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Kelly Whaley Fires Course Record 5-under Par 65 at Keney Park Golf Course and Captures the Hartford Women's Open Title

By Bruce Berlet

HARTFORD, Conn. (June 10, 2018) – The First Family of Connecticut Golf struck again in emphatic fashion on Sunday.

Kelly Whaley, the youngest of two daughters in the well-known clan, shot the first bogey-free round of her career, a women’s course-record, 5-under-par 65 at Keney Park Golf Course, for a 36-hole total of 133 and a five-stroke victory in the Hartford Women's Open over fellow amateur Linda Wang.

Whaley, 21, began the day with a one-stroke lead over pro Jordan Lintz and wasn’t happy with the way she started the final round with her father, Bill, caddying for her again.

“I wasn’t hitting it well going into the event and didn’t hit that good the first five holes (Sunday),” said Whaley, who opened with a 2-under 68 at Goodwin Park Golf Course on Saturday. “Then on the sixth tee, I told myself to start really hitting it, and I felt more confident from then on.”

More confident indeed. Whaley hit a 9-iron on the par-3 sixth hole to 4 feet and made the birdie putt, then knocked wedge approaches on Nos. 8 and 9 to a foot to turn in 32 and take most of the suspense out of the tournament.

Whaley made two birdies, including a 25-foot putt at No. 16, and was never in danger of making a bogey in a 33 on the back nine played alongside Wang and Lintz, who earned the $3,000 first-place check Sunday by shooting 70 to finish third at 139.

“I was really steady and hitting each individual shot was my priority,” said Whaley, making her tournament debut in the 3-year-old event. “My first goal was trying to think birdies, and if I didn’t make one, I just thought about the next hole.

“Not getting ahead of myself was important, and I managed to stay patient.”

It was the second major victory this year for Whaley, who shot a school-record 12-under in winning the Briars Cliff Invitational in her junior season at the University of North Carolina, her mother Suzy’s alma mater before she played on the LPGA Tour in 1990 and 1993. Kelly, who won the Connecticut State Women’s Amateur Championship three times, also would like to play on the LPGA Tour and has seen several key improvements in her game the last few years.

“My putting is better, but most importantly, I’m a lot stronger mentally,” said Whaley, who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. “We work on that a lot at UNC, and now I’m able to handle harder situations better.”

Bill Whaley played on the Australian and Asian Tours and is now the Senior Regional Director of Operations at the PGA Tour after being the general manager and Director of Golf at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, home of the Travelers Championship, which is June 21-24. He also has seen more mental toughness in his daughter.

“Kelly has always been a good ball-striker, but now there’s a lot less highs and lows,” Bill said. “She’s trying to stay within herself, live in 45 seconds and don’t get rattled. She is still competitive and hard-charging, but she doesn’t get frustrated as much as she used to.”

Kelly has worked mainly on her game with Bill and her mother, who has a litany of achievements on and off the course, most notably winning the 2002 Connecticut Section PGA Championship to qualify for the 2003 Greater Hartford Open, the first woman to accomplish that feat since Babe Zaharias in the 1945 Los Angeles Open. She also became the first female elected an officer in the PGA of America in 2014, and on Nov. 9, she will become the first female elected president of the national organization and then host its annual meeting in Hartford in 2020.




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Hartford Women's Open Plays Pivotal Role in the Revitalization Efforts in the State Capital City

Goodwin Park Hosts Round One on Saturday

HARTFORD, Conn. (June 6, 2018) – Golf is back in Hartford. And, in a big way.

It wasn’t that long ago. In fact, it was late in 2013 when the City of Hartford’s Health Department locked the doors on Keney Park’s WPA era clubhouse, effectively closing the classically-designed but previously poorly maintained north end golf course that originally opened in 1927. The south-end Goodwin Park Golf Course wasn’t doing much better where it was hard to distinguish if one was on a putting green or a dirt playground.

But all that has changed thanks to the revitalization efforts led by the City’s Department of Public Works in concert with leadership of the City Council and Golf Oversight Commission.

Today, both golf courses are exquisitely maintained and have not only successfully brought back lost customers, but have also welcomed a whole corps of new ones, like the CT Latinias Golf Team started this year at Goodwin Park.

Keney Park is now ranked by Golfweek as the second best pubic golf course in the State of Connecticut, and is racking up industry awards after its well-publicized restoration by Dusenberry Design. It’s also getting high marks from the PGA, having been the host site for the last two Connecticut PGA Championships.

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Westwoods Golf Course Wins 2018 Connecticut Section PGA Walter Lowell Public Golf Course Distinguished Service Award

SOUTH GLASTONBURY, Conn. (May 29, 2018) – Westwoods Golf Course located in Farmington, Conn., has been selected by the Board of Directors and the Special Awards Committee of the Connecticut Section PGA to receive the 2018 Walter Lowell Public Golf Course Distinguished Service Award.

Westwoods is being recognized for the course’s unwavering efforts to make golf fun, accessible to all, and for the advancement in the understanding of the game’s Rules of Golf and etiquette among its patrons. The award will presented at the annual Walter Lowell PGA Tournament today at Wethersfield Country Club.

PGA Professional Larry Graham is a longtime friend and admirer of PGA Life Member Walter Lowell, the awards namesake. “To be selected to receive this award is a real honor. Anything having to do with Walter Lowell is truly special because he is held in such high regard in the Association.” Lowell and his family owned and operated Canton Golf Course for years and set the benchmark for recipients of this award.



PGA of America to Hold 2020 PGA Annual Meeting in Hartford

Connecticut PGA Section to Serve as Host PGA Section, Connecticut Convention Center as Host Venue

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (April 10, 2018) – The historic state capital city of Hartford, Connecticut, will play host to the 104th PGA Annual Meeting at the Connecticut Convention Center, Oct. 25-30, 2020.

The 2020 PGA Annual Meeting will focus on the PGA Member and growing the game of golf. Delegates will gather at the Convention Center to plan the path for the Association’s future and conduct a scheduled election for the offices of PGA President, Vice President, Secretary and Honorary President. Approximately, 750-800 PGA of America officers, board members, delegates, staff and special guests are expected to attend.

Current PGA Vice President and Connecticut PGA Section Member Suzy Whaley, of Cromwell, is in line to preside over the 2020 PGA Annual Meeting. She is the first woman and first Connecticut PGA Section Member to ever serve as an Officer of the PGA of America.

“It is exciting to see a city growing in its revitalization like Hartford host the PGA Annual Meeting in 2020,” said Whaley. “We look forward to our PGA Membership enjoying everything Hartford has to offer.”




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