MANCHESTER, Conn. (Sept. 30, 2013) -- Chet Hrostek of Oxford Greens Golf Club fired a round of two under-par 69 on Monday to take a one stroke lead heading into the final round of the 28th Connecticut Public Links at Manchester Country Club.
Conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association, the Connecticut Public Links Championship is a 36-hole stroke play competition being played at Manchester Country Club on Monday and Tuesday, September 30th and October 1st. Honoring the true spirit of public golf in the state, the Public Links Championship is open to Connecticut amateur golfers who have been bona-fide public course players since the start of the calendar year. The championship layout was originally designed in 1917 and is set up to play at a total of 6,220 yards for the competitors.
Playing in one of the last groups in the afternoon, Hrostek began the day with a trio of pars on the opening stretch before making birdie on the fourth hole to grab a share of the lead. As any great player will tell you, there are always shots during the day that can define the round, for better or worse. For Hrostek, that moment came at the downhill par-3 5th hole.
“After making birdie on #4, I hit my tee shot left into the bunker and hit a great sand shot onto the green. I made a fifteen-foot par save, which really helped keep the round going,” said Hrostek.
Hrostek used the momemtum from that par save and proceeded to make birdies on #7 and #10 to jump to three under-par and a two shot lead at the time. His only hiccup came early on the back nine with a pair of bogey’s on #12 and #15. However, he promptly responded with a birdie on #16 and a par on the difficult par-3 18th for a round of 69.
“I kept it right in front of me all day long. The greens were pretty fast and you had to be in the right spot. There were five or six times where I hit it above the hole and did a great job of lagging it up close for par.”
Playing in his first CSGA tournament in nearly two years, he made the most of his return. A common problem among many mid-amateur players, Hrostek hasn’t been able to find a tournament that fit into his work schedule. However, he spent much of the year playing at Oxford Greens with fellow CSGA competitor B.J. Powers and preparing for the rare opportunity to compete.
“Playing with B.J. and a few of the young guys at Oxford Greens really motivated me,” said Hrostek. “It’s my first competitive round in two years so I’m pretty happy. It’s great to have that feeling of being back in contention and having that little bit of tension and apprehension”
Although he has been on hiatus from competition, he is no stranger to being at the top of the leaderboard. In 2005, he was the qualifying medalist at the Connecticut State Amateur Championship at New Haven Country Club, recording a pair of one under-par 70’s to claim the honor. Hrostek will begin the final round with a one stroke lead, seeking to capture his first CSGA major championship.
Trailing Hrostek by a single shot and playing in the final group tomorrow are Craig Dubois of Wintonbury Hills Golf Course and Kyle Nolin of the Middlesex Eclub, both of whom recorded rounds of one under-par 70. Among those looking to make a move tomorrow is Dave Szewczul, the 2012 CSGA Player of the Year, and Jacob Henny, the 2013 Metropolitan Public Links Champion, both of whom stand just five shots back after opening rounds of 74.
This year’s starting field of one hundred eighteen players was trimmed to the low thirty competitors, plus ties, following the conclusion of the first round. A total of thirty two players made the cut and will play the second and final round tomorrow, Tuesday, October 1st.
The 2013 Connecticut Public Links is being played at Manchester Country Club for the first time in tournament history. The club opened in 1917, originally designed by Tom Bendelow and Deveroux Emmet, two of the most renowned architects from the early 20th century. It was subsequently redesigned by A.W. Tillinghast in 1935, architect and course designer of Bethpage Black and Winged Foot, among many others. Manchester CC has previously hosted four CSGA major championships, which include three Connecticut Senior Amateur Championships (1981, 1983, 2008) and one Connecticut Junior Amateur Championship (1948).
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