MADISON, CT (September 27, 2016) -- Dave Szewczul of Tunxis Plantation Country Club used a final round 67 to charge up the leaderboard and capture the 71st Connecticut Senior Amateur. The two-day, 36-hole stroke play championship was contested September 26th & 27th at Madison Country Club in Madison, Conn. and was open to Connecticut senior golfers who are fifty-five years of age and over.
After opening with a two over-par round of 72 on day one, Szewczul began his quest for his third Senior Amateur title two strokes behind overnight leader Bill Hermanson of Black Hall Club. With ten players within four strokes of the lead heading into the final round, the path to victory for the eventual champion would certainly not be an easy one.
Szewczul, who started on the 3rd hole in the shotgun start format, found himself behind early after a bogey on the short par-4 5th hole. Although he was able to recover with a birdie on the 6th hole, a missed opportunity on the drivable par-4 7th hole left him far from the top of the leaderboard.
“I didn’t get off to a great start today, but I just stuck with it and tried to play solid golf for the final fifteen holes,” said Szewczul. “I let the drive slip away on #7 and I was definitely disappointed to not give myself a decent chance at birdie there. But after that, I started hitting some quality shots and was able to get some momentum going.”
Indeed, he did. With the back nine playing nearly three strokes harder than the front nine, Szewczul managed three birdies and no bogies on the inward stretch. The newly designed green complexes were no match for Szewczul’s near-perfect ball striking – in fact, he missed just one fairway and one green all day.
“I just tried to go out and play well today,” said Szewczul. “I knew that I’ve been playing well and striking the ball well, so it was just a matter of making a few putts. I made a couple of great par-saving putts on the back nine that kept me going, and those are almost as good as making birdies.”
But it wasn’t until the very end that Szewczul could lay claim on the Senior Amateur trophy, as six different players held a share of the lead throughout the day at even-par. As bogies began to pile up, it was Szewczul’s consistency that brought him to the top. His birdies on #10, #12 and #14 boosted him into sole possession of the lead with just six holes to play, and a string of two-putt par’s was all that was needed to secure the four-stroke victory.
The six-time CSGA Senior Player of the Year and 2010 inductee into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame has already written his place among the greats in Connecticut golf, but string of close calls and near missed had left him on the outside looking in. Szewczul’s last CSGA win came in 2014 at the Senior Match Play Championship.
“This one means a lot - I’ve been playing well for the last year and a half and I just haven’t been able to finish it,” said Szewczul. I’ve been putting myself in position and I’ve been close, but to finally close the deal and bring it home is truly gratifying for all the work that you put into it.”
The win marks his third Senior Amateur Championship and seventh CSGA senior title, adding to his four Senior Match Play titles, and he becomes just the third player in CSGA history to win three or more Senior Amateur titles. Finishing runner-up was Randy Keleher of Sterling Farms Golf Course and Robert Murphy, Jr. of Brownson Country Club, both of whom finished at three over-par for the championship. Overnight leader and defending champion Bill Hermanson finished in fourth place after a closing round of 74.
Szewczul will look to keep the momentum going when he begins play next week at Wampanoag Country Club for the 29th Connecticut Mid-Amateur Championship, an event he finished second in last year.
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