May 5th, 2014 – One hundred of the state’s top amateur golfers teamed up to compete in the annual Two Man Team Championship at Black Hall Club, and the team of Nick Cook of Tashua Knolls Golf Club and Steve Velardi of Race Brook Country Club fired rounds of 71-69 for a two under-par total of 140 to capture the title.
The Two Man Team Championship is held each year at Black Hall Club in honor of Bill Hermanson, 2012 inductee into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame and winner of nine CSGA major championships. The tournament tests the state’s best amateur teams in a grueling, 36-hole team stroke competition. The teams play a Four-Ball (better ball of partners) format in the morning round, and Foursomes (selected drive alternate shot) format in the afternoon round.
Black Hall Club in Old Lyme, Connecticut, plays at 6,656 yards and a par of 71, and demands accuracy off the tee and precise iron shots. Cool and windy conditions greeted the players for the morning round, yielding only four rounds under par, with the teams of Michael Thompson and Kevin Josephson, and KJ Camera and Will Rubinow both firing rounds of two under-par 69 to share the halfway lead.
The afternoon Foursomes requires players to play in an alternate shot format, widely regarded as the harder of the two formats for the players. With the wind picking up and gusting over 20 mph, this year proved to be no different, as the scoring average for the afternoon round climbed nearly five and a half shots. Despite the difficulty surrounding the Foursomes format, the team of Nick Cook and Steve Velardi posted a phenomenal afternoon round of 69, the low afternoon round by four shots, to capture the title with a two round total of two under-par 140.
After trailing by two strokes heading into the afternoon round, Cook and Velardi got off to a steady start. Beginning their round on the 15th hole in the shotgun format, they strung together five straight pars, including an improbable par on the difficult 18th, before arriving on the reachable par-5 second hole. Playing as the easiest hole of the tournament, Cook and Velardi capitalized on their length off the tee to set up an eagle three. Two more birdies on Holes #9 and #12 were offset by a pair of bogey's on Holes #4 and #6, but their two under-par round of 69 was more than good enough for a three shot victory.
While it is their first Two Man Team Championship title, Cook and Velardi are no stranger to collecting hardware at CSGA Championships. Cook was the 2004 Dick Tettelbach Player of the Year, and after turning professional in 2005, won back-to-back Connecticut Open titles in 2005 and 2006. Since being reinstated as an amateur, he was a semifinalist in the 2009 Connecticut Amateur, but the 2014 Two Man Team Championship marks his first return to the CSGA winners circle. Velardi has an equally impressive resume, having been Runner-Up at the 2003 Connecticut Amateur before winning the 2004 Connecticut Amateur at The Patterson Club.
Finishing in second place was the team of Christopher DeLucia of Lake of Isles and Adam Vaccari of Torrington Country Club, who shot rounds of 70-73--143 (+2) to finish three shots out of the lead. Billy McDonald of Wethersfield Country Club and Michael Smith of Wampanoag Country Club finished alone in third with rounds of 71-74--145 (+3)
The CSGA championship season continues on Monday, May 12th with local qualifying for the 114th United States Open at the Country Club of Farmington. Admission is free and spectators are encouraged to attend as the region’s best amateur and professional golfers try to earn their way to Pinehurst #2. Live scoring and results are available at csgalinks.org.
About the Connecticut State Golf Association
The Two Man Team Championship is one of 18 championship tournaments 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 50 Championships, Qualifiers and One-Day Tournaments throughout the year. For more information, visit our website at csgalinks.org.