Kevin Giancola leads entering final round of the 84th Connecticut PGA Championship
WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (August 18, 2015) – Kevin Giancola of Golf Quest Family Sports Center posted a 36-hole total of 138 to capture the overnight lead heading into the final round of the 84th Connecticut PGA Championship, being contested at the historic Wethersfield Country Club. Giancola holds a one-stroke lead over both Adam Rainaud of Black Hall Club and Kyle Bilodeau of Ellington Ridge Country Club.
After opening the first round with an up-and-down front nine containing three birdies against three bogeys, Giancola eagled the par-4 10th hole to move to two-under par, and would remain in red numbers for the morning, posting a 70 in Round 1.
Yet Giancola and the rest of the field found themselves looking up the leaderboard at an early duel between Bilodeau and Rainaud. Bilodeau got off to a quick start with birdies on holes two, four and seven, then reeled off four consecutive birdies on holes 11-14, posting an opening round 64. Rainaud, fresh off an appearance in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits and a Monday red-eye flight back to Connecticut, was up for the challenge, posting seven birdies against one bogey for a first round 65.
The afternoon round saw gusty winds shake up the leaderboard, as Rainaud (74) and Bilodeau (75) both faltered to finish at 139. “This afternoon I just didn’t make any putts, and I made two big mistakes where I made double,” said Rainaud, who carded double bogey six on both the 11th and 18th holes. “Everything was just a little off, I kept missing putts by an inch or I was just missing my iron shots by a couple yards and hitting it into a bunker, missing fairways by two yards so I’m hitting out of the rough and can’t really control what the ball is doing…I was getting a little upset out there.”
Bilodeau also ran into an eventful afternoon round, carding three birdies against four bogeys, before a closing seven on the par four 18th hole. “I played great this morning, putted really well both rounds and hit my irons well. I didn’t hit the ball very well off the tee all day, but in the morning round I missed in the right spots and got lucky a couple of times. But this afternoon hitting one O.B. on 18 definitely didn’t help.”View More
Swanson and Grzywinski Finish Strong and Emerge Victorious at Sandri Junior Invitational
EAST HADDAM, Conn. (August 19, 2015) – The second round of the 36-hole Sandri Junior Invitational was held Wednesday at Fox Hopyard Golf Club in East Haddam, Conn., with an elite field of 60 boys and girls ages 12-18 participating in the two-day event.
In the Boys Division, Carter Swanson of Hebron, Conn. shot an impressive four-under par total of 139 (69-70) to win by seven-strokes over Rasmey Kong of North Haven, Conn. (74-72, 146). Spencer Olson of Bethel, Conn. placed third with a score of five-over par 148 (76-72). This is Swanson’s second tournament win of the season, having previously won the Crestview Junior Invitational.
Mia Grzywinski of Farmington, Conn. displayed consistency and skill throughout the two-day event, dominating the Girls Division with a score of 159 (79-80). This marks Grzywinski’s first Junior TOUR win of the 2015 Season, having already notched multiple runner-up finishes, and qualifies her for the Jack Kelly Tournament of Champions. Julia Migliorati of Wethersfield, Conn. fired a career low 79 on day two of the event to clinch second place (88-79, 167), and was closely followed by Emma McCloskey of Palmer, Mass. at 168 (84-84), finishing in solo third place.
Congratulations to our winners Carter Swanson and Mia Grzywinski, and thank you Mike Zaranek, Ron Beck, and the staff at Crumpin Fox and Fox Hopyard for their hospitality. The next Connecticut Section PGA Junior Golf TOUR event is the Hop Meadow Junior Open, which will be held at Hop Meadow Country Club in Simsbury, Conn on August 24.
Swanson and Grzywinski Lead After Day One of SANDRI Junior Invitational
Phillips, Peterson, Stafford, and Fosdick Close Behind
BERNARDSTON, Mass. (August 18, 2015) – The first round of the 36-hole SANDRI Junior Invitational was held today at Crumpin-Fox Golf Club in Bernardston, Mass.
Carter Swanson of Hebron, Conn. fired a remarkable three-under par 69 to lead the Boys Division after Round 1. Swanson’s round contained four birdies and one eagle against three bogeys, and is good for a two-stroke lead over Connor Phillips of Longmeadow, Mass. (71, -1). Noah Peterson of East Longmeadow, Mass., Matthew Stafford of West Suffield, Conn., and Christopher Fosdick of Middlefield, Conn. each shot even-par 72 to remain close behind the lead.
Mia Grzywinski of Farmington, Conn. opened Round 1 with a solid seven-over par 79, good for a five-stroke lead in the Girls Division over Emma McCloskey of Palmer, Mass. (84, +12). Taylor Rogers of Plainville, Conn. is in solo third place after shooting a thirteen-over par 85.
Round 2 tee times begin at 9:00 AM on Wednesday at Fox Hopyard Golf Club in East Haddam, Conn.
Piersall, Jylkka, Mathew, Kalk and Fox victorious at the McDermott Junior Invitational
HEBRON, Conn. (August 17, 2015) – With the 2015 Connecticut PGA Junior Golf TOUR season nearing the finish line and invitations to the Jack Kelly Tournament of Champions a precious commodity, Nick Piersall and Katelyn Jylkka made the most of their chance at the McDermott Junior Invitational at Tallwood Country Club.
Piersall of Portland, Conn. fired an impressive one-under par 71 to win the Boys 16-18 division by two-strokes over Noah Peterson of East Longmeadow, Mass. and Carter Swanson of Hebron, Conn. (73, +1). This is Piersall’s first victory of the season, previously having finished second at the Ralph DeNicolo Memorial Junior Open at Manchester Country Club.
Jylkka of Portland, Conn. posted an outstanding round of four-over par 76 to win the Girls 18-hole division by seven-strokes over Elizabeth Andrian of Glastonbury, Conn. (83, +11). Finishing in solo third was Angela Garvin of Feeding Hills, Mass. (86, +14). This is Jylkka’s second victory of the 2015 TOUR season, having previously won the John D. Wardlaw Memorial.
In the Boys 13-15 Division, Justin Mathew of Rocky Hill, Conn. carded a stellar round of even-par 72 to win by six-strokes over Kevin Lynch of Glastonbury, Conn. and Cameron Hosack of Glastonbury, Conn. (78, +6). Finishing in a tie for fourth at 79 (+7) were Tyler Wilson of South Glastonbury, Conn. and Joshua Hassan of Prospect, Conn. This is Mathew’s second victory of the 2015 summer.
In the 9-hole divisions, Ethan Kalk of South Glastonbury, Conn. fired an impressive one-under par 36, including two birdies against only one bogey, to win the Boys division by one-stroke over Michael Hanratty of Avon, Conn. (37, even-par). Finishing in third place was Michael DeRienzo of Southbury, Conn. (42, +5). The McDermott Junior Invitational is Kalk’s fifth victory of the summer and second in a row, having won last week’s The Ranch Junior Open.
In the Girls 9-hole division, Alexandra Fox of Ellington, Conn. posted a solid nine-over par 46 to narrowly edge Sophia Sarrazin of Westport, Conn. (47, +10). Leslie Li of West Hartford, Conn. posted 60 (+23) to finish in third place. This is Alexandra’s second victory of the 2015 TOUR season.
Congratulations to our winners Nick Piersall, Justin Mathew, Katelyn Jylkka, Ethan Kalk and Alexandra Fox! And a special congratulations to Tyler Wilson of South Glastonbury, Conn. for making his first career hole in one! Wilson’s ace came with a four iron on the 176 yard third hole, congrats Tyler!
Peterson, Straub, Heim, Kalk and Hidalgo victorious at The Ranch Junior Open
SOUTHWICK, Mass. (August 13, 2015) – The Connecticut PGA Junior Golf TOUR continued this week at the challenging Ranch Golf Club in Southwick, Mass., attracting a top-flight field of junior golfers.
Noah Peterson of East Longmeadow, Mass. carded a stellar two-under par 70, with three birdies against only one bogey, to win the Boys 16-18 division by six-strokes. Finishing in a six-way tie for second place at 76 (+4) were Kevin Huppert of Coventry, Conn., Evan Deckers of Avon, Conn., Thomas Durkin of Suffield, Conn., Austin Rupp of Suffield, Conn., Ben Palazzo of Farmington, Conn. and Justin Parzychowski of West Springfield, Mass. This is Peterson’s fifth event of the season, and extends his points lead in the Player of the Year race.
In the Boys 13-15 Division, Noah Straub of Mystic, Conn. posted a three-over par, 75, to edge Jack Hogan of Westfield, Mass. (76, +4). Jonathan Elkins of South Deerfield, Mass. (78, +6) finished in solo third place. This is Straub’s fourth victory of the summer season.
Emma Heim of Suffield, Conn. posted an impressive three-over par, 75, to win the Girls 18-hole division by two-strokes over Angela Garvin of Feeding Hills, Mass. (77, +5). Heim’s round included an even-par back nine, helping to secure her first victory of the 2015 summer season. Finishing in solo third place was Emma McCloskey of Palmer, Mass. (81, +9).
In the 9-hole divisions, Ethan Kalk of South Glastonbury, Conn. finished with a solid two-over par, 38, to win the Boys 9-hole division by two-strokes over Michael DeRienzo of Southbury, Conn. (40, +4). Bradley Sawka of Ellington, Conn. finished in third place at 42 (+6). The Ranch Junior Open is Kalk’s fourth victory of the summer season.
In the Girls 9-hole division, Mia Hidalgo of Cheshire, Conn. emerged victorious in a match of cards over Sophia Sarrazin of Westport, Conn., after both golfers tied in regulation at 44 (+8). Finishing close behind in third-place was Sydney Hidalgo of Cheshire, Conn. (45, +9). This is Hidalgo’s seventh Junior TOUR victory of the 2015 summer season.
Congratulations to our winners Noah Peterson, Noah Straub, Emma Heim, Ethan Kalk and Mia Hidalgo!
Connecticut PGA Championship Preview
Tournament to be held August 18-19 at Wethersfield Country Club
Russ Held Sports – SOUTH GLASTONBURY, Conn. (August 11, 2015)
From Whistling Straits to Wethersfield. And if Adam Rainaud has his way . . . straight to the win column.
The assistant golf professional at Black Hall Club in Old Lyme, Conn., is bracing for a whirlwind stretch that will take him from competing at the PGA Championship to defending at the Connecticut PGA Championship. “It’s going to be a little crazy, I’ll get back from Wisconsin on Sunday night and be at work right away Monday,’’ Rainaud said. “And then it’s Wethersfield Tuesday and Wednesday.’’
The South Hadley native opens play Thursday at the PGA Championship, after qualifying by virtue of a top-20 finish at the Professional National Championship in Philadelphia in late June. “It’s pretty cool, because you think about how you always wanted to be a club pro and a head pro,’’ Rainaud, 29, said. “You want to hang out with the members, and teach them and enjoy everything at your club. And you would also love to play in as many major championships and PGA Tour events as you can. It still hasn’t sunk in that there’s both.’’
But don’t think the 84th running of the Connecticut PGA Championship will take a backseat to anything, to Rainaud or to anyone in the field of 63.
“In my heart, this is No. 1 for us,’’ five-time champion Tony Kelley of Wyckoff CC said. “This is the championship you want to win in the Section. It’s the end all, be all. At the end, you’re the winner. The CPC (Club Pro Championship) is big, but you advance from there and then try to advance again.’’
A year ago, Rainaud opened with rounds of 66 and 69 at Orchards GC in South Hadley. Rain postponed completion of final-round play and his 7-under 135 topped Fran Marrello (138) of Canaan CC. Billy Downes of GreatHorse and CSGA’s Brent Paladino shared third at 140. “It’s the oldest championship in the Section,’’ Rainaud said. “It’s all the best in our section.’’
Rainaud enjoyed a record-setting year in 2014, winning five of the Section’s major championships and its Player of the Year honors. He’ll open defense at Wethersfield CC, hosting for the first time since 2009 and third time in a history that dates back to 1929. “Wethersfield is one of the finest courses in the state, it’s a place you always want to play,’’ Marrello said of a Robert D. Pride design, founded in 1916, that will play at 6,573 yards and par 71.
Marrello was Section champion there six years ago, posting a 5-under 208 to edge out Kelley and Tumble Brook CC’s Bobby Kay. “It took so long to win one, in 2001 at Black Hall, and I think I’ve just let too many get away over the years,’’ Marrello said.
Marrello has seven straight top-10 finishes, with all but one being a share of fourth or better. He also has four runner-ups since 1988. “But there’s a new sheriff in town now,’’ Marrello said of Rainaud. “Us old guys dominated for so long . . . but there are so many good young players now.
Count the likes of Kyle Bilodeau of Ellington Ridge CC among them. The 2013 champion tied for third last year and fell in sudden death to Kelley in 2012. “I almost won in 2012, at Ellington Ridge where I grew up,’’ Bilodeau said. “It made me a little angry, not to win my first there. But it made me work harder and I think that made a difference in 2013.’’
Bilodeau, once a member at Wethersfield for two years, said his solid 2015 season has been highlighted by a win at the Section’s Spring PGA Stoke Play Championship, playing at the Travelers Championship and strong efforts at the Connecticut and Western Mass. opens.
The 54-hole championship opens with two rounds on Tuesday. A 36-hole cut to low 27 scorers and ties and anyone within seven strokes of the lead will set up Wednesday’s final round. The field will compete for a winner’s share of $3,500 from the $19,850 purse.
SECTION NOTES: Dennis Coscina is the career-leader for wins with eight, a run that ranged from 1975 to 1994 . . . Four-time champion Kevin Giancola (2010-11) of Golf Quest was the last repeat winner. His 2008 title earned him three in four years . . . Kelley’s run of five titles spans 26 years, dating back to successive wins in 1988-89 and the most recent in 2012. “The last one was special . . . you never know if you’re going to do it again,’’ Kelley said, who also has six runner-up finishes . . . The Championship began four years before the 1933 establishment of the Connecticut Section PGA . . . Seven past champions are in the field, as are eight PGA Apprentices . . . Club Car, Mohegan Sun, OMEGA, Jani-King and the PGA Tour are among championship sponsors . . . Maurice Kennedy was the first champion, winning in 1929 at Wampanoag CC.View More
Ellington Ridge Country Club and Springfield Country Club capture Mohegan Sun Pro-Am at Ellington Ridge Country Club
ELLINGTON, Conn. (August 10, 2015) – The Mohegan Sun Pro-Am Series #5 was held on Monday at Ellington Ridge Country Club. The team contest format for this event was two low gross scores on each hole.
The home team from Ellington Ridge Country Club, consisting of PGA Professional Kyle Bilodeau and amateurs Dave Blovish, John Sawka, Matt DiRamio, finished in a tie for first at ten-under par, 134, with the Springfield Country Club team consisting of PGA Professional Dave Dell and amateurs Dave Dell Jr., Dave Smith, and Bob Luguidice. The Longmeadow Country Club team of PGA Professional Tim Quirk and amateurs Bill Cunningham Jr., Billy Walthouse, and Greg Fisk finished in third place at nine-under, 135.
Kyle Bilodeau of Ellington Ridge Country Club and Ed Slattery of Candlewood Valley Country Club finished in a tie for low professional honors at three-under par, 69. Mike Martin of Tashua Knolls Golf Course finished in solo third at one-over par (73), followed closely by Dave Dell of Springfield Country Club and Bob Mucha of Edgewood Golf Course (74, +2).
A total of four golfers earned skins in the event: Colin Kilpatrick on Hole #11, Scott Mattiello on Hole #13, Jim Hanlon on Hole #15, and Gary Sassu on Hole #18.
Thank you to Ellington Ridge Country Club and PGA Professional Tony Rowe for hosting the event.
Swanson, Senecal, McCloskey, Hall and Hidalgo victorious at the Crestview Junior Invitational
AGAWAM, Mass. (August 10, 2015) – Carter Swanson fires his career low round to lead the way at the Crestview Junior Invitational at Crestview Country Club in Agawam.
Swanson of Hebron, Conn. posted an impressive two-under par 70, including a front-nine 31 with five birdies, to capture his first Junior TOUR victory of the summer. Swanson earned a three-strokes over Peter Gehris of South Windsor, Conn. (73, +1), with Matthew Stafford of West Suffield, Conn. (74, +2) finished in solo third place.
Tyler Senecal of South Hadley, Mass. finished with a solid four-over par 76 to capture the Boys 13-15 division by two-strokes over Jonathan Elkins of South Deerfield, Mass. (78, +6). Jonathan Farrell of Feeding Hills, Mass. finished in third place (79, +7). The Crestview Junior Invitational is Senecal’s first 2015 Junior TOUR victory.
Emma McCloskey of Palmer, Mass. emerged victorious the Girls 18-hole division, firing an 85 (+13) to win by five-strokes over Rachel Bechard of Longmeadow, Mass. (90, +18). Mia Grzywinski of Farmington, Conn. and Anna Montalto of Rocky Hill, Conn. finished in a tie for third at 91 (+19). This is McCloskey’s second victory of the 2015 summer season.
In the 9-hole divisions, Jack Hall of Avon, Conn. carded an impressive one-over par 37, including three birdies, to win the Boys division by four-strokes over Michael Hanratty of Avon, Conn. (41, +5). Ethan Kalk of South Glastonbury, Conn. finished in third place at 42 (+6). This is Hall’s first victory of the summer season. In the Girls Division, Mia Hidalgo of Cheshire, Conn. posted an impressive eight-over par 44 to win by eight strokes over Sophia Sarrazin of Westport, Conn. Sydney Hidalgo of Cheshire, Conn. posted a 57 (+21) to finish in third place. This marks Hidalgo’s sixth victory of the summer season.
Congratulations to our winners Carter Swanson, Tyler Senecal, Emma McCloskey, Jack Hall and Mia Hidalgo!
Stafford, Carroll, Filler, Boyd and Fox victorious at the Ralph DeNicolo Memorial Junior Open
MANCHESTER, Conn. (August 6, 2015) – In the largest tournament field of the summer, nearly 150 junior golfers teed-it-up in the Ralph DeNicolo Memorial Junior Open, named in memory of the longtime Manchester Country Club Head Pro and PGA Professional.
Matthew Stafford of West Suffield, Conn. emerged in a playoff over Nick Piersall of Portland, Conn. in the Boys 16-18 division after both golfers tied in regulation at 74 (+2). Stafford’s clutch par putt on the first extra hole sealed his third Junior TOUR victory of the summer. Jake Hedberg of Newington, Conn., Carter Swanson of Hebron, Conn. and Alexander Dahlem of S. Glastonbury, Conn. finished in a three-way tie for third place at 75 (+3).
Luke Carroll of West Hartford, Conn. posted an impressive one-over par, 73, to win the Boys 13-15 division by two-strokes over Connor Piecuch of East Longmeadow, Mass. (75, +3). Mac Mahoney of West Hartford, Conn. finished in third-place at 76 (+4).
Maisie Filler of Bloomfield, Conn. dominated the Girls division, firing a one-over par 73 to win her second Junior TOUR event of the summer. Filler’s two-under par back-nine 34 included three birdies, including holes 10, 12, and 15. Emma McCloskey of Palmer, Mass. (84, +12) narrowly edged Sophia Qiu of Cheshire, Conn. (85, +13) for second place in the event.
In the 9-hole divisions, Benjamin Boyd of West Hartford, Conn. carded an impressive even-par 36 to win the Boys division by two-strokes over Ethan Kalk of S. Glastonbury, Conn. 38 (+2). Matthew Doyle of Madison, Conn. fired an eight-over par 44 to finish in third place. In the Girls Division, Alexandra Fox of Ellington, Conn. emerged in a match of cards over Sydney Hidalgo after both golfers tied at 46 (+10). Mia Hidalgo of Cheshire, Conn. finished in third place at 48 (+12). This is the first victory of the summer for both Boyd and Fox.
Congratulations to our winners Matthew Stafford, Luke Carroll, Maisie Filler, Benjamin Boyd and Alexandra Fox!
"Best of the Best' honored as part of Special (Awards) Night for Connecticut Section PGA
Russ Held Sports - WATERTOWN, Conn. (August 4, 2015) – It was Mike Carney's day. And the Connecticut Section PGA's night.
Carney was the headliner Tuesday, as he was recognized by the Section as its 2015 Golf Professional of the Year at its Special Awards Dinner at Watertown Golf Club.
But Carney also stood tall alongside nine others who were recognized for embodying the spirit of what it means to be a member of the association. "These guys are the 'Best of the Best,' '' said John Nowobilski, master of ceremonies for the Special Awards Dinner. "Their enthusiasm, dedication . . .''
Carney received the Section's most prestigious award in front of a dinner crowd of 150 at the private club's banquet hall. "It's the highest honor I could ever get,'' Carney said in a short acceptance speech.
Current Watertown GC head golf professional Ian Marshall spoke for Carney's career, which began when he turned pro in 1983 and earned PGA of America Class A status in 1987. "When you talk about the strategic pillars of golf . . . to grow the game and serve our members? Mike really has been the best of the best,'' Marshall said.
Carney, 63, joined the Watertown GC staff 32 years ago, rising from the assistant professional ranks, to head professional, to director of golf and now pro emeritus. "He's our golf professional,'' Marshall said.
Carney's playing resume includes wins at Connecticut Senior PGA Championship (2003, '06), Connecticut PGA Championship (2005) and qualifying for the 2003 Senior PGA Championship.
Each Special Awards winner was individually recognized and spoke briefly with Nowobilski in a short, "fireside chat'' format.
Here is a quick look at the other Special Award winners:
Teacher of the Year – John Vitale, Hawk's Landing CC
Youth Player Development – Marc Bayram, Timberlin GC
Bill Strausbaugh Award – Ciaran Carr, Wintonbury Hills GC
Horton Smith Award – Steve Madison, Golf Club of Avon
Merchandiser Private – Donny Kirkpatrick, Wampanaog CC
Merchandiser Public – Brian Gehan, Richter Park GC
Assistant Professional of the Year – John Dipollina, North Ridge GC
Sales Representative of the Year –Rob Lamy, Bridgestone
Player Development Award – Rich Varrato, Tumble Brook CC
Walter Lowell Public Golf Course – Richter Park GC
SPECIAL AWARDS NOTES: Approximately 150 were in attendance at festivities boosted by sponsors that included the likes of ClubCar (presenting sponsor) and Kirk & Matz Fine Awards & Gifts (supporting) . . . The Golf Professional of the Year Award dates back to 1955, when Joe Donato (Norwich) won the first of four straight honors. Wendell Ross (1961-62)of Pequot GC is the only other two-time winner . . . An afternoon golf tournament preceded a cocktail reception and evening awards banquet . . . John Nowobilski served as the event's master of ceremonies . . . Watertown GC is in the midst of its centennial celebration . . . Jason Waters of Orchards GC chairs the Section's Special Awards Committee.View More