Brian Keiser defends his title and sets his sights on a Travelers Championship exemption
CONNECTICUT SECTION PGA
May 19, 2021
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – As if a defending champion needed any more incentive to reclaim a title, Brian Keiser sure has it.
Last year, Keiser won the 89th edition of the Connecticut PGA Championship, firing an even par, 36-hole total 140 at Wintonbury Hills Golf Course. In any other year, this 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.
Keiser will be among the 60 PGA Professionals competing next Monday and Tuesday at Wampanoag Country Club, which will be hosting the Connecticut PGA Championship for the sixth time. The head professional at Longmeadow Country Club will be facing stiff competition not only for the title and to reclaim the Hartford Times Trophy, but also to be the lowest scoring PGA of America member from the Connecticut Section to be awarded the 2021 Travelers Championship exemption.
“It’s always a nice opportunity to say you’re a defending champion,” Keiser said while heaping praise on host professional Donny Kirkpatrick and the crew at Wampanoag for their preparedness. “I’m excited to defend. I realize it’s been over a decade since a defending champion has retained the title in this championship. I’m looking forward to the challenge and playing next week at Wampanoag. I know that the course will be in excellent condition and be well presented for this championship.”
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, when Kevin Giancola won tying the 54-hole championship scoring record of 9-under par 207 shared by Dennis Coscina (Cliffside C.C. – 1980) and Jim St. Pierre (Longmeadow C.C. – 2006).
According to host PGA Professional Donny Kirkpatrick the par 72, 6,610 yard, Donald Ross designed Wampanoag course is expected to be in pristine condition and will serve as a fair test for all the competing PGA Professionals.
“With all that has happened to us this past year we are honored and grateful to have the opportunity to showcase our Donald Ross course and host an amazing group of golf professionals,” Kirkpatrick said. “We look forward to showcasing our challenging yet enjoyable course this coming week.”
This year’s field of competitors includes three other former champions; 2020 Connecticut Section Player of the Year Chris Tallman (2019) of The Orchards, PGA Life Member Fran Marrello (2001, 2009), and Tashua Knoll’s Mike Martin, who won his lone title at Wampanoag in 1998.
“We’re delighted to have the Travelers Championship exemption reinstituted so one of our members has the opportunity to compete alongside the great field of PGA TOUR players at TPC River Highlands in June,” said Dennis Dungee, Tournament Director for the Connecticut Section. “We look forward to a competitive event and crowning a great champion as we celebrate the 90th Connecticut PGA Championship back at Wampanoag.”
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.
The first round of the 36-hole Stroke Play championship gets underway at 8:00 AM on Monday. Players will be re-paired for Tuesday’s final round with the leaders going off last.
The entire list of competitors is listed below and includes 46 PGA Professionals from Connecticut; 13 from Massachusetts; and one (1) from New York:
|First Name||Last Name||Affiliation|
|Jim||Alexander||Great River Golf Club|
|E.J.||Altobello||Springfield Country Club|
|Alexander||Bardani||The Golf Club at Oxford Greens|
|Marc||Bayram||Timberlin Golf Club|
|Jim||Bedus||PGA Life Member|
|Dan||Benedetti||Springfield Country Club|
|Robert||Bigonette||H. Smith Richardson Golf Course|
|Joseph||Carlone||Green Woods Country Club|
|Glenn||Carlson||Torrington Country Club|
|Bryan||Chalifoux||Pine Orchard Yacht & Country Club|
|Dave||Cook||Pomperaug Golf Course|
|Joe||Cordani||Hop Meadow Country Club|
|Adam||D’Amario||Indian Hill Country Club|
|Ron||Dellostritto||Fairways Golf Range and Pro Shop|
|Rick||Fleury||The Ledges Golf Club|
|Eric||Flood||The Farms Country Club|
|Tim||Gavronski||Shuttle Meadow Country Club|
|Dave||Giacondino||Tradition Golf Club at Wallingford|
|Jason||Gobleck||Golf Center at Lyman Orchards|
|Jordan||Gosler||Manchester Country Club|
|Mike||Gramelis||PGA Life Member|
|Tom||Halsted||Sharon Country Club|
|Jim||Hanlon||The Farms Country Club|
|Brian||Huber||Golf Club of Avon|
|Brian||Hussey||Rock Ridge Country Club|
|Mark||Ingala||Bull’s Bridge Golf Club|
|Michael||Jezierski||Raceway Golf Club|
|Brian||Keiser||Longmeadow Country Club|
|Donny||Kirkpatrick||Wampanoag Country Club|
|C.J.||Konkowski||Hartford Golf Club|
|Philip||Krick||Mohegan Sun Golf Club|
|Jason||Loomis||Great River Golf Club|
|Kevin||Mahaffy||Pequabuck Golf Club|
|Fran||Marrello||PGA Life Member|
|Mike||Martin||Tashua Knolls Golf Course|
|Bart||McCarthy||Oak Ridge Golf Club|
|Joe||Mentz||Mohegan Sun Golf Club|
|Bob||Mucha||Edgewood Golf Course|
|Bryan||Nixon||Hop Brook Golf Club|
|Ted||Perez||East Mountain Country Club|
|Ronnie||Pfaefflin||Norfolk Country Club|
|Bobby||Powell||The First Tee of Connecticut|
|Pete||Seaman||Watertown Golf Club|
|Nicholas||Segaline||Wampanoag Country Club|
|Zac||Stennett||Twin Hills Country Club|
|William||Street||Whitney Farms Golf Club|
|Mike||Strong||TPC River Highlands|
|Sean||Sweitzer||Madison Country Club|
|Christopher||Tallman||Orchards Golf Club|
|Nicholas||Tamburini||The Ranch Golf Club|
|Milton||Torres||Crestview Country Club|
|Bryan||Truszkowski||Candlewood Lake Club|
|John||Vitale||GolfTEC – West Hartford|
|Glen||Walden||Beekman Golf Club|
|William||Wallis||New Haven Country Club|
|Jan||Wivestad||Crestbrook Park Golf Course|
|David||Wright||Cold Spring Country Club|