Chris Tallman Wins the Connecticut PGA Professional Championship
A 7-shot margin of victory at Tumble Brook Country Club to notch his first PGA Section individual championship title
By Bruce Berlet
BLOOMFIELD, Conn. (October 3, 2018) – Chris Tallman considers himself a pretty good “mudder” on the golf course and certainly demonstrated that trait yesterday in the Connecticut PGA Professional Championship at Tumble Brook Country Club.
Tallman hit 13 of 18 greens in regulation Tuesday in soggy conditions that allowed players to lift, clean and place in the fairway after six inches of rain fell on Tumble Brook in the past week, including a half-inch overnight. It was so wet that players couldn’t drive carts into the fairway, but the conditions only played into the strength of Tallman, one of the longest hitters among PGA Professionals in the Connecticut Section PGA.
“I don’t mind playing when it’s wet,” said Tallman, who won his first individual PGA Section title with a 36-hole total of 7-under-par 137, seven better than runner-up Mike Martin. “I was pretty focused and didn’t let it get to me. The greens were really saturated, but the hardest thing for me is that I like to strike down on the ball so the divots were flying everywhere.”
“But I just played consistent and was patient. I felt very comfortable over the ball and hitting it long was a big advantage.”View More
Michael Jezierski Wins National Car Rental Connecticut Section Assistant PGA Championship
Kyle Bilodeau and Geno Giancola tie for second
OLD LYME, Conn. (September 4, 2018) – In only his second Connecticut Section PGA tournament, in as many weeks, Michael Jezierski of Raceway Golf Club earns a win yesterday at Black Hall Club.
Jezierski shot rounds of 72 and 73 for a 36-hole, three over par 145 total and a 3-shot margin of victory in the National Car Rental Connecticut Section Assistant PGA Championship. With the victory, he gets his name etched on the Joe Lynch Trophy and now advances to the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Championship which will take place on November 15-18, on the Wanamaker Course at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Kyle Bilodeau (Tumble Brook CC) and Geno Giancola (Timberlin GC) each shot 148 to tie for second. Bilodeau will be joining Jezierski at the National Assistant Championship as he won a 3-hole sudden death playoff to earn the second and final spot allotted to the Connecticut Section.
Jezierski registered as PGA of America Associate Professional in June and last week finished tied for 5th at the Connecticut PGA Championship, his first tournament as a professional.View More
Adam Rainaud Wins 3rd Connecticut PGA Championship
By Bruce Berlet
HARTFORD, Conn. – After battling through one of the most physically draining days of his golf career to shoot his lowest score ever, Adam Rainaud made special preparations for the final round of the $25,000 Connecticut PGA Championship at Keney Park Golf Course on Wednesday.
Despite an opening 8-under-par 62 that included a career-best six consecutive birdies and tied the course record on Tuesday, Rainaud felt rather piqued thanks to a temperature index in the low 100s with no wind for any kind of relief.
So Rainaud drank lots of water overnight and felt ready to make a run at a third tournament title, especially with the conditions not quite as severe thanks to a slight breeze. He “kind of thought” the winner would come out of the final group of himself, longtime friend Chris Tallman and Rob Labritz, a standout in the Metropolitan (N.Y.) Section PGA, but his chief competition actually was two groups ahead.
Marc Bayram birdied three of four holes midway through the round to get to 3 under for the day, 5 under for the tournament and within two strokes of Rainaud. But Rainaud made a 14-foot putt for eagle 3 at No. 14 to right his listing ship and then closed with four pars for 70, a 36-hole total of 132 and a three-stroke victory over Bayram.
“I wanted to come out strong, but I didn’t and that added some stress,” Rainaud said.
Rainaud, 32, the first-year head pro at New Canaan Country Club, three-putted the fourth and fifth holes but countered with birdies at Nos. 6 and 7 to retain the lead that he had held since opening with two birdies the first day. Another bogey at the ninth hole gave Rainaud a 1-over 36 on the front side, but he made a brilliant flop shot from right of the par-5 10th green to 4 feet to set up a birdie.
“The key shot was that 10th hole,” Rainaud said.
Mike Martin Captures the 67th Senior Connecticut PGA Championship
Martin, Mucha and Downes advance to the Senior PGA Professional Championship in October at PGA Golf Club
WATERBURY, Conn. (August 15, 2018) – A pair of even par rounds of 69 at the Country Club of Waterbury finds Mike Martin a champion once again. Martin who celebrated his 54th birthday yesterday, grinded out a 3-shot victory in the 67th edition of the Senior Connecticut PGA Championship today. Bob Mucha and Billy Downes tied for second at 141 and will join Martin as the three now advance to the Senior PGA Professional Championship, on October 25-28, at the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
It was twelve years ago that Martin last won the second of his two section Match Play Championship. “It feels good to win again,” a smiling and seemingly relieved victor said accepting gratulations all around from his fellow competitors.
With his victory, Martin now lays claim to five section championship titles, including the two Match Play Championships (2006, 1999), the 2001 Assistant Championship, and the 1998 Connecticut PGA Championship. He also collects the $1,600 winner’s share of the prize purse.View More
Three Added to Connecticut Section PGA Professional Hall of Fame
Announcement made July 10 at the PGA Pro-Officer Tournament at Wampanoag Country Club
By Bruce Berlet
Ralph Salito, Mike Carney and the late Joe Curtin are the newest members of the Connecticut Section PGA Professional Hall of Fame.
Salito has been an active Section member, serving on boards and committees since 1977. He’s a former Section president (2009-2010) who has worked at several clubs and is now an assistant to Tom Gleeton at the Country Club of Waterbury.
Salito’s playing accolades include two-time Connecticut Senior PGA champion (2004, 2005), 2007 Connecticut Senior Open winner and playing on seven Julius Boros Challenge Cup Matches teams against the Connecticut State Golf Association. He was captain of the PGA Section team this year.
Carney was the longtime pro and now pro emeritus and director of golf at Watertown Golf Club. He won the 2005 Section PGA Championship, the 2003 and 2006 Connecticut PGA Senior Championship and was Section Player of the Year in 2002 and 2003. In 2015, he was named the Section Golf Professional of the Year, the highest non-playing honor in the organization.
Curtin was a legendary teacher whose students included Connecticut Golf Hall of Famers Bob Grant and Dick Siderowf. He was the pro at Edgewood Golf Club in Cromwell, now TPC River Highlands, the home of the Travelers Championship, in 1948-52 and then was at Indian Hill Country Club in Newington from 1952 to 1975. He won the 1948 Hartford Open, 1952 Connecticut Open and 1964 Connecticut PGA Seniors Championship. He also was the first-round leader of the 1953 Insurance City Open, now the Travelers Championship. He died in 1985 while still teaching.
The trio will be inducted at the Section’s Hall of Fame and Champions Tribute on Sunday, Nov. 19, at Lake of Isles in North Stonington.
Bobby Gage Emerges Victorious in the 2018 Connecticut Senior Open at Shennecossett Golf Course
Eric Egloff, Ken Green, and Glen Boggini tie for second
By Bruce Berlet
GROTON, Conn. (July 17, 2018) – The 36th Connecticut Senior Open at Shennecossett Golf Course emphatically proved just how unpredictable the game of golf can be.
Eric Egloff, the 2016 champion who survived two life-threating ailments last year, had a seemingly safe five-stroke lead at 7 under par with nine holes to play on Tuesday. But Egloff, from Silver Spring, Md., made three bogeys on the first six holes on the back nine and then hit his drive on No. 18 about five feet out of bounds, leading to a double-bogey 7.
Bobby Gage, who was being interviewed near where Egloff’s first drive on the 18th hole stopped, took a break to watch the final group finish and soon learned he had unexpectedly won the $3,500 first prize with two birdies in the last three holes for a closing 2-under 69 and 36-hole total of 4-under 138 in his tournament debut.
“I never really believed I would win outright, but it just goes to show you have to keep playing,” said Gage, 53, whose last win came in the 2009 Hilton Head (S.C.) Open. “I’ve had a lot of seconds, but this time I just kept playing and things worked out for me.”
Gage, a native of Winsted who now lives in Torrington, got into contention when Egloff bogeyed the 10th, 14th and 15th holes when he missed the greens in regulation. Gage, playing two groups in front of Egloff, then hit a wedge to 12 inches for a tap-in birdie at No. 16 and hit a 7-iron second shot to 18 feet on the par-5 18th hole and narrowly missed an eagle try.
But Gage notched his first victory in nearly a decade when Egloff made the unlucky 7 at No. 18 for 73 and tie for second at 140 with Glen Boggini of Coventry, the low amateur, and the tournament’s inspirational story again, former PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions player Ken Green, who birdied the last two holes for a second 70.View More
Sarah Houle and Christopher Fosdick Crowned 2018 Junior Connecticut PGA Champions
Angela Garvin and Tyler Woodward will join them in Kentucky next month
By Bruce Berlet
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (June 27, 2018) – As Tyler Woodward approached the green on The Course at Yale’s famed par-5 18th hole Wednesday afternoon, he noticed a scoreboard being updated to show he was a 10-foot birdie putt from qualifying for his first national championship.
Well, in championship fashion, Woodward made the putt to shoot an even-par 70 for a 36-hole total of 1-under 139, three behind boys’ medalist Chris Fosdick in the Junior Connecticut PGA Championships.
“I didn’t know where I stood until I looked at the ‘board on the 18th,” said Woodward, who will be a senior at Coginchaug High School in Durham in the fall. “I really wanted to make it because I knew it was to go to the nationals.”
Woodward and Fosdick, who had two eagles in a round for the first time while matching his career low of 65, advanced to the PGA of America Junior Championship on July 31-Aug. 2 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.
On the girls’ side, Sarah Houle of Sandy Hook (139) and Angela Garvin of Feeding Hills, Mass. (147, birdie on first playoff hole) earned the two spots in the national championship July 9-12 at Kearny Hills Golf Links in Lexington, Ky.
Fosdick, 17, a senior-to-be at Xavier High School in Middletown who has committed to Florida Southern, broke from a logjam of players with birdie putts of 6 and 12 feet on the first two holes that started him on the way to tying the career best that he shot at Wallingford Country Club. It also bettered his previous tournament low of 66 at Tallwood Country Club in Hebron when he was a freshman.
After a bogey at No. 8, Fosdick holed a 30-yard wedge shot for eagle 2 at No. 11. He bogeyed the 14th but quickly recovered with another eagle at No. 16, where he hit a drive, 7-iron to 6 feet and made the putt for 3. He then hit a wedge to 8 feet for birdie at No. 17 and a routine par at the 18th enabled him to match his all-time low.
And the difference between an opening 71, which put him in a tie for ninth, and a 65?View More
Kelly Whaley Fires Course Record 5-under Par 65 at Keney Park Golf Course and Captures the Hartford Women's Open Title
By Bruce Berlet
HARTFORD, Conn. (June 10, 2018) – The First Family of Connecticut Golf struck again in emphatic fashion on Sunday.
Kelly Whaley, the youngest of two daughters in the well-known clan, shot the first bogey-free round of her career, a women’s course-record, 5-under-par 65 at Keney Park Golf Course, for a 36-hole total of 133 and a five-stroke victory in the Hartford Women's Open over fellow amateur Linda Wang.
Whaley, 21, began the day with a one-stroke lead over pro Jordan Lintz and wasn’t happy with the way she started the final round with her father, Bill, caddying for her again.
“I wasn’t hitting it well going into the event and didn’t hit that good the first five holes (Sunday),” said Whaley, who opened with a 2-under 68 at Goodwin Park Golf Course on Saturday. “Then on the sixth tee, I told myself to start really hitting it, and I felt more confident from then on.”
More confident indeed. Whaley hit a 9-iron on the par-3 sixth hole to 4 feet and made the birdie putt, then knocked wedge approaches on Nos. 8 and 9 to a foot to turn in 32 and take most of the suspense out of the tournament.
Whaley made two birdies, including a 25-foot putt at No. 16, and was never in danger of making a bogey in a 33 on the back nine played alongside Wang and Lintz, who earned the $3,000 first-place check Sunday by shooting 70 to finish third at 139.
“I was really steady and hitting each individual shot was my priority,” said Whaley, making her tournament debut in the 3-year-old event. “My first goal was trying to think birdies, and if I didn’t make one, I just thought about the next hole.
“Not getting ahead of myself was important, and I managed to stay patient.”
It was the second major victory this year for Whaley, who shot a school-record 12-under in winning the Briars Cliff Invitational in her junior season at the University of North Carolina, her mother Suzy’s alma mater before she played on the LPGA Tour in 1990 and 1993. Kelly, who won the Connecticut State Women’s Amateur Championship three times, also would like to play on the LPGA Tour and has seen several key improvements in her game the last few years.
“My putting is better, but most importantly, I’m a lot stronger mentally,” said Whaley, who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. “We work on that a lot at UNC, and now I’m able to handle harder situations better.”
Bill Whaley played on the Australian and Asian Tours and is now the Senior Regional Director of Operations at the PGA Tour after being the general manager and Director of Golf at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, home of the Travelers Championship, which is June 21-24. He also has seen more mental toughness in his daughter.
“Kelly has always been a good ball-striker, but now there’s a lot less highs and lows,” Bill said. “She’s trying to stay within herself, live in 45 seconds and don’t get rattled. She is still competitive and hard-charging, but she doesn’t get frustrated as much as she used to.”
Kelly has worked mainly on her game with Bill and her mother, who has a litany of achievements on and off the course, most notably winning the 2002 Connecticut Section PGA Championship to qualify for the 2003 Greater Hartford Open, the first woman to accomplish that feat since Babe Zaharias in the 1945 Los Angeles Open. She also became the first female elected an officer in the PGA of America in 2014, and on Nov. 9, she will become the first female elected president of the national organization and then host its annual meeting in Hartford in 2020.