HAMDEN, Conn. (June 19, 2013) -- Qualifying medalist Kevin Josephson, 23, of Personal Golf Network, was one of sixteen players to advance through the first round of the 111th Connecticut Amateur Championship. The state’s oldest amateur event began the match play portion of the championship today at the 6,543 yard, par 70 New Haven Country Club.
Conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association, the Connecticut Amateur Championship is one of the nation’s oldest state amateur golf championships. The challenging format tests the state's best amateur golfers over two rounds of stroke play to determine the low thirty-two match play qualifiers. Two rounds of match play each day culminate in a thirty-six hole final to crown the top amateur player in Connecticut.
Severe thunderstorms on Tuesday forced the third suspension of play, which required 40 competitors to complete their second round on Wednesday morning. Among those who had to complete their round was Cody Paladino of Wethersfield Country Club, who tied the low round of the tournament with a four under par 66. Paladino, who recently captured the Russell C. Palmer Cup at the Country Club of Waterbury, completed his second round with eight straight pars on the back nine to claim the #3 seed in the bracket.
A playoff at a score of 150 (+10) was required to determine the final two match play seeds, with Geoff Vartelas of Lyman Orchards Golf Course and Jon Groveman of Connecticut Golf Club both earning their spot on the first playoff hole.
Match play began at 10:00 a.m., with Josephson, the medalist and overall number one seed, facing Groveman in the first match. Josephson recently qualified for the U.S. Amateur Public Links and got off to a quick start, taking a 3-up lead after 7 holes.
“Anything can happen in match play, so getting off to a great start was imperative," Josephson said. "As the number one seed, everyone is looking to knock you off, so I just wanted to make sure that I focused on the task at hand and took one shot at a time.”
Josephson will face Lawrence Haertel Jr., the 2004 Russell C. Palmer Cup champion from the Round Hill Club, in the second round Thursday.
Also advancing to the second round was Dave Szewczul, the reigning CSGA Player of the Year, who defeated Clark Robinson of Ellington Ridge Country Club. Szewczul, the 1978 Champion, is no stranger to match play. He recently captured back-to-back Connecticut Senior Match Play titles, with his most recent victory coming two weeks ago at Connecticut Golf Club.
Szewczul will face Jeffrey Evanier of Clinton Country Club, who is sure to be carrying a ton of momentum into his match tomorrow. Evanier strung together a series of six birdies in a row on Holes #3-8 to take a 6-up lead over his opponent, Geoff Schneider, and would eventually win 5 and 4. Evanier, who claimed the eighth seed after shooting a pair of 71’s in stroke play qualifying, will face Szewczul tomorrow morning in the Round of 16.
Among the highlights of the first round was Glen Boggini of Twin Hills Country Club, who rallied from a 4-down deficit to win his match in 19 holes. Boggini was the overnight leader after the first round of stroke play qualifying, and was 4-down in his match standing on the 12th tee. He would go to win the next three holes, and pulled All Square after a par on the 17th hole. A short miss by Addison on the 18th hole forced extra holes, and a birdie on the 19th hole by Boggini secured his victory.
The highest seed to fall in the first round was Chris Wiatr, the number two overall seed, who was defeated by Geoff Vartelas, 5 and 3. Vartelas, who recently completed his freshman year at Penn State, will face Paul Schaeffer of Rockledge Country Club in the second round. There were a total of five upsets in the first round, with nine of the top ten seeds still remaining in the bracket.
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