David Pastore continued his outstanding play by shooting even-par 72 over the final 18 holes of the USGA Men’s State Team Championship on Thursday, as Connecticut finished tied for 8th overall among 52 teams; their best finish in the event since 2003.
The 6,910-yard French Lick Resort Pete Dye Course in French Lick, Indiana proved to be a difficult test for the nation’s top amateur golfers. With all 50 states as well as Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico represented by their top three players respectively, the field of 156 averaged 76.89 per round. With rounds of 70-72-72 Pastore was one of only two players to finish the 54-hole championship under par. Brandon Aydlett of Louisiana claimed the individual title at -3, with Pastore finishing as runner-up when his 25-foot birdie attempt at the 54th slid by the hole.
Texas claimed the team title for the fourth time in the 22-year history of the Championship with a score of four under par. Florida, anchored by former Connecticut resident and University of Hartford star, Jon Veneziano finished second at minus one.
Connecticut’s team was consistent throughout, standing tied for 8th after the first round, and tied for 6th after 36 holes. The squad of Pastore, Peter Ballo and Kevin Josephson crept into a tie for third with nine holes to play after Ballo fought back from a triple bogey on the first hole to post a one over par 37, and Pastore cruised to a two under 34. But the final nine was less successful as Ballo struggled and Pastore returned to par. Josephson’s 78 was a counter that helped secure the top-10 finish.
In addition to Connecticut, the northeastern states were well represented on the leader board. Led by a sparkling final round 67 from Brad Valois, Rhode Island also finished tied for 8th. New York and New Jersey shared 17th place while Vermont also breeched the top half of the field finishing alone in 21st. Massachusetts (t-26), Maine (t-30) and New Hampshire (t-48) rounded out the New England states.
Complete coverage and results are available at usga.org.