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Cody Paladino Wins 21st Russell C. Palmer Cup in Dramatic Fashion

Cody Paladino won the Russell C. Palmer Cup for a record third time.

Waterbury, Connecticut (May 21, 2024) – With the sun setting in the background an early morning had turned into a late evening. Three players had battled for 37 holes but still, an outcome at the 21st Russell C. Palmer Cup presented by Chris Cote’s Golf Shop had not been determined.

Around every corner on a sun splashed picture-perfect day at the Country Club of Waterbury the unpredictable had played out. There had been heroic shots and there had been disasters. Every time it felt like the type had been set a new storyline emerged.

At various moments throughout a final round that will long be remembered as many as four players had an opportunity to seize the trophy. Cody Paladino (Hartford GC) got as low as 5 under early in the round before falling back. Connor Goode (Glastonbury Hills CC) hung tough all day long and after a birdie on No. 16, he was in a position to win. 2009 champion Thomas McCarthy (EClub of Connecticut) was steady all week long and had a putt to win on the 54th hole. Meanwhile, Ben Boyd (EClub of Connecticut) bided his time before rallying late with birdies on each of the last two holes to thrust himself into the picture.

When the dust settled and all the scores had been tallied Paladino, Goode, McCarthy, and Boyd had all finished with 54-hole totals of 1 under sending play to extra holes.

Final Results I Photo Gallery

On the first playoff hole, all but McCarthy managed a par sending the remaining three back to the tee of the par-4 18th for the 38th hole of the day.

Of the three Paladino was the only player to hit the green with his approach shot leaving himself a 35-foot putt up the hill for birdie. Goode from just short of the green hit a good lag putt to set up a par try. However, it was a par try he would never attempt.

After stalking the putt from all angles Paladino stepped over the ball. With one more look towards his target, he sent the ball hurtling towards the cup. From the instant it left his putter it looked to be on line and moments later when the ball slammed into the bottom of the cup Paladino unleashed a fist pump that seemed to release all the frustrations of his day.

Momentarily lost in the unexpected excitement caused by Paladino’s putt was the fact that Boyd still had a chance from just about the same distance to match. Boyd, who had birdied No. 18, to get into the playoff couldn’t recreate the magic and once his putt slid by the title belonged to Cody Paladino for a record third time.

“It’s hard to win. It’s hard to win tournaments. It’s not like I’ve never won, so this is my first time trying to win. I think it’s just hard to win, and fortunately for me, I’m in the mix a good amount, so that’s great, but I’m just hoping to close the door more often because that winning feeling is so special, and that’s what keeps me coming back,” said Cody Paladino.

Paladino, the winner of the 2012 and 2022 Russell C. Palmer Cup, looked as if he was going to run away and hide early in the final round. Following a second round even-par 69 Paladino began the final round 3 under and the leader by one shot over Goode (-2), two shots better than Boyd (-1), and three shots in front of McCarthy (E).

Four pars began the final round for Paladino and after back-to-back birdies on Nos. 5 and 6 to reach 5 under and take a four-stroke lead it looked as if Paladino was in the driver’s seat. That all changed with one swing. In between clubs on the difficult par 4 seventh Paladino sent his tee shot out of bounds and ended up triple-bogeying the hole. Now reeling he compounded the mistake with a short par miss on the par 3 eighth.

Just like that the field was back in the game. With the trophy now up for grabs four players –  Paladino, Goode, Boyd, and McCarthy – all held at least a share of the lead at some point during the second nine.

Paladino caught a fortunate break on the scorable par 5 ninth when his second shot appeared destined for a watery finish but instead, it skipped out of the pond and came to rest on dry land 50 yards short of the green. With a wedge in hand, Paladino flipped his third shot to four feet which resulted in a birdie that moved Paladino back to 2 under at the turn.

Speaking about how he stayed mentally engaged throughout the day Paladino said, “It takes a lot of mental rechecking when the voice in my head is telling me you should have won this thing by five shots, so that voice is still there reminding me, so I was trying to push that aside and refocus. Honestly, after everything that happened, I kept telling myself, hey, you’re in a playoff. You should be glad that you’re in a playoff after everything that happened.”

One group ahead Goode and McCarthy were grinding as well. McCarthy after a birdie on the par 4 16th reached 2 under and put himself in a position to win the tournament with pars on each of the last two holes. McCarthy, a standout on the Yale golf team from 2007-2011, scrambled for par on No. 17 after missing the fairway left. Fast forward to the closing par 4 McCarthy had an eight-footer to get into the house at 2 under but the putt wouldn’t drop resulting in a bogey and a 1 under finish.

That bogey set off a sequence of events that eventually led to a four-way playoff. First, Goode a standout at UConn, who was playing alongside McCarthy joined him in the clubhouse at 1 under.

For a brief moment, it looked as if either Goode or McCarthy would be the winner but Paladino and Boyd had other ideas. Paladino bogeyed Nos. 13 and 14 to drop back to even-par but a birdie on the par 4 15th returned him to 1 under and put him in a position to earn a spot in the playoff.

Paladino’s, playing partner in the final group, Ben Boyd had been playing steady golf but it didn’t appear as if he was going to be part of the final script. However, Boyd, a rising senior at Trinity and the NESCAC Golfer of the Year decided late in the final round that he didn’t want to be forgotten.

Following a 3 over 38 on the front nine to drop to 2 over Boyd knew he needed to go low on the back and he did just that. Boyd began his charge with a birdie on No. 13 to move to 1 over and stay in touch with the lead group. Still needing to do some work he knocked his approach shot on No. 17 to 10 feet and rolled in the ensuing birdie putt. Just minutes later Boyd repeated the sequence with another birdie on the 18th to join the crowd at 1 under.

In spite of all the haymakers thrown and twists and turns on this day, Paladino was able to have the final say.

“It was a long day,” Paladino said. “I felt pretty good after I played yesterday and I had pretty good control over things. [But today] it was very, very up and down, up and down, up and down, all the way until the very last putt in the playoff.”

About the Connecticut State Golf Association

The Russell C. Palmer Cup presented by Chris Cote’s Golf Shop 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.