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Despite Hayes' best efforts, Day prevails at Connecticut Mid-Am
CSGA/Twitter photo
CSGA/Twitter photo

Ben Day was totally convinced he had lost the Connecticut Mid-Amateur on Aug. 27. He even had his hat off his head in defeat. What a pleasant surprise, then, for Day when he discovered that to the contrary – extra holes would spell a second chance.

Day capitalized, defeating Rick Hayes on the first playoff hole at Shuttle Meadow Country Club in Kensington, Ct. Day hit one of his longest drives of the day on that extra hole, leaving him with a short iron from the fairway into the par 5. Hayes, uncharacteristically, pushed his drive right into a stand of trees, had to punch out to a spot slightly farther from the green on the fairway than Day, and missed on the short side with a 5-iron, leading to an 8-foot putt for bogey that he never had to make.

Hayes gave Day good reason to worry late in the day. He made up five shots in 17 holes, hit a brilliant second-shot hybrid just over Shuttle Meadow Country Club's 18th green, nearly hitting the flagstick, chipped to 5 feet and seemed certain to make the birdie that would give him 66 and take him to 5 under and the top of the leaderboard.

Except that he missed that 5-footer.

“I hit a pretty good chip, to be honest. It just came out hotter than I thought. It rolled past the hole and I watched it curl a little bit to the left which means my putt coming back would curl a little right,” said Hayes. “But it was just dead straight. If I went back there right now, I’d hit it the same way. It’s just one of those things. It’s golf.”

The two men were knotted atop the leaderboard for much of the event after both opening with 68 for the first-round lead. Day followed with another 68 while Hayes dropped to 74. But Hayes’ closing 67 allowed him to get right back in it, especially considering that Day closed with a 73 that included a bogey on the 17th.

“I thought it was over,” said Day. “I thought he would make that. But as I say that, it’s kind of a cool feeling to go from me thinking that I’d lost, I mean Rick played a great round, and to come back and be sitting here the winner is a cool feeling.”

Quotes and information from the Connecticut State Golf Association used in this report

ABOUT THE Connecticut Mid-Amateur

54-hole stroke play championship. Players must hold an active USGA Handicap Index at a CSGA club not exceeding 6.4, and be at least 25 years of age.

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