CONNECTICUT SECTION PGA
May 24, 2021
DEFENDING CHAMPION BRIAN KEISER LEADS BY FOUR STROKES IN THE 90th CONNECTICUT PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
Stellar iron play produces eight birdies and a 4-under par 68 after a double bogey start on his first hole
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – It wasn’t the kind of start he expected today but it certainly ended as one of the best competitive rounds of golf for defending champion Brian Keiser.
Keiser’s first swing this morning at Wampanoag Country Club headed right and went out of bounds. After a double bogey start, Keiser made four birdies on the front nine and four more on the back nine, carding a 4-under par 68, and taking a four stroke lead into tomorrow’s final round of the 90th Connecticut PGA Championship.
Keiser only recalled one other time where he made eight birdies in a tournament round.
“This is actually the first time I’ve defended in a championship,” said Keiser. “The times I’ve won before, the following year I transferred to another PGA Section.”
Keiser’s playing partners Bobby Powell and Michael Jezierski were impressed with the Longmeadow Country Club head professional’s iron play.
All of Keiser’s eight birdies were 12 feet or closer to the hole.
“That was the best iron play I’ve ever seen,” said Jezierski of Raceway G.C., who played himself into contention with a one over par 73. He’s tied for third with Joe Cordani (Hop Meadow C.C.) and Rick Fleury (The Ledges G.C.). PGA Life Member and two-time champion Fran Marrello shot even par 72 and is in second place.
Keiser’s approach to his round was simple. “Today I just tried to limit my mistakes and was aware of my distances,” he said. “It was good group, nice guys. We enjoyed the day.”
Last year, Keiser won the 89th edition of the championship. In any other year, that win would have also provided him with an exemption into the Travelers Championship. It wasn’t meant to be, however, as prior to the championship the PGA TOUR suspended this exemption due to the TOUR’s late start in the pandemic season that reduced playing opportunities for its members.
This year, the exemption has returned. The lowest scoring PGA of America member from the Connecticut Section to be awarded the 2021 Travelers Championship exemption.
Keiser will be in the final group tomorrow at 11:30 AM and will be joined by Marrello and Fleury.
Wampanoag and the Connecticut PGA Championship have a storied history. In 1929, the very first of this championship was hosted by Wampanoag and it is the oldest and longest running professional golf tournament in the State of Connecticut. Maurice Kearney emerged victorious in the inaugural event firing rounds of 81 and 76 for a 36-hole 157 total and a two-shot margin of victory over Peter Manning and Alex Simpson. The set of golf clubs that Kearney used to win are on display in the Section office in South Glastonbury.
The championship was staged again at Wampanoag in 1946, 1963, 1998, and 2008.
The Championship is sponsored by Club Car, Mohegan Sun, Jack Jolly, and the PGA TOUR. The winner will receive $4,000 from the $20,000 tournament prize purse. The championship is open to all PGA members in good standing regardless of PGA section affiliation and all Connecticut Section employed associates.
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Round 1 Results
Par 36-36-72, 6,413 yards
1 Brian Keiser Longmeadow CC 34-34–68 -4
2 Fran Marrello PGA Life Member 35-37–72 E
T3 Joe Cordani Hop Meadow CC 36-37–73 +1
T3 Rick Fleury The Ledges GC 36-37–73 +1
T3 Michael Jezierski Raceway GC 36-37–73 +1
T6 Bart McCarthy Oak Ridge GC 35-39–74 +2
T6 Joe Mentz Mohegan Sun GC 37-37–74 +2
T6 William Street Whitney Farms GC 36-38–74 +2
T9 Mike Martin Tashua Knolls GC 36-39–75 +3
T9 Bob Mucha Edgewood GC 39-36–75 +3
T9 Matt Stein GreatHorse 35-40–75 +3
T12 Alexander Bardani The GC at Oxford Greens 38-38–76 +4
T12 Adam D’Amario Indian Hill CC 37-39–76 +4
T12 Jordan Gosler Manchester CC 38-38–76 +4
T12 Mike Strong TPC River Highlands 37-39–76 +4
T12 Christopher Tallman Orchards GC 37-39–76 +4
T17 Jason Gobleck Golf Center at Lyman Orc 38-39–77 +5
T17 Sean Sweitzer Madison CC 38-39–77 +5
T19 Marc Bayram Timberlin GC 40-38–78 +6
T19 Billy Downes GreatHorse 40-38–78 +6
T19 Tom Halsted Sharon CC 36-42–78 +6
T19 C.J. Konkowski Hartford GC 39-39–78 +6
T19 Bryan Truszkowski Candlewood LC 38-40–78 +6
T19 Glen Walden Beekman Golf Club 40-38–78 +6
T25 E.J. Altobello Springfield CC 41-38–79 +7
T25 Dan Benedetti Springfield CC 39-40–79 +7
T25 Jeff DelRosso Prospect Golf 38-41–79 +7
T25 Eric Flood The Farms CC 39-40–79 +7
T25 Donny Kirkpatrick Wampanoag CC 38-41–79 +7
T25 Pete Seaman Watertown GC 38-41–79 +7
T25 Zac Stennett Twin Hills CC 41-38–79 +7
T25 Jan Wivestad Crestbrook Park GC 39-40–79 +7
T25 David Wright Cold Spring CC 41-38–79 +7
T34 Jim Alexander Great River GC 39-41–80 +8
T34 Joseph Carlone Green Woods CC 39-41–80 +8
T36 Robert Bigonette H. Smith Richardson GC 42-39–81 +9
T36 Mike Gramelis PGA Life Member 40-41–81 +9
T36 Jason Loomis Great River GC 39-42–81 +9
T36 Bobby Powell First Tee of CT 41-40–81 +9
T36 John Vitale GolfTEC – West Hartford 39-42–81 +9
T41 Ron Dellostritto Fairways Golf Range and Pro Shop 38-44–82 +10
T41 Tim Gavronski Shuttle Meadow CC 42-40–82 +10
T41 Milton Torres Crestview 39-43–82 +10
T44 Mark Ingala Bull’s Bridge GC 41-42–83 +11
T44 Nicholas Tamburini The Ranch GC 43-40–83 +11
T46 Jim Bedus PGA Life Member 41-43–84 +12
T46 Bryan Chalifoux Pine Orchard Yacht & CC 41-43–84 +12
T46 Brian Huber GC of Avon 43-41–84 +12
T46 Philip Krick Mohegan Sun GC 41-43–84 +12
T50 Dave Cook Pomperaug GC 44-41–85 +13
T50 Kevin Mahaffy Pequabuck GC 41-44–85 +13
T50 Ronnie Pfaefflin Norfolk CC 42-43–85 +13
T50 William Wallis New Haven CC 42-43–85 +13
54 Ted Perez East Mountain CC 43-43–86 +14
T55 Glenn Carlson Torrington CC 46-41–87 +15
T55 Dave Giacondino Tradition GC -Wallingford 44-43–87 +15
T55 Jim Hanlon The Farms CC 44-43–87 +15
T55 Nicholas Segaline Wampanoag CC 43-44–87 +15
59 Bryan Nixon Hop Brook GC 46-44–90 +18