The final month of the Connecticut State Golf Association schedule begins with the 78th Connecticut Senior Amateur hosted by Silver Spring Country Club from October 2-3.
“Hosting a CSGA event at Silver Spring CC is an honor,” said Silver Spring CC head professional Patrick Langan. “The entire club from the membership to the staff is so proud of our facility and the chance to showcase how special Silver Spring CC is.”
This year’s field of 94 players will be highlighted by defending champion Dave Szewczul along with nine other past champions.
For Szewczul defending a title will be nothing new. The Connecticut Golf Hall of Famer has won 17 CSGA major titles including four Connecticut Senior Amateur’s however this time Szewczul will have to battle through a torn rotator cuff and the knowledge that he will be facing surgery two days after the completion of the tournament.
“I’m excited to play. I’m always excited to come back and defend. The field is very strong and there are a lot of good players. The challenges are always there but that is what you play for. However, the main theme for me will be trying to keep the focus on the golf at hand and not the surgery,” said Dave Szewczul who injured his rotator cuff in late August on the 17th hole while en route to winning his third Super Senior Championship. “My main objective is to try and not think ahead.”
As a result, Szewczul will try to approach the tournament just as he would any other. “You know you are going to be up against stiff competition and winning a tournament is about limiting the amount of mistakes that you make. Everyone will make some mistakes but if you can minimize them and avoid the big numbers and then bounce back you will be in good shape. Consistency and not getting ahead of myself are important as well as being able to play within yourself.”
Silver Spring CC has previously hosted the Connecticut Senior Amateur three times, for the first time in 1973 and most recently in 1995. However, this will be the first time that Silver Spring CC will be the lone host of the event.
“It is a wonderful golf course,” Szewczul said. “I think the key is to put the ball in the fairway because the greens are demanding. Hitting fairways and putting your ball in the right spot on the greens (is important) because they can be demanding and tricky. You want to be able to give yourself some legitimate opportunities at birdies instead of putting defensively.”
Established in 1930 and designed by Charles Banks and Robert White, Silver Spring CC is a 6,250-yard par-71 layout that meanders through the rolling hills and woods of historic Ridgefield.
“The greens and surrounding areas will prove to be the biggest challenge,” Langan said. “From the condition of the turf to the speed and firmness player’s short games will be tested. Our superintendent Bill Cygan does a fantastic job on a daily basis prepping the golf course and the fall weather will allow him to push the putting surfaces.”
A challenging layout from start to finish the key stretch according to Langan comes on Nos. 15-17. Beginning with the short par-3 15th most players will have a 9 iron or wedge in hand off the tee however the sloping green is well defended. The ensuing par-4 16th plays longer than the scorecard suggests and finding the fairway on this 400+ yard hole can be challenging. Once players find the green they will have to deal with more slopes and undulations. The crucial stretch ends with a scoring chance on the par-4 17th. Players who hit a good drive will be rewarded with a short iron approach into a receptive green.
The 78th Connecticut Senior Amateur will begin on Monday, October 2 at 8 a.m. with the final round to follow on Tuesday. The top 39 and ties will make the cut and compete in the final round.
Notes on the Field
Number of Players: 94
Past Champions (10): Dave Szewczul (2011, 2012, 2016, 2022), Donal Reilly (2021), Richard Stevens (2007 & 2020), Bill Hermanson (2015 & 2019), Ray Underwood (2018), Patrick McGuiness (2017), Mark Vasington (2014), Jack Bracken (2013), James Bango (2005), Shawn McLoughlin (2001)
Players to Watch
Glen Boggini (Manchester CC): The winner of the Senior Match Play title earlier in the season Boggini has also performed well in One Day Tournament events winning twice.
Bill Hermanson (Black Hall Club): The two-time winner reached the Round of 16 at the Senior Match Play at the end of June and has made the cut at both the Russell C. Palmer Cup and the Connecticut Mid-Amateur. Hermanson also won the CC of Farmington One Day Tournament in May. Last year Hermanson tied for second at the Connecticut Senior Amateur.
Dave Jones (Mohegan Sun GC): The two-time reigning Dick Siderowf Player of the Year held the first round lead at the Connecticut Senior Amateur last year before finishing T4. The 2022 Senior Match Play winner reached the Round of 16 in his title defense earlier this year.
Rick Malafronte (New Haven CC): Seemingly always in the mix Malafronte was a quarterfinalist at the Senior Match Play in June and he was tied for second at the Connecticut Senior Four-Ball in August.
Patrick McGuiness (Keney GC): The 2017 winner earned the five-seed at the Senior Match Play earlier this year and last year he earned a T10 showing at the Connecticut Senior Amateur.
Bob Murphy (Brownson CC): This year Murphy has been limited due to injuries but in his first appearance of the season he was part of the winning tandem at the Connecticut Senior Four-Ball. Murphy was the runner-up at the 2021 Senior Match Play.
Richard Stevens (EClub of Connecticut): The two-time champion nearly won a third title last year but he came up two shots short finishing in a tie for second. In June he reached match play at the Senior Match Play.
Dave Szewczul (TPC River Highlands): Last year Szewczul battled difficult conditions at the Country Club of Waterbury to win his fourth Connecticut Senior Amateur championship. In August he won his third Connecticut Super Senior title.