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HAMDEN, Conn. – The Connecticut Section PGA, led by Captain Dennis Coscina, captured the 45th Julius Boros Challenge Cup on Thursday after a strong opening nine, winning the Cup for the fifth straight year by a margin of 34 to 29.
The Challenge Cup was founded in memory of Julius Boros, a bona-fide Connecticut resident and World Golf Hall of Fame inductee. This year marked the 45th anniversary of the matches, which first began in 1972 at Tumble Brook Country Club. The matches are an annual gathering of the state’s top amateur and professional golfers, which showcases Connecticut PGA Section Professionals against amateurs from the Connecticut State Golf Association in a match play format.
The Connecticut Section PGA jumped out to an early 15-6 lead over the CSGA Team after the front nine. After making the turn, the CSGA Team closed the deficit to within a single point, leaving the outcome to be determined by the final pair of matches.
“I was so busy running around the course that I didn’t have a chance to see the scoreboard until late in the day,” said Dennis Coscina, Connecticut PGA Team Captain. “The weather conditions were some of the worst I’ve ever seen between the cold and the wind. Both the PGA and the CSGA teams hit marvelous shots out there, and I tip my hat to all of the competitors for stepping up and playing some great golf today.”
With the score 26-25 in favor of the CSGA, the two final matches proved to be the determining factor. In perhaps one of the strongest pairings of the day, defending Palmer Cup Champion and New Haven Country Club Champion Ben Day and Josh Cameron of Norwich Golf Club faced off against two-time Connecticut PGA Player of the year Adam Rainaud of Black Hall Club and 2015 Match Play Champion Jordan Gosler of Manchester Country Club. Day birdied the final two holes to halve Rainaud in the singles match and halve the overall team match.
“I was really hopeful that we would be able to pull out the victory at the end, but I thought our team showed a lot of heart and character,” said Jack Bracken, CSGA Team Captain. “Even despite the weather, our team kept fighting until the very end and never gave up. Ben Day birdied the last two holes, and Dave Szewczul played two under his final three holes to secure points. We had a couple of players that were battling injuries that didn’t quite produce, but I’m happy the way everyone competed throughout the day.”
“A couple of the CSGA players knocked in birdies on the back nine that changes the lead from 8 points ahead to 3 points ahead, so I was definitely a little nervous as things got closer,” said Coscina. “I’ve always had a competitive spirit and I really want our team to win every year. I’ve always thought that attitude, more than skill, is the determining factor. Our team went out there with a great attitude and it feels awesome to win against the great team of amateurs that the CSGA put together.”
The Connecticut Section PGA has an impressive record in the Challenge Cup, having won thirty-three times to the CSGA’s twelve since the inception of the matches. Their win on Thursday marked the fifth straight year that the PGA has captured the Cup, the most since the PGA team won six straight from 1994-1999. The longest winning streak recorded in the history of the matches dates back to 1984, when the PGA recorded nine consecutive wins until the CSGA reclaimed the Cup in 1993.
This year’s match marked the forty first time that New Haven Country Club hosted the Challenge Cup, having played host to the Matches all but four years. In addition to hosting the Challenge Cup, New Haven Country Club was the host of the 2014 Connecticut PGA’s Match Play Championship, and has hosted sixteen Connecticut Amateur Championships and seven Connecticut Open Championships. It will also be hosting Local Qualifying for the 116th United States Open Championship on Monday, May 16th.
The 46th Julius Boros Challenge Cup Matches are tentatively scheduled for Thursday, May 4th, 2017 at New Haven Country Club.