012 Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame inductee and the winner of more than 25 club championships.
“We took this event on as a long-time tribute to our member Bill Hermanson,” said Black Hall Club head professional Andrew Campbell. “In our mind, it is a tribute to him. We like the fact that it is mostly a scratch handicap player field which is what we tend to attract for tournaments. We are very proud to be the host of it.”
The par-71 layout will play at approximately 6,600 yards and will present an early-season challenge for the field. Players will have their best scoring chances on the opening two holes of each nine. The 1st and 10th holes are shorter par-4s while the 2nd and 11th holes are two of the three par-5s on the course. The most difficult stretch at Black Hall Club, which will also host the 2021 Connecticut Women's Open, is Nos. 15-18. The most challenging hole in that stretch is the nearly 400-yard par-4 15th. The tee shot is straight forward but the hole presents arguably the most difficult second shot on the course. Facing an uphill shot players will need to navigate greenside bunkers on the left and right to find a large undulating green that slopes from back to front. Players will be relieved to play the four-hole stretch in level-par.
Beginning with an 8 a.m. shotgun start, the 36-hole tournament will feature two different formats. In the first round, players will play four-ball while in the second round the format will switch to foursomes with selected drive alternate shot.
“From a condition standpoint it is typical early spring conditions,” said Campbell of what players can expect on Monday. “The rough isn’t really much of a factor. The golf course gets a lot of play that day so it is going to be a tough task. It is a fun day for everyone and everyone likes the golf course and the challenge that it brings.”
Teams to Watch:
Kevin Newlan (Grassy Hill CC) and Kevin Ward (Race Brook CC) – Last year Newlan and Ward were the Two Man Championship co-champions finishing 8-under. The two will be back looking to defend this year.
Jamie Sheltman (Alling Memorial GC) and Dan Murphy (H. Smith Richardson GC) - In 2020 the tandem of Jamie Sheltman and Dan Murphy nearly swept the team events finishing tied for second in late July at the Four-Ball Championship and as co-champions at the Two Man Championship in September.
In addition, both players put together successful individual campaigns in 2020. Sheltman’s season was highlighted by a T5 at the Connecticut Public Links while Murphy reached the quarterfinals of the Connecticut Amateur and tied for 10th at the Public Links.
Dave Szewczul (TPC River Highlands) and Bill Hermanson (Black Hall Club) – Both Connecticut Golf Hall of Famers, the team of Szewczul and Hermanson is always dangerous. The 2015 and 2016 champions made a run at the title last year finishing 6-under and two shots off the pace in a tie for fourth.
Hermanson has won a number of CSGA events at his home course throughout his career including most recently the 2019 Senior Amateur. Last season Szewczul earned his tenth Dick Siderowf Senior Player of the Year Award thanks to wins at the Senior Match Play, Tournament of Champions, and with Hermanson as his teammate at the Senior Four-Ball.
Richard Dowling (Golf Performance Center) and Nick Taylor (Golf Performance Center) – After winning back-to-back Two Man Championships in 2018 and 2019 Dowling and Taylor finished tied for fourth last year. Their victory in 2019 was an instant classic as they needed five extra holes to earn the title. Taylor doesn’t play in many CSGA events but Dowling is a two-time Connecticut Amateur champion and last year he captured his first career Palmer Cup.
Ben Day (CC of Waterbury) and Ed Day (Wallingford CC) – The Day brothers are teaming up for a second consecutive year at the Two Man Championship. Last year they finished in a tie for 12th.
Ben Day is consistently one of the top players in Connecticut having won the 2015 Palmer Cup and the 2019 Connecticut Mid-Amateur. Ed Day has had some impressive finishes in CSGA events as well, earning a T4 at the 2019 Four-Ball Championship and a T28 at the Connecticut Mid-Amateur that same year.
Cody Paladino (Wampanoag CC) and Kevin Josephson (Stanley GC) – It has been a little while since the team of Cody Paladino and Kevin Josephson have played together but the duo is a formidable one. Most notably the pair won the 2013 Four-Ball title at The Course at Yale.
Paladino is coming off his third Dick Tettelbach Player of the Year Award following a year of near misses. In 2020 Paladino finished second in the Connecticut Amateur, Palmer Cup, Mid-Amateur, and the Tournament of Champions. Josephson has twice been the medalist at the Connecticut Amateur and in 2014 he reached the championship match. In 2013 he finished fourth in the Palmer Cup.
Mike Kennedy (New Haven CC) and Rick Hayes (Silver Spring CC) – 2017 Mid-Amateur champion Mike Kennedy and 2019 Palmer Cup winner Rick Hayes will pair up at this year’s Two Man Championship. Kennedy returns this year after two consecutive top-five finishes in the Two Man Championship. In 2019 he earned a fifth-place showing and last year he finished third, one shot out of the top spot.
About the Connecticut State Golf Association
The Two Man Team Championship 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.