Conn. State Am: 36-hole final set for Friday
ORANGE, Conn. (June 28, 2012) -- Day four of the 110th Connecticut Amateur at Race Brook Country Club began with the remaining eight players squaring off in four quarter final matches. Branden Chicorka (Eclub of River Valley) made six birdies and was able to dismiss John Jackopsic (Gillette Ridge GC) 3&1 in match one of the day. Match two saw Ben Conroy (Eclub of River Valley) continue his steady play and defeat Patrick Ross (Rolling Hills CC) 2&1. Match three featured the highest remaining seed as No. 2 Chris Swift (Great River GC) fell to Geoff Vartelas (Lyman Orchards GC) 3&2. Vartelas eagled the par 5 14th hole in a match he never trailed. The mornings final match saw 2011 Connecticut Amateur finalist Matt Smith (Quinnatisset CC) face off against Michael Masso (Lake of Isles GC). Smith won holes 12, 13, and 14 to take a 3 up advantage with only four holes to play. Masso would win holes 15 and 16 to put the pressure on Smith, who would eventually par the 18th hole for a 1 up victory and a spot in the afternoon semifinals.

Match one of the afternoon saw Branden Chicorka face off against Ben Conroy. Only three holes were exchanged thru the first thirteen of the match, when Conroy then turned a 1 down deficit into a 1 up advantage by winning holes 14 and 15. Chicorka would miss his par putt on 17 to square the match, giving him only one more opportunity to win a hole and send the match to a playoff. Conroy showed off his touch by lagging his long birdie opportunity from the top tier of the green to three feet, forcing Chicorka to make his 25 foot birdie attempt to force extra holes. Chicorka would miss and Conroy would roll in his short putt to with the match 1 up and earn his place in Friday’s 36 hole final.

Match two of the afternoon featured Matt Smith and Geoff Vartelas. Smith got off to a fast start, going 2 up thru two holes before making eagle on the par 5 3rd hole to increase his lead to 3 up. A par on 6 and a birdie on 7 gave Smith a 5 up lead thru 7 holes. After five halved holes in a row, Smith would birdie the 13th hole to win the match 6&5 and for the second year in a row advance to the finals of the Connecticut State Amateur.

The final match of No. 3 seed Matt Smith v. No. 20 seed Ben Conroy will begin at 8 a.m. on Friday morning. The second 18 holes of the 36 hole final will begin at approximately noon.

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