HARTFORD, Conn. – Tennis Hall of Famer Ivan Lendl capped an amazing run of success for lefthanders from Torrington Country Club with a one-stroke victory in the Dick Siderowf Senior Division of the Connecticut State Golf Association Al Acker One-Day Championship at Shennecossett Golf Course in Groton.
Lendl, 58, who won 10 Grand Slam tennis titles while earning a No. 1 ranking in the world, shot a 2-under-par 69 for a one-stroke victory over fast-closing Frank Geiger of H. Smith Richardson Golf Club in Fairfield, the fourth of the year by a Torrington player.
In a shotgun start, Lendl and Geiger started on the 13th hole, and Geiger birdied Nos. 15, 17 and 18 to take the lead before five bogeys on the front nine erased his advantage. An eagle 2 at No. 11 and birdie 2 on No. 12 only got Geiger a runner-up finish. Geiger’s roller-coaster round produced a rare scorecard that read 41-29.
“I don’t know about the lefthander thing, but it is no coincidence that we are all playing well,” said Lendl, who had four birdies and two bogeys. “We’re very competitive up there. We play five dollars a shot and we hole everything out. Even the tap-ins. I know we are making each other better.”
Southpaw Dale Dirk got on the lefthanders board first, winning the CSGA Super Senior Championship on Aug. 6 at Simsbury Farms GC in a playoff with lefthander Jack Bracken of Hartford GC. Five weeks later, Lendl and lefthander Ray Underwood combined to capture the CSGA Senior Four Ball Championship at Connecticut National GC on Sept. 13. Underwood then won the Connecticut Senior Amateur at Shorehaven GC in Norwalk on Sept. 25.
In the Al Acker One Day Championship Dick Tettelbach Division for players under 55, Glen Boggini of Manchester CC shot 69 for a four-shot victory over Chris Maxwell of CC Farmington. Boggini, a former CSGA Public Links champion and a longtime standout in New England, will represent Connecticut and the CSGA in the Tri-State Matches hosted by Massachusetts at the Oyster Harbors Club in Osterville on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Al Acker One Day Championship marked the conclusion of the CSGA competitive season. The 94 players who teed it up at Shennecossett earned their way into the tournament by finishing in the Top-5 in at least one One-Day event in 2018.
Earlier, Patrick Griffin of Blue Fox Run GC in Avon and Bill Hermanson of the Black Hall Club in Old Lyme won the CSGA’s Tournament of Champions at Bull’s Bridge GC in Kent.
Griffin, 46, who contended in multiple CSGA events this year beginning with the Palmer Cup in May, prevailed by a stroke over Josh Cameron of Norwich GC. Despite two late bogeys, Griffin was the only player among 83 in the Open or Senior divisions to finish in red figures. Defending champion Brent Dietz of Cedar Knob GC in Somers tied for third at 73.
With a son in college and a daughter about to go, Griffin said he had more time to practice this season and it paid off as he contended in every event he entered. He tied for seventh in the Palmer Cup, reached the round of 16 in the Connecticut Amateur, losing to eventual champion Ben Conroy, tied for third the Mid-Amateur with Hermanson and was medalist in the U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifier at Apawamis GC in Rye. N.Y.
“It’s been a really good year,” Griffin said. “I’ve worked hard. I don’t have a teacher, but I’ve practiced a lot. And I’m coming back from year when I was very sick, had a cancer scare, and was just happy to play at all. This year I’ve been hitting a lot of balls. I just revert to what my old mentor, John Murphy, who was the head pro at Farmington Country Club, told me. Load into my right side. And stay connected. I can’t do the stuff like stack and tilt that that young guys do. My game is hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens and generally I’m a pretty good putter.”
In the Siderowf (Senior) Division, former Connecticut Amateur, Mid-Amateur and Senior Amateur Champion Hermanson shot 72, then outlasted 2018 Senior Match Play Champion Patrick McGuiness of Keney Park GC in Hartford and Mike Fitzpatrick of H. Smith Richardson to win on the third playoff hole. Hermanson, 61, putted for eagle on the first two extra holes, hitting the fringe of the par-5 first in two and driving the short par-four second to 20 feet. He birdied both, then parred the 393-yard par-four third when McGuiness drove right into an unplayable lie and Fitzpatrick failed to get up and down from in front of the green.
Hermanson hit 17 greens in regulation (20 if you count the playoff) and recorded an opening eagle, a closing birdie and 14 pars in between.
“I hit the ball really well,” said Hermanson, a previous Tournament of Champions (Open Division) winner. “I hit a lot of greens, even missing a few birdie putts. But I’m pleased.”
Conroy, who won the State Amateur and Four-Ball Championship, was Tettlebach Player of the Year with 1,006.5 points, followed by Max Theodorakis (588.3), Brian Ahern (485), Griffin (419.17) and Ben Day (402). In the Siderowf Senior Division, McGuiness, who won the Senior Match Play Championship, earned Player of the Year with 731 points, followed by Hermanson (646.17), Underwood (529), Richard Malafronte (287) and Michael Hooper (280).
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