Earns the Connecticut Section PGA Exemption into the 2023 Travelers

By Bruce Berlet

FARMINGTON, Conn. (May 23, 2023) – After spending most of his professional career on the PGA Tour, Korn Ferry Tour and in Metropolitan (N.Y.) Section PGA, Andrew Svoboda joined the Connecticut Section PGA ranks this year as the new head pro at Great River Golf Club in Milford.

Svoboda won three Korn Ferry Tour events and eight major tournaments in the Met Section, and he’s now 1-for-1 in the first Connecticut Section major championship of the year.

Today at the Country Club of Farmington, Svoboda captured the 92nd Connecticut PGA Championship after battling swirling winds on the back nine for a 1-under-par 70, 36-hole total of 5-under 136 and a three-stroke victory over runner up Corey Harris.

Svoboda earned $4,000 from a $21,500 purse and a berth in the 2023 Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell on June 22-25.

“I’m so excited to win this thing and get the exemption,” said Svoboda, who will be making his fifth appearance in the biggest sporting event in Connecticut. His last came in 2019, when he made his only cut.

“I drove it great all week but missed a few makeable putts today. But the putting got tough with the wind blowing so hard the last four holes.”

But Svoboda had things well in hand by then despite missing 6-foot par putts on the 15th and 18th holes. After shooting a bogey-free, 4-under 67 in the first round for a three-stroke lead, Svoboda three-putted the second hole from 25 feet for bogey but made a 25-footer for birdie at No. 8. He missed a 3-footer for birdie at the ninth hole but basically clinched the win with a 30-foot curler for birdie at No. 13 and a 4-footer for birdie at the 14th.

Svoboda, the 2022 Met Section Assistant Player of the Year, will next be focusing on U.S. Open sectional qualifying on June 5. And he’ll continue to tap his chest with his left hand, something that he learned from hypnotist/sports psychologist Pete Salona while he was at St. John’s University, where he won 14 collegiate tournaments, including 2001 Big East Conference Championship.

“It helps me get focused and calm,” said Svoboda, who played on the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour for 14 years. “Keegan Bradley (another St. John’s grad) does it sometimes, but I do it all the time.”

Harris (Washington Golf Club) tied the low round of the day with Chris Tallman and CJ Konkowski with a 69, which included an eagle 3 at the third hole and birdies at Nos. 1 and 5. He finished one ahead of Craig Hocknull (Glen Arbor Golf Club – N.Y.), whose 71 also included an eagle at No. 3.

Tallman (GREATHORSE – Mass.), who started birdie-par-eagle-birdie-bogey-birdie on the way to his 69 after an opening with 73. Tallman tied for fourth with four-time Connecticut Open champion Kyle Gallo, who co-owns Full Circle Golf in Berlin and closed with a 72 that included four consecutive birdies on the 11th through 14th hole.

“Yesterday was the first time that I saw the course, so I tried to play conservatively,” said Tallman, the three-time Connecticut Section Player of the Year who recently finished T34 in the 2023 PGA Professional Championship earlier this month in New Mexico.

“Today I was more comfortable with the course so I could be more aggressive and hit to the right side of the greens. I missed probably five makeable birdie putts, but overall I’m happy with the way I played.”

Tournament note: Congratulations to 1982 Connecticut PGA Championship winner Jack McConachie who in today’s championship shot his age 75. McConachie finished 77-75- 152 and tied for 20th.

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