The CSGA team of Brian Ahern, Matt Smith and Jeff Hatten finished the first day of the USGA State Team Championship tied for 11th place among the 52 teams representing all fifty states plus Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. With team scores calculated as the best two of three individuals, Connecticut was lead by Hatten and Smith who each carded a 74 for a 148 team total. Ahern shot 80 over the 6,956 yard, par 71 Galloway National Golf Club in Galloway, New Jersey.
North Carolina leads the Championship after an impressive opening round score of 2-under par 140. The Tar Heel state utilized a 69 from Bruce Woodall and a 71 from Paul Simson while tossing out another of the day’s best individual rounds, a 73 by Scott Harvey.
“This was a pretty good start for us, all things considered,” said CSGA Executive Director Mike Moraghan who is acting as Team Captain, “Galloway National is a difficult golf course, and it was a real grind out there. Rounds took over five hours, and Matt Smith’s group literally finished in darkness. But our guys battled on every shot. Now we just have to be a little better on Thursday and Friday.”
Only four players in the field of 156 managed to break par in the first round, but Connecticut’s players are confident that they can join that group. “I know all three of us are capable of breaking par out here,” said Hatten, who recorded four birdies in Wednesday‘s opening round. “You have to be so precise that I think it will be difficult for anyone to take it really deep, but I believe all of us can shoot one or two under.”
Hatten’s opening round was something of a rollercoaster. Starting on the 10th hole, he followed a par save with punch-outs from the left woods and then the right woods en route to a bogey at the 11th. Another bogey at 15 dropped him to 2-over, but he returned to level par with birdies at 16 and 1. The rest of his round was peppered with more birdies and bogies with his only par coming at the 7th hole. On the 8th, with his ball in a green-side water hazard, the left-hander removed both his shoes and socks, stood in the pond to play his second shot, and salvaged yet another bogey. Hatten concluded his round at the 9th hole with a brilliant bunker shot and a tap-in birdie.
Among other New England states, Rhode Island is also tied for 11th at 148. New Hampshire (150) is tied for 17th, Maine (152) is tied for 21st, Vermont (153) is tied for 25th along with defending champion Kansas, and Massachusetts (156) is tied for 38th.
The CSGA team will again be paired with Ohio and Oregon on Thursday with Hatten’s group leading off at 8:48am. For more information about the USGA State Team Championship, go to: