May 24, 2021


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