Galloway, N.J., Sept 20, 2012
With 36 of 54 holes completed in the 2012 USGA State Team Championship, the CSGA team of Brian Ahern, Matt Smith and Jeff Hatten remain in the top-20 among the 52 teams representing all 50 states plus Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. Connecticut, with a two-day total of 300, stands tied for 17th after producing a ten over par score of 152 in the second round.
2012 CSGA State Amateur champion, Matt Smith had the low score for Connecticut on Thursday with a four-over par 75. Jeff Hatten and Brian Ahern both shot 77 in the team format that records the best two of three individual scores. Ahern improved from an opening round 80, but cited a balky putter as his biggest concern.
“My putting has been atrocious,” stated the 2012 CSGA Mid-Amateur champion, “I’ve made a few, but overall I’ve had way too many 3-putts.” Ahern was certainly not alone in his struggles with Galloway National’s undulating greens. Only eight of the 312 rounds played at Galloway over the past two days have been under par. In a field that contains many of the nation’s best amateurs there have been 70 scores above 80.
Smith’s round included what he described as, “Probably the best birdie I’ve ever made in my life,” on the 584 yard, par 5 16th hole. After his pull-hooked tee shot found a barely playable lie in a water hazard, Smith plowed his ball back into the fairway some 240 yards from the hole. With the flagstick at the extreme left edge of the green and tucked over a deep-faced front bunker, Smith launched a perfect 3-wood shot that landed just short of the hole and stopped eight feet past the cup. He then stroked his putt into the hole completing the extraordinary turnaround from apparent disaster to remarkable birdie.
At 285, the New York team of Michael Miller, Max Buckley and Joseph Saladino hold a one-shot lead over Iowa. Vermont in 15th place, just two shots ahead of Connecticut, leads all New England teams. Maine (304) is tied for 24th, Rhode Island (305) is tied for 29th, New Hampshire (306) is tied for 31st, and Massachusetts (310) is 39th.
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