Article by CSGA Volunteer Patrick Murphy
(March 10, 2023) – The 2022 CSGA season was chock full of excellent play, great shots, and memorable moments. Here are a few exceptional stories that stood out from this past year of play.
As Alex Elia approached the par-3 13th green at Ridgewood Country Club during his 120th Connecticut Amateur practice round, he was a bit confused as to where his tee shot ended up. A few moments later, the emotion turned to shock when he found his ball in the hole.
He and his playing partners looked around the green a bit, then jokingly suggested he check the cup. Sure enough, there it was. “I froze when I saw it in the hole,” recalls Elia.
Any golfer would understandably be speechless after a hole-in-one, but this was Elia’s second of the round.
Just five holes prior, on the 191-yard par-3 eighth, Elia recorded his first hole-in-one of the day with a 6-iron. “I saw the tee shot land a few yards before the hole and trickle in. I was excited, dropped my club, and started high-fiving people in the group. On 13 I was speechless. Shocked that I made two (holes-in-one) in a six-hole stretch.”
Elia began playing competitive golf around the age of seven and had two holes-in-one on his resume before the unfathomable practice round in June.
The Wilton High School grad who is currently attending the Kent School for a postgraduate year plans to take his talents to the Holy Cross Crusaders golf team in the fall. “It seems like a good group (at Holy Cross),” says Elia. “I’m excited about the competition of college golf and knowing that we’ll be up against the same level of play. It will be a fun challenge.”
In August, Andrew Wymbs recorded his first hole-in-one at the 396-yard par-4 ninth at Brooklawn Country Club. Wymbs, a junior at Fordham University, was out on the course one last time with his parents before heading back to school for the fall semester.
“The round was the last one before returning to school two days later to begin my junior year. I was just playing a casual round with my mom and dad since we hadn’t gotten the chance to do so all summer,” Wymbs recalls.
Faced with a 30-minute lightning delay on the seventh hole, Wymbs lost a bit of focus, but what happened two holes later was worth the wait. “I pulled out the driver to show my parents that I could get it over the river about 300 yards out,” he explains. “I hit a slight draw that started over the right trap and landed on a small hill on the front right side of the green. The ball took a bounce, rolled toward the cup, and disappeared.”
“We cheered with joy and had a moment of shock along with the group on the fourth tee right next to us. My parents were ecstatic. I still had doubts that it was actually in the hole as we walked down to the green.”
As far as he knows, Wymbs is the only person to ever record an ace on the ninth at Brooklawn Country Club. “It’s a moment I will never forget and couldn’t be happier that my mom and dad were there to see it happen”
Elias Kennon, a senior at Greens Farms Academy in Westport, had a back nine that dreams are made of in the final round of the 2022 New England Junior Amateur at Manchester Country Club (VT) last August.
Kennon started on the seventh hole in the team event. “I wasn’t feeling it at first with the irons and my putting. I was just a little off.” That would change quickly, however. “I stuck one on No. 11 and made a putt to finally get momentum,” Kennon explains. The birdie on No. 11 would prove to be the springboard he was looking for as he followed up the birdie with a hole-in-one on the short par-3 12th.
“Twelve was playing short that day because the tees were moved up. I landed it next to the hole with a lob wedge and it spun right back into the cup. Mike Moraghan (CSGA executive director and Team Connecticut head coach) was right behind the tee box when it happened and my teammate Will Gregware saw it happen from the 13th tee. Having two members of my team see it was really special. I think I just threw up the club a little bit, I didn’t really know how to react,” says Kennon.
The Louisville Cardinals golf team commit was not done yet, however. In one more flash of back-nine brilliance, he reached the par-5 17th in two and sunk the 12-footer for eagle. “It’s a short par-5 but you have to hit it well off the tee,” Kennon said. “I swung as hard as I could at one and ripped it. I had a pitching wedge in from 150-ish and got it close.”
Kennon is excited to get to Louisville in the fall and get to work. “It’s been a little tough because you can’t play year-round in Connecticut. It’s tough to get a lot of reps. I look forward to having access to the (Louisville) facilities to see where I can take my game and see how much I can improve.”
Other Notable Shots
At the CSGA Women’s One Day at Keney Park Golf Course presented by Chris Cote’s Golf Shop Lisa Zuba recorded an ace on the par-3 sixth. With a pitching wedge in hand from 94 yards out Zuba, a former Northeastern University hockey player, recorded the second hole-in-one of her career. The cheers of jubilation could be heard throughout the course.
On social media, we asked our followers if they had any remarkable hole-in-one or hole-out stories from 2022 that they wanted to share. Here is what they said:
“In July I made three eagles. First, at the 81st Connecticut Junior Amateur, I made an eagle on the par-5 16th hole. I hit driver off the tee then I hit the green with my 6-iron from 210 yards outs. I then made the putt from 25 feet.
I also made two eagles at my home course, Tashua Knolls Golf Course. On No. 10 I holed out from 90 yards and then on the par-5 opening hole I rolled in a putt from 40 feet. It was an absolutely crazy month.”
At the 35th Connecticut Mid-Amateur in the second round with a 6-iron in hand, Thrush holed out for an eagle on the par-4 first hole at the Country Club of New Canaan. Thrush finished the Connecticut Mid-Amateur T18.
In a practice round for Endicott College at Kernwood Country Club in Massachusetts Hislop, who reached the Round of 16 at the 2022 Connecticut Junior Amateur, recorded an ace on the 136-yard par-3 17th.
“It was a blind shot. I loved it as soon as I hit it and said out loud, ‘that may go in the hole.’ A few minutes later we walked up the hill and it was in the bottom of the cup!”
About the Connecticut State Golf Association
The Connecticut State Golf Association functions as an extension of the USGA and provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. Founded in 1899, it is the country’s oldest state golf association and conducts over 60 Championships, Qualifiers, and One Day Tournaments throughout the year.