PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, ranked among the '75 Best Golf Resorts' by Golf Digest, hosted the PGA of America's Senior-Junior Team Championship, where the Connecticut duo of Mike Martin & Peter Ballo finished T-2 posting a 54-hole score of 26-under par.

HARTFORD, Conn – Mike Martin of New Haven and Peter Ballo of Stamford combined to shoot 26-under-par 262 to tie for second in the PGA of America’s Senior-Junior Team Championship at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Martin and Ballo shared the runner-up spot with Bob Sowards of Dublin, Ohio, and Doug Wade of South Lebanon, Ohio. Those two teams each won $10,500 after finishing two strokes behind Craig Bowden of Bloomington, Ind., and Brett Melton of Coatesville, Pa. They each won $15,000.

Craig Bowden made a putt he needed to and partner Brett Melton holed a chip he didn’t expect to make and that was the winning formula. Those late birdies were the difference as Bowden and Melton shot a 7-under 65 Thursday to win the PGA Senior-Junior Team Championship by two shots at 28-under at PGA Golf Club.

The duo were tied for the lead at 26-under with two teams when Melton had a 25-foot downhill putt on the par-5 16th hole on the Wanamaker Course. Bowden had also reached the green in 2, but rolled his eagle putt 12 feet past. Bowden chose to hit his birdie putt first made to seal the victory in dramatic fashion.


Three-time Connecticut Open champion Frank Bensel made a 15-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole and then made a par two holes later to win the PGA of America Stroke Play Championship at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Bensel, the assistant pro at Century CC in Purchase, N.Y., was facing elimination when David Muttitt rolled in a 25-birdie putt on the first playoff hole. Bensel matched that birdie and went on to claim his fifth PGA Winter Championship after he and Muttitt each shot 5-under 211 for 54 holes. Former Ellington Ridge CC pro Rob Corcoran and Central Connecticut State University grad Rob Labritz finished in a four-way tie for third at 212.


PGA Reach, the 501©(3) charitable foundation of the PGA of America, in conjunction with the Connecticut Section PGA, has selected Sofia Alvarez, of Maracaibo, Venezuela, to join the team as a PGA WORKS Fellow. The PGA WORKS Fellowship program aspires to be the most valuable entry-level opportunity for individuals from diverse backgrounds to gain experience in all facets of the golf industry.

In this role, Alvarez will support the mission and purpose of the Connecticut PGA Section Foundation and support PGA HOPE programming, PGA Jr. League and Drive, Chip & Putt. She will also assist with foundation administration, operations and fundraising events, as related to PGA REACH and the Connecticut PGA Section. Previously, Alvarez served as an intern in the USGA’s P.J. Boatwright Internship Program.

Worked as sports writer for The Hartford Courant for 38 years before retiring in 2008. His major beats at the paper were golf, the Hartford Whalers, University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball, Yale football, United States and World Figure Skating Championships and ski columnist. He has covered every PGA Tour stop in Connecticut since 1971, along with 30 Masters, 25 U.S. Opens, four PGA Championships, 12 Deutsche Bank Championships, 15 Westchester (N.Y.) Classics and four Ryder Cups. He has won several Golf Writers Association of America writing awards, including a first place for a feature on John Daly, and was elected to the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame in 2009. He also worked for the Connecticut Whale hockey team for two years when they were renamed by former Hartford Whalers managing general partner Howard Baldwin, who had become the marketing director of the Hartford Wolf Pack, the top affiliate of the New York Rangers.

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