(Team Captain Roger Everin is bringing the Julius Boros Challenge Cup Trophy back to the CSGA)
May 3, 2018: After six consecutive years of frustration, CSGA amateurs Thursday convincingly defeated Connecticut Section PGA professionals, 36.5 - 26.5 in the 47th playing of the Julius Boros Challenge Cup at New Haven Country Club.
It was the CSGA’s first victory since 2011 and only the 11th time in the history of the Matches that the CSGA team has prevailed. What’s more, it took a rather green side to accomplish it.
“It’s a surprise, it really is,” said Roger Everin, in his final year of CSGA captaincy. “On paper our side was pretty inexperienced. We had six players who had never played in the event before. But they came through beautifully.”
It would be overdoing it, though, to call the CSGA side anything like a Children’s Crusade—each of those “rookies” had won major CSGA championships—but difficult to predict how a team made up of almost half newcomers would fare against Captain Ralph Salito’s PGA side with almost 100 years of Cup experience.
After nine holes the CSGA led 5-2 in the team matches, 9.5 - 4.5 in singles, but many of the matches were close, and the first to finish suggested that this year’s event might go the way of 34 others. PGA pros Billy Downes of GreatHorse and Fran Marrello of Canaan Country Club took 8.5 of 9 points from Tom Brett and Patrick McGuiness. (The Challenge Cup plays singles and team competition simultaneously. Two-man teams play while each member of the team plays a member of the other team. Both team and singles matches are worth 3 points: front nine, back nine, total, so that in one group of four nine points are at stake.)
In the end, it was the team competition that made the largest difference, with the CSGA winning 13.5 points to the PGA’s 7.5, much of that margin coming in the final four matches, where the amateurs won all but 2.5 points of 12. The final two teams, Mike Kennedy of New Haven and Nick Waddington of Manchester Country Club, and Brian Ahern of Wampanoag Country Club and Kyle Nolin of Tallwood Country Club, blanked their opponents, taking six team points between them.
“That’s why I put them there, “ said Captain Everin. He pointed out that Waddington’s father had played in the Challenge Cup more than 30 years before. Waddington birdied his first hole, the 10th, and his last, the 9th to take all but a half of a point in his singles match against Kevin Mahaffy of Pequabuck. Ahern won all three of his singles points against veteran David Dell.
“I played much better than I’d anticipated,” said Ahern, the 2010 and 2012 Connecticut Mid-Amateur Champion. “I’d gotten in just a couple 9-hole rounds before today. So I’m happy.” Though he and Nolin had never played as a team before, “we hammed and egged it pretty well. Our games are pretty similar.”
PGA of America Vice President Suzy Whaley of Suzy Whaley Golf won 2.5 of 3 points in singles, as did she and partner Ian Marshall of Watertown Golf Club as a team.
It was the 43rd time that New Haven Country Club has hosted the Julius Boros Challenge Cup, which was created in honor of 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.
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