Connecticut Section PGA's Golf Foundation fund-raiser enjoys day in sun
Russ Held Sports - WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (July 27, 2015) – Todd Blosser just wants to give back.
So too does the Connecticut Section PGA.
And Blosser, like so many others, has been able to do so through the charitable means of the Section's Golf Foundation.
Blosser's connection came by way of an unexpected relationship with Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, a beneficiary of the Foundation.
"I, we . . . have had our lives stopped,'' said Blosser, a resident of Meriden, Conn. "Everything changes on you.''
Blosser's life was detoured nine years ago, when knee replacement surgery led to an infection in his right leg. The end result - amputation of half of his right leg – first re-routed Blosser through Gaylord as a patient. Now he gives back.
"People have had their life stopped . . . and that's where I come in,'' said Blosser, a lifelong golfer who wears a prosthetic leg. "I'm certified to teach golf there, so I can run clinics for anybody with a disability. A lot of people will just watch at first. Then they'll see me hitting all these crazy shots and they'll ask, 'How can I do that?'
"To see their faces, when they get the ball in the air. You see someone who's had a stroke and lost something on their left side . . . then to still be able to enjoy golf. It can give them so much hope.''
In addition to Gaylord, beneficiaries of the Foundation include the likes of: The Section's Junior Golf Association and Tour; Mt. Sanai Rehabilitation Hospital's Golfers in Motion program; The First Tee of Connecticut; and the Special Olympics.
All took center stage Monday when the Section held its sixth PGA Golf Foundation Charity Classic at Hartford Golf Club. The outing and dinner, with Club Car as its presenting sponsor, serves as the Golf Foundation's main fundraiser each year.
The Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization, with primary objectives being to support youth golf programs and activities as well as helping fund community programs and initiatives that serve Special Olympians and physically-challenged golfers.
"This has been a Godsend,'' said Frank Selva, Foundation co-founder and president for 19 of its first 20 years. "You think about all the people who have been impacted by these efforts. The physically challenged, who are golfers then suddenly can’t do anything. This helps to give them a little hope.''
Blosser teed it up Monday with 131 others, who were treated to 18 holes amid seasonable summer conditions at the 1896 Donald Ross design.
"We have a group playing here . . . I'm with two guys who had strokes and someone who is blind,'' Blosser said. "It's great for these guys to have this chance to play and enjoy golf. It can mean so much to all of them.''
The Foundation event raised $44,000 last year, more than a third of its final annual total of approximately $155,000.
"Our No. 1 goal as a PGA professional is to grow the game,'' Hartford GC head professional and Golf Foundation president/treasurer Joe Connerton said. "We have a golf marathon here that this year raised $19,000 (for the Foundation). And the Foundation covers all ages and so many different organizations.''
Two-time reigning Junior Connecticut PGA Championship winner Jason Liu and University of Delaware standout Nathalie Filler of Bloomfield, Conn., were among headline dinner speakers.
"These two are great representatives of what our Junior Golf (Association) is all about,'' Connecticut Section PGA executive director Tom Hantke said.
Liu said the Junior Tour gave him his "first chance to play and compete and there is no way I would made is this far. Not without the great experience I had with the Junior Golf Tour. The junior golf program develops your golf game, but more importantly influences you as a person.''
CHARITY CLASSIC NOTES: Hartford Golf Club, host for the event for all six years, helps underwrite the expenses of the event. General manager Brian Higgins has played an instrumental role in the event's success and Connerton noted that "we've been blessed with the full support of the club and its board of directors.'' . . . Jim McDonald, head pro at Hickory Ridge GC in Amherst, brought along a foursome as part of his contribution to the Foundation. One of a handful of Section pros able to play Monday, McDonald serves on the Golf Foundation board. "I wanted to find a way to help, it makes you feel good,'' McDonald said. "And it's the people who play in the tournament that are the real asset.'' Hickory Ridge GC will host Massachusetts Special Olympics tournament Aug. 8-9. The program is a beneficiary of the Golf Foundation . . . PGA member Chris Martinez of Simsbury, Conn., is no longer affiliated with a Section club, but understands the Foundation's influence from a number of sides. "I work now for MW Financial Group, which helps sponsor this, and when I was (in the golf business), I saw first-hand what the Foundation does,'' said Martinez, who formerly worked at GC of Avon. "And I get to play today, at a great golf course. And it's a 'work day' for me. Does it get any better?'' . . . Bob Uskevich of Oxford, Conn., participated in support of Frank Selva, president of the Foundation for 19 of its 20 years. "Frank is the pro at Race Brook, where I've been for 43 years,'' Uskevich said. "I've had the chance to play four or five times and we're all pretty aware of what Frank's done and of what the Foundation does for golf.'' Four rounds and accommodations for a foursome at St. Andrew's was among prized items available at the post-round silent auction . . . Low gross team honors went to Bill Whaley, Dana Woods, Bob Whaley and Greg Brown with a 60.View More
Avery, Bechard, Houle, DeRienzo and Hidalgo capture titles at the Torrington-Winsted Rotary Junior Classic
TORRINGTON, Conn. (July 27, 2015) – First-time winners on the 2015 Summer TOUR proved to be the theme Monday at the 2015 Torrington-Winsted Rotary Junior Open, contested at the challenging Torrington Country Club.
Jake Avery of Avon, Conn. posted an even-par 72 to capture the Boys 16-18 division by four-strokes over Joshua Houle of Sandy Hook, Conn. (76, +4). Two-strokes back, in a tie for third, were Kevin Huppert of Coventry, Conn. and Harold Smith of Middlebury, Conn. (78, +6).
Michael Bechard of Longmeadow, Mass. posted an impressive two-over par 73, on the converted Par 71 layout, to earn the Boys 13-15 title by three-strokes over Colby North of Harwinton, Conn. (73, +2). Jack Hogan of Westfield, Mass. and Tyler Hahn of Avon, Conn. finished in a tie for third at 78 (+7).
Continuing a great day for the Houle family, Sarah Houle of Sandy Hook, Conn. carded a nine-over par 80 to win the Girls 18-hole division by one-stroke over Angela Garvin of Feeding Hills, Mass. (81, +10). Rachel Bechard of Longmeadow, Mass. and Katherine Mullen of Burlington, Conn. tied for third place at 85 (+14).
In the 9-hole divisions, Michael DeRienzo of Southbury, Conn. posted a solid two-over par 38 to win the Boys Division by four-strokes over Cole Hahn of Avon, Conn. (42, +6). Bradley Sawka of Ellington, Conn. carded an eight-over par 44 to finish in third. In the Girls Division, Mia Hidalgo of Cheshire, Conn. finished with a solid score of 45 (+9), to win by nine-strokes over Sydney Hidalgo of Cheshire, Conn. (54).
The Torrington Winsted Rotary Junior Classic was the first victory of the summer season for Jake Avery, Michael Bechard, Sarah Houle, and Michael DeRienzo. This marks the fifth victory of the 2015 season for Mia Hidalgo.
Connecticut Section PGA's Golf Foundation 'helping people improve their lives through golf''
Russ Held Sports - SOUTH GLASTONBURY, Conn. (July 24, 2015)
If it takes a village to raise a child . . .
It takes a golf foundation to promote, support and target the growth of the game for youth, special needs and physically-challenged golfers.
And the Connecticut Section PGA has it, in the form of its Golf Foundation. The tax-exempt nonprofit organization is operating as strong as ever as it turns 20 this year.
"It's about helping people improve their lives through golf . . . it's that simple,'' PGA Life Member Gary Reynolds said of the 501 (c)(3) charitable organization.
The Foundation's primary objectives have been the support of youth golf programs and activities as well as helping fund community programs and initiatives that serve Special Olympians and physically-challenged golfers.
"We believe that golf makes a difference in the lives of so many people,'' Reynolds said. "We see it every day at our jobs. We don't save lives, but we try to help create happiness.''
The financial challenges of such an endeavor are softened by the PGA Golf Foundation Charity Classic, the main fund-raiser for the Section's Golf Foundation. The golf tournament and dinner takes place Monday at Hartford Golf Club in West Hartford, Conn.View More
Noah Peterson and Carrie-Ann Lee Capture 2015 Cas Coscina Junior Invitational
NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (July 23, 2015) – Noah Peterson and Carrie-Ann Lee outlasted windy conditions and more than 120 competitors to post tournament record scores in winning the 2015 Cas Coscina Memorial Junior Invitational, a premier 36-hole event named in honor of Cas Coscina, father of Connecticut Section PGA Hall of Fame member Dennis Coscina.
Peterson, of East Longmeadow, Mass., posted rounds of 69-73 (142, E) to win the Boys Division by four-strokes over Philippe Morin of Canton, Conn. (74-72, 146, +4). After finishing Day One at two-under par, Peterson opened his second round with a birdie on the par 5 first hole, establishing a seven-stroke lead he would not relinquish, despite a late birdie run by Morin on eleven and twelve. Class of 2021 member Ben James captured an impressive third-place finish, posting rounds of 72-75 (147, +5). One-stroke behind James in a tie for fourth were Matthew Stafford of West Suffield, Conn. and Alexander Dahlem of South Glastonbury, Conn. (148, +6). The Cas Coscina Junior Invitational is Peterson’s third victory of the 2015 season, having previously won the Ryan Lee Junior Memorial Junior Open and the Ellington Ridge Camera Memorial.
Carrie-Ann Lee of Kent, Conn. captured her second victory of the summer in impressive fashion, posting consistent rounds of 73-75 (148, +6) in difficult breezy conditions, good for a nine-stroke victory over Angela Garvin of Feeding Hills, Mass. (81-76, 157, +15). Lee’s round contained three birdies, including both of the back nine par 3’s. Rounding out the top-three was Sydney Stengel of Morris, Conn., carding rounds of 81-85 (166, +24). Lee’s first victory of the season came at the Ryan Lee Memorial Junior Open, where Peterson also captured the title in the Boys Division.
The Junior TOUR season continues on Monday, July 27th, with the Torrington-Winsted Rotary Junior Open.
Crumpin-Fox Team Wins Connecticut Section PGA Pro-Officer
2015 Connecticut Section PGA Hall of Fame Class Announced
FARMINGTON, Conn. (July 21, 2015) – The Connecticut Section PGA Pro-Officer was held Monday at The Country Club of Farmington. PGA Professionals from across the Connecticut Section PGA played host to their facility Officers for a fun stableford event.
The Crumpin-Fox team, comprised of PGA Professional Mike Zaranek and amateur Tim VanEpps, came in first place in the team contest by carding 55 points. Tied in second place with 47 points were the Manchester Country Club team of PGA Professional Jordan Gosler and amateur Chris Sears, and the Wyckoff Country Club team, consisting of PGA Professional Tony Kelley and amateur Jay Wojtowicz.
The Connecticut Section PGA Professional Hall of Fame Committee also announced the newest inductees for 2015. The first member of the 2015 Hall of Fame class is a PGA Life Member, James Orsi. Orsi spent 33 years as golf professional at New London Country Club (now Great Neck Country Club) from 1955-1988. He is a Half Century PGA Member, and was the 1969 Connecticut Section PGA Professional of the Year. Orsi served at the Secretary of the Connecticut Section PGA from 1962 to 1971 and wrote for the PGA Magazine from 1967 to 1970.
Our second member is Tony Kelley. Kelley has been serving for 30 years as Head Golf Professional at Wyckoff Country Club in Holyoke, Mass. He also has an impressive playing career, winning several premier golf championships, including five (5) Connecticut PGA Championships (1988, 1989, 1996, 2000 and 2012), the 2014 Senior Connecticut PGA Championship, is a 3-time Section Player of the Year (1999, 2000 and 2009), and a 2-time Senior Section Player of the Year (2009 and 2013). Kelley is a PGA Quarter Century member, and ranks tied for fourth all-time with 9 section individual professional championship titles.
The final inductee of the 2015 Hall of Fame is Tim Gavronski. Gavronski is a PGA Quarter Century Member, and is in his 14th season as Head Golf Professional at Shuttle Meadow Country Club, having previously spent 13 seasons as Head Golf Professional at the Black Hall Club. He was named the 1998 Connecticut Section PGA Professional of the Year, and is one of the most decorated award winners in the section, having been honored with Teacher of the Year, the Bill Strausbaugh Award, the Horton Smith recipient, the Youth Player Developer, the Merchandiser of the Year, and the President’s Award for his efforts to raise money for the Connecticut Section PGA Golf Foundation. Gavronski has singularly raised over $72,000 for the Foundation and junior golf through his annual golf marathon efforts.
Each year, over 30 distinguished PGA Professionals of the section are considered for this great honor. The Hall of Fame Committee is comprised of PGA Professionals, Walter Lowell, Gary Reynolds, and Frank Selva, who, since the Hall of Fame’s inception in 2008, complete the research needed to honor these individuals. A total of 27 PGA Professionals have been inducted since 2008.
Peterson, Mathew, Garvin, Kalk and Hidalgo victorious at Ellington Ridge Camera Memorial
ELLINGTON, Conn. (July 20, 2015) – More than 130 boys and girls ages 10-18 battled the heat today at the Ellington Ridge Camera Memorial Tournament, which has been held for the past 15 years at prestigious Ellington Ridge Country Club in Ellington, Conn.
In the Boys 16-18 Division, Noah Peterson of East Longmeadow, Mass. fired a remarkable two-under par 70 to win by four-strokes over Ben Palazzo of Farmington, Conn. (74, +2). In a three-way tie for third place at 75 (+3) were Ryan Levy of Trumbull, Conn., Peter Gehris of South Windsor, Conn. and Mani Capece of Watertown, Conn. This marks Peterson’s second win of the 2015 Season, having previously won the Ryan Lee Memorial Junior Open.
Justin Mathew of Rocky Hill, Conn. captured the Boys 13-15 division with an impressive score of one-under par 71 to earn his first Junior TOUR title of the summer. Mathew carded four birdies in his round, including a hot stretch at eleven, thirteen and fourteen to move into the lead. Alex Aurora of Hamden, Conn. placed second with a solid three-over par 75, edging out Matthew Chorches of West Hartford, Conn. (76, +4).
In the Girls 18-hole division, Angela Garvin of Feeding Hills, Mass. continued her winning streak with a four-over par 76, securing her sixth Junior TOUR victory of the 2015 season. Rachel Bechard of Longmeadow, Mass. placed second with a score of 84, edging out Katelyn Jylkka of Portland, Conn. (85).
In the 9-Hole divisions, Ethan Kalk of South Glastonbury, Conn. shot a two-over par 38 to emerge from a tight race over second place finisher Matthew Doyle of Madison, Conn. (40, +4) and a three-way tie for third between Peter Sanger of Lakeville, Conn., Cole Hahn of Avon, Conn. and Michael Hanratty of Avon, Conn. (41, +5). This is Kalk’s second consecutive 9-hole tournament victory of the summer season, having won last week’s Frank Kringle Junior Tournament.
Mia Hidalgo of Cheshire, Conn. posted a great score of 45 to win the Girls 9-hole division by three-strokes over Connie Dai of Longmeadow, Mass. (48), marking her fourth 9-hole victory of the season.
Congratulations to our division winners and thank you to Tony Rowe and the staff at Ellington Ridge Country Club for their help in running another successful tournament. The next Connecticut Section PGA Junior Golf TOUR event is the 36-Hole Cas Coscina Junior Invitational, which will be held on July 22-23 at Stanley Golf Course in New Britain, Conn.