For the first time since 1997 when Brian Hedstrom won the title and for just the second time in tournament history the Connecticut Amateur will be contested at the Country Club of Darien. The 121st playing of the championship will be held from June 12-16 with an impressive field set to compete.
“It goes without saying it is a privilege to host the Connecticut Amateur and it is a credit to our membership for allowing us to host events like this,” said 13-year head professional Cory Muller. “We are honored to be able to showcase our club and product. To be able to bring in the best players is quite a privilege and honor.”
This year’s field of 112 will include Chris Fosdick, the winner of the 2020 and 2021 Connecticut Amateur, three-time reigning Dick Tettelbach Player of the Year Cody Paladino, and defending champion Ben Carpenter who will be looking to repeat on his home course.
“I’m excited to defend on my home course,” defending champion Ben Carpenter said. “The Connecticut Amateur is one of my favorite events every year, and having it on a course I grew up playing is special.”
The CSGA last visited the Dr. Michael Hurdzan redesigned 6,912 yard par-71 CC of Darien when the club hosted the 2021 Connecticut Open. However, in that time the course has undergone some significant changes. Those changes are most notable on Nos. 4-6 along with on the 17th and 18th holes.
Players used to have a bit of a breather on the fifth and sixth holes but now both holes will require the player's full attention. On the 435-yard par-4 fifth the green has been moved backwards and to the left 20 yards. The hole now plays as a bit of a dogleg and demands good length off the tee.
Meanwhile, the 430-yard par-4 sixth hole has undergone even more significant changes. “The hole used to be a very parkland straight hole that ran next to the fifth,” explained Muller. “The championship tee has been moved back about 50 yards and is sort of sitting in the old fifth green position. So the sixth is a little longer and now plays as a slight dogleg to the right with a new contoured green.”
Additionally, the area around the green on the par-5 fourth has been altered while the bunkering around the green on the par-4 17th has been removed and the green on the par-5 18th has been pushed further back.
What hasn’t changed is that the CC of Darien sets up as a thrilling match play course. “I think that is one of the best attributes that we have,” Muller said. We have the ability to set the golf course up vastly different every single day of the tournament.”
There are risk reward holes such as the par-4 8th. The hole can be stretched to 341 yards but the tee can also be moved up and played as a drivable par-4 as it did during the final round of the 2021 Connecticut Open. Then there is the dynamic closing stretch of holes beginning with the 192-yard par-3 14th that requires a carry over water.
“The CC of Darien is great for match play, especially coming down the stretch," stated Carpenter. “Nos. 14-18 are all exciting, especially with the new greens on 14, 17, and 18."
Following the volatile par-3 is the challenging 570 par-5 15th. Players will have a chance to score but there is also danger lurking on the hole. Next up is the two-tiered green that defends the 195-yard par-3 16th which is followed by the dogleg right 427-yard par-4 with its reimagined green complex. Matches will then conclude on the 517-yard par-5 18th which promises eagle and birdie opportunities throughout the week.
All the action will get underway on Monday, June 12 at 8:00 a.m. with the first of two days of stroke play qualifying. Following the completion of play on Tuesday the field will be cut to 32 for the start of match play. Wednesday will include the Rounds of 32 and 16 with the quarterfinals and semifinals to be played on Thursday. Friday will feature the 36-hole championship match.
Note: In addition to defending champion Ben Carpenter the field will also include 2022 Connecticut Junior Amateur champion and CC of Darien member Will Lodge. Additionally, Carpenter and Lodge are teammates on the Yale golf team.
Notes on the Field:
Number of Players: 112
Past Champions (8): Ben Carpenter (2022), Chris Fosdick (2020 & 2021), Rick Dowling (2017 & 2019), Ben Conroy (2018), Cody Paladino (2013), Brian Hedstrom (1997 & 2000), Bill Hermanson (1991), David Szewczul (1978)
Players to Watch:
Ben Carpenter (CC of Darien) – The defending Connecticut Amateur champion made a run at the Russell C. Palmer Cup last month finishing in second place.
Ben Day (New Haven CC) – Always a threat Day will be looking to make some noise once again this year. In 2022 Day finished fourth at the Connecticut Mid-Amateur and reached the Round of 16 at the Connecticut Amateur.
Rick Dowling (Golf Performance Center) – The two-time champion nearly won the title last year falling in the finals on the 37th hole.
Chris Fosdick (Wallingford CC) – After missing the Connecticut Amateur last year Fosdick returns seeking his third straight victory in the event. Fosdick won both the 2020 and 2021 Connecticut Amateur titles. Fosdick recently completed his junior year at the University of Virginia where he competed in ten events.
Ben Loomis (CC of New Canaan) – A rising sophomore on the Vanderbilt golf team Loomis earned the three-seed at the Connecticut Amateur last year.
Ben Conroy (New Haven CC) – The 2018 champion reached the semifinals last year.
Tommy Dallahan (Hartford GC) – A consistent presence in the UConn lineup, Dallahan began his summer season with a third place finish at the Russell C. Palmer Cup.
Jackson Fretty (Greenwich CC) – A key member of a Princeton team that reached the NCAAs this year, Fretty has performed well in each of the last two Connecticut Amateurs. In 2021 he reached the Round of 16 and last year he made it to the quarterfinals.
Anthony Guerrera (Watertown GC) – It has been a strong start to the season for Guerrera who has won both the Russell C. Palmer Cup and the Two Man Championship this year. Last year Guerrera reached the Round of 16 at the Connecticut Amateur.
Will Lodge (CC of Darien) – In 2022 Will Lodge captured the Connecticut Junior Amateur and the New England Junior Amateur titles setting the stage for a strong first year for the Yale Bulldogs. His season included three top-5 finishes including a second place showing. Last year Lodge reached match play at the Connecticut Amateur.
Cody Paladino (Hartford GC) – In 2022 Paladino missed the Connecticut Amateur but each of the last two times he has competed he has finished as the runner-up. In both the 2020 and 2021 championship match he lost on the 36th hole.
Jackson Roman (Shuttle Meadow CC) – A semifinalist at the Connecticut Amateur last year, Jackson played well in the first round of the 2021 Connecticut Open at the CC of Darien firing a 5-under 66.