WILTON, Conn. (June 20, 2011) -- Branden Chicorka from eClub of River Valley (one of the five regional type 3 clubs established through the CSGA Clubs for Schools Program) and Enfield, Conn. started his day off with a birdie and didn’t look back. Chicorka, the reigning Russell C. Palmer Cup Champion, started his round on the back nine and after making his only bogey on the fifteenth hole he finished with five birdies in his last twelve holes to finish with a four-under par 67.
Defending champion Bernie D’Amato from Fairchild Wheeler Golf Course (Bridgeport) finished his first round with a one-over par round of 72. D’Amato, a junior at Princeton University, continued the steady iron play that won him last year’s Connecticut Amateur. D’Amato is looking to accomplish the rare feat of repeating as Amateur champion. The last player to repeat was Will Strickler, who currently plays on the PGA Tour, in 2007-2008.
Dave Szewczul, two-time CSGA Senior Player of the Year, from Tunxis Plantation Golf Club (Farmington) finished his round three shots off the lead. Despite a double bogey on his ninth hole, Szewczul made three birdies on the back nine to end at one-under par 70.
Others at the top of the leaderboard include several major winners. Brian Ahern (71) from Wampanoag (West Hartford) - the 2010 Mid-Amateur Champion, Tom McCarthy (72) from Twin Hills (Coventry) - the 2008 Russell Palmer Cup Champion, and Tommy McDonagh (70) from Shorehaven (Norwalk) - the 2006 Connecticut Amateur Champion
Play in the 109th Connecticut Amateur will resume tomorrow at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton, Conn. at 7:30am. The field will be cut to the top thirty-two players after round two with match play beginning on Wednesday.
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