Courtesy of Connecticut Golf Association
For a moment on the back nine during the 34th Connecticut Mid-Amateur hosted by The Farms Country Club it looked like Rick Dowling
had cracked the door open to the rest of the field. On the par-5 12th he hit his second shot long and out of bounds. He played a provisional and ended up making a tester for bogey to drop to 4-under.
The next hole was the uphill 182 yard par-3 13th. Playing more like 200 yards with the wind into the player's face a stoic Dowling hit the shot of the day knocking his 5-iron to inches. A few minutes later he brushed in the birdie putt to return to 5-under. That birdie and the subsequent five pars proved to be enough to crown Rick Dowling (EClub of Connecticut) the 2021 Connecticut Mid-Amateur champion.
With the win Dowling became the third player in Connecticut golf history to win the Connecticut Amateur, Russell C. Palmer Cup, and Connecticut Mid-Amateur joining Brian Ahern and Connecticut Golf Hall of Famer William Hadden III.
“I didn’t know that and my friend Brian [Ahern] is one of those guys and it is cool to be in the company of players like him and William,” Dowling said of his illustrious company. “This tournament is special because all the guys are 25 and older and I am friends with them and it is cool that they are all around. So to come out on top means a lot.”
Dowling began the 36-hole final day 3-under and two shots off the pace set by overnight leader John Abbott (Indian Hill CC). In Tuesday morning's second round he moved into a tie for the lead with a 1-under 71. Beginning his day on No. 10 Dowling bogeyed his first two holes before righting the ship with an eagle on the 12th and then a birdie on the 13th. Following the birdie on No. 13 it would be all pars for the remainder of the round for Dowling and he would begin the afternoon final round 4-under in a tie for first with Peter Tomlinson (Orange Hills CC).
In the final round, Dowling took the lead early with a birdie on the par-4 2nd and never relinquished at least a share of the lead. He birdied the par-5 7th to get as low as 6-under and open up a two-shot lead before giving a stroke back on the 9th to make the turn one clear of the field at 5-under.
A number of challengers made a charge at Dowling throughout the final round. Among the most persistent were Jamie Sheltman (Alling Memorial GC), Cody Paladino (Wampanoag CC), and Tomlinson.
Even-par to begin play on Tuesday Sheltman thrust himself into the picture with a 3-under 69 in the second round and then fired a 1-under 71 in the final round. Two shots back playing the final hole Sheltman gave himself a chance at a playoff by rolling in an 8-footer for birdie on the closing par-5 to post 4-under.
“I felt like I definitely needed to make birdie may be to put a little pressure on Rick,” said Sheltman. “But hats off to Rick he is just so steady, such a great player and he is a good friend of mine so I am really happy for him.”
Paladino, the runner-up at the Mid-Amateur last year, saved his best for last firing a 3-under 69 in the final round to finish 4-under alongside Sheltman in a tie for second. Tied for the lead early in the final round Paladino faded for a brief time before putting together a sprint to the finish. He eagled No. 12 to jump from 2-under to 4-under and one shot off the pace before two bogeys pushed him back to 2-under with just three holes remaining.
Needing to put his foot on the accelerator down the stretch the recent New England Amateur winner birdied Nos. 16 and 17 to return to 4-under. Needing one more birdie on the final hole his birdie putt just missed low of the hole.
Second round co-leader Peter Tomlinson battled his way through an up and down final round. Despite a triple-bogey on the par-3 4th, Tomlinson was just one stroke back after a birdie on No. 11 but two bogeys late did him in. Tomlinson, the 2019 Connecticut Public Links winner, ended up two shots off the pace at 3-under and in fourth place.
The top-5 was rounded out by Dan Murphy (H. Smith Richardson) and Abbott in a tie for fifth at 1-under.
View results for Connecticut Mid-Amateur
ABOUT THE Connecticut Mid-Amateur
54-hole stroke play championship. Players must hold
active USGA Handicap Index at a CSGA club not
exceeding 6.4, and be at least 25 years of age.
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