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Cody Paladino Surges Into 36th Connecticut Mid-Amateur First Round Lead

Two-time defending champion Rick Dowling will begin the final day one shot off the pace.

Farmington, Connecticut (August 29, 2023) – Cody Paladino owns the course record at the Country Club of Farmington. In the first round of the 36th Connecticut Mid-Amateur Paladino didn’t break his record of 62 but he did put together a steller 5-under 66 that puts him atop the day one leaderboard.

1-over after eight holes Paladino (Hartford GC) got back to even-par with an up-and-down birdie on the par-5 ninth and then he moved into the red with another up-and-down birdie on the par-5 10th.

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“Having logged a lot of rounds on this golf course there are opportunities to score at different points in the round but definitely the front nine and the 10th because you have three par-5s. That is usually the scoring stretch,” said Cody Paladino who recently played in the U.S. Amateur. “Then Nos. 11-18 are a lot of really strong holes. For me today it was really a mediocre start and then I caught fire at the end.”

Entering the most difficult stretch of holes on the course Paladino played steady golf and as he stepped to the tee on the long par-4 16th he was still 1-under. The runner-up in the Connecticut Mid-Amateur each of the last two years, Paladino smoked his drive leaving himself just 80 yards into the green. With a wedge in hand, Paladino stuffed his approach shot to four feet setting up a birdie that moved him to 2-under.

One hole later Paladino produced his shot of the day. With 130 yards left into an elevated green after another good tee shot Paladino, “stepped on,” a pitching wedge. Once the ball was struck Paladino knew it was good however because the hole disappeared from sight he didn’t know how good it was until he reached the green. Upon arriving at the green nobody could find the ball until playing partner Jamie Sheltman (Wallingford CC) found it in the bottom of the cup for an eagle.

In a blink, Paladino had moved to 4-under but he wasn’t done yet. His tee shot on the closing downhill par-3 came to rest 20 feet from the pin setting up one more birdie look. With a chance to end his round with an exclamation point, Paladino poured the putt in capping his 4-under sprint to the finish over the course of the last three holes.

With the late surge, Paladino will carry a one-shot advantage into what could be a weather-plagued final day.

“I guess my mindset going into the final day depends on the weather and if we play 18 holes or 36 holes,” said Paladino. “I have logged a lot of rounds out here and I love this golf course. I know it pretty well, that doesn’t mean everything but I feel very comfortable playing here.”

Looking directly up at Paladino on the leaderboard is two-time defending champion Rick Dowling (Golf Performance Center). Dowling fired a 4-under 67 in the first round and signed a scorecard that included seven birdies and three bogeys. Dowling played Nos. 4-9 in 4-under and birdied three in a row from Nos. 15-17.

One shot further back in third place at 3-under is 2017 champion Mike Kennedy (Tashua Knolls GC) while fourth place is shared by four players at 2-under.

Shane Bacon celebrates his hole-in-one on the par-3 12th. (Photo courtesy of Shane Bacon)

The group includes Kyle Bilodeau (Blackledge CC), James Smith (Highland Club), Justin Beal (Timberlin GC), and Shane Bacon (Brooklawn CC).

Bacon jumped into contention with the shot of the day. Following a double-bogey on the par-3 eighth that dropped Bacon to 3 over the well-known golf media personality found another gear birdieing Nos. 9-11 and then completed the run with a hole-in-one on the par-3 12th hole. When all was said and done Bacon, fresh off an appearance in the U.S. Amateur, had played Nos. 9-12 in 4-under.

The second round of the 36th Connecticut Mid-Amateur will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning with the final round to follow in the afternoon. Both rounds will be shotgun starts.

About the Connecticut State Golf Association

The Connecticut Mid-Amateur is one of 20 championships conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association. The CSGA 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.