HAMDEN, Conn. – The Connecticut State Golf Association team reached new heights in the 50th Julius Boros Challenge Cup Matches at New Haven Country Club.
The CSGA routed the Connecticut Section PGA 47.5-24.5 for a record fourth consecutive victory in the Nassau-style four-ball and singles matches. It was the amateurs’ second largest margin of victory to their 48.5-23.5 romp in last year’s event that was twice postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are really excited about the whole thing,” fifth-year captain Roger Everin said. “I am really excited for the players. I never really talked to them about [winning four in a row] or pushed that, but they all knew about it and it is just a great feeling to know that the CSGA as a group has won four in a row. I can’t say enough about the players, and I am ecstatic that they came through.”
Cody Paladino, the 2020 CSGA Player of the Year from Wampanoag CC in West Hartford, Richard Dowling (EClub of Connecticut), Daniel Murphy (H. Smith Richardson GC-Fairfield) and Mike Kennedy of the host club each swept their matches to pace the amateur side. Dowling and Murphy combined to shoot an 8-under-par 62 in four-ball while also sweeping their singles matches against Jordan Gosler (Manchester CC) and Marc Bayram (Timberlin GC-Berlin).
Reinstated amateur and two-time Connecticut Open champion Nick Cook (Tashua Knolls GC-Trumbull), Nick Waddington (Manchester CC), Richard Stevens (Western Hills GC-Waterbury) and Ben Day of the host club each earned eight of nine points. Michael Jezierski (Raceway GC-Thompson) led the pros with nine points, and partner Donny Kirkpatrick (Wampanoag CC) had eight.
Despite the CSGA’s recent domination, the pros have a 34-16 lead in the series that began in 1972 at Tumble Brook CC in Bloomfield after Boros, a Fairfield native and World Golf Hall of Fame member who won 1952 and 1963 U.S. Open and 1968 PGA Championship, lent his name to the competition. After three years at Tumble Brook, it has been played at New Haven CC ever since except for 2010.
“We say it every year that this is what golf in Connecticut is all about,” said Section playing captain Ian Marshall (IAMGOLF). “You have your best golf professionals and your best amateurs. You have the professionals that are on the side of operations and teaching and helping the industry and then you have the amateurs that are feeding that. I look at it as if we are all working together.”
But the amateurs were better once again.
“We have a nucleus of guys that are really consistent players and have a lot of experience,” Everin said. “They like each other and they like playing with each other and when you put that all together, it is a winning combination.”
At a post-tournament gathering, the CSGA honored Dave Szewczul (TPC River Highlands-Cromwell), a 12-time Player and Senior Player of the Year, for competing in a record 46th Challenge Cup. Fran Marrello (PGA Life Member), winner of a record 25 Section individual championships and a 16-time Player and Senior Player of the Year, was honored for playing in his 44th Challenge Cup.
Ironically, Szewczul and Marrello played each other. Szewczul and partner Dave Jones (Mohegan Sun GC-Baltic) tied Marrello and Bob Mucha (Edgewood GC-Southwick, Mass.) in their four-ball match, while Marrello earned 21/2 of three points against Szewczul in singles.
“New Haven has been my favorite course since the days of the local U.S. Open qualifying there in the 1970s, 80s and 90s,” Marrello said. “So to have the Challenge Cup there is even more special, and knowing the Boros family and having worked for Julius is the coup de grace.”