WETHERSFIELD, CT (June 15, 2016) -- After day three of the 114th Connecticut Amateur presented by Kota Solutions, only eight players remain with a chance to have their name etched on the state’s most prestigious amateur title. The championship is being conducted June 13th - 17th at Wethersfield Country Club in Wethersfield, Conn.
For the eventual champion, Wednesday began the first of three 36-hole days, with players playing their Round of 32 match in the morning, followed by their Round of 16 match in the afternoon. After the first two days brought gusty winds and tough conditions for players in the stroke play qualifying, Wednesday saw a more modest wind, giving players plenty of scoring opportunities for their opening pair of matches.
Day one produced some considerable upsets based on seeding, with both the #1 seed (Brian Ahern of Wampanoag Country Club) and the #3 seed (Justin Clark of Rolling Hills Country Club) falling in the Round of 16. In the Round of 32 matches, eight of the sixteen matches were won by the lower seeded player. However, both the #2 seed (Brent Dietz of Cedar Knob Golf Course) and #4 seed (Corey Birch of Silver Spring Country Club) advanced to the quarterfinals, along with the #6 seed and 2014 Amateur Champion Zach Zaback of TPC River Highlands.
Meet the Quarterfinalists
Bill Hermanson, Black Hall Club (#17 seed)
Hermanson, the 1991 Connecticut Amateur Champion, is making his first appearance in the quarterfinals since 2010, where he advanced to the semifinals. A 2012 Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame Inductee, Hermanson is the reigning CSGA Senior Player of the Year and is looking to capture his thirteenth CSGA individual championship. After trailing 4-down with six holes to play in his morning match to Steve Wagner, Hermanson staged an epic comeback by winning five of the next six holes to win 1-up. In his afternoon match, he defeated the medalist and #1 overall seed Brian Ahern by a score of 5 and 4.
Monte Mullen, TPC River Highlands (#25 seed)
At twenty-two years of age, Mullen is making his second appearance in the quarterfinals, having also advanced in the 2014 Amateur. The 2010 Junior Amateur Champion is seeking to capture his second CSGA title, having nearly missed out in 2014 after losing in a playoff at the Russell C. Palmer Cup. Interestingly enough, Mullen, who is a recent graduate of Central Connecticut State University, is working for the Connecticut State Golf Association as the USGA P.J. Boatwright Intern for the 2016 season.
Corey Birch, Silver Spring Country Club (#4 seed)
A recent University of Connecticut graduate, Birch, 22, is making his first appearance in the quarterfinals of the Connecticut Amateur. Birch nearly captured his first CSGA championship earlier this year, finishing second at the Russell C. Palmer Cup to fellow UCONN graduate Zach Zaback (also a quarterfinalist). While at UCONN, Birch was named to the AAC All-Academic Team, and recorded three top 11 finishes including a seventh place finish at the 2014 New England D-1 Championships.
Jonathan Klein, Wethersfield Country Club (#21 seed)
Klein is making his first appearance in the quarterfinals of the Connecticut Amateur and is seeking to win his first CSGA championship. The reigning Wethersfield Country Club Champion, Klein will look to become the first player since Fred Kask to win the Connecticut Amateur at their home club. Kask, a longtime member of Wethersfield CC, accomplished the feat in 1987, which was the last time the club hosted the Connecticut Amateur. Only eight players in the 114-year history of the championship have been able to achieve this unique feat. Klein knocked off Cameron Mackay in his morning match, and 2014 Amateur finalist Kevin Josephson in his afternoon match to advance.
Brent Dietz, Cedar Knob Golf Course (#2 seed)
Dietz is the highest remaining seed in the 114th Connecticut Amateur and played the fewest holes of any remaining player in the field. In both his morning and afternoon matches, he needed just fourteen holes to defeat Chet Hrostek (Round of 32) and Preston Shortell (Round of 16). Dietz, the 2013 Public Links Champion and 2007 Mid-Amateur Champion, is making his second appearance in the quarterfinals, having advanced to the semifinals in 2007.
Eric Dietrich, The Farms Country Club (#10 seed)
At twenty-one years of age, Dietrich is the youngest remaining player in the field and is hoping to become the first player in the history of the Connecticut Amateur to bring the trophy back to The Farms Country Club. Dietrich, a rising junior at the University of Connecticut, is one of three quarterfinalists that competed on their 2015-16 Division I golf team. This past spring, he won the first tournament of his college career, the Til Duty Is Done Invitational, highlighted by a course-record 64 at the Mohegan Sun Golf Club. He will be looking to capture his first CSGA championship when he begins his quarterfinal match against Dietz.
Steve Gettings, Orange Hills Country Club (#19 seed)
After successfully knocking off #3 seed Justin Clark, Gettings successfully advanced to his first Connecticut Amateur quarterfinals. Gettings, who also defeated two-time Amateur Champion Brian Hedstrom in his Round of 32 match, was the medalist in local qualifying for the Amateur at the Golf Club of Oxford Greens. A victory in the Connecticut Amateur would mark Getting’s first CSGA championship, and he would also become the first player from a public facility to win the Amateur since Bernie D’Amato of Wheeler Park Golf Course won the title in 2010.
Zach Zaback, TPC River Highlands (#6 seed)
The 2016 Russell C. Palmer Cup Champion, Zaback entered the 114th Connecticut Amateur looking to become just the second player in CSGA history to win both the Palmer Cup and Amateur titles in the same year. A recent graduate of the University of Connecticut, Zaback avoided a close call in his Round of 32 match, narrowly defeating Rasmey Kong 1-up with a birdie on the 18th hole.. He went on to defeat Thomas Dandrea in his afternoon match by a score of 4 & 3, and will face Gettings in the quarterfinals Thursday morning.
The quarterfinal matches will be played on Thursday morning beginning at 7:30 a.m. and the Semifinal matches will follow Thursday afternoon. The championship will conclude on Friday with a 36-hole final.
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