(May 9, 2021) – The 50th playing of the Julius Boros Challenge Cup between the Connecticut club professionals and the state’s top amateur players will be contested on Thursday at New Haven Country Club. Last year’s event, postponed twice due to Covid, was finally played in September with the CSGA winning for a third consecutive year by a dominant tally of 48.5-23.5. The runaway win was the largest margin of victory in the event's history.
Despite the success in recent years, five-time CSGA captain Roger Everin knows that each year is a stand-alone competition. “I brought the trophy home last year and looked at the history and the Connecticut Section PGA has dominated the event with long winning streaks,” Everin said. “Our winning three straight is great for the CSGA but I have no allusions about the streak. The previous year really has no bearing on what happens this year.”
On two other occasions, the CSGA has won the Challenge Cup three years in a row but in each case the Connecticut Section PGA has prevented a fourpeat. The CSGA first won three in a row from 1981-1983 and again from 2009-2011. When the PGA won in 1984 it began a nine-year winning streak and when they won in 2012 it started a six-year streak. Overall, the PGA, set to be captained by Ian Marshall for a second consecutive year, holds a commanding 34-15 advantage in the series.
“When I look at each year I don’t really look and say okay we have three in a row,” Everin said. “I have been on both ends as a player and captain and I haven’t talked to any players about winning four in a row.”
The annual event dating back to 1972 honors, Julius Boros, Connecticut’s greatest player who won both the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open. Originally played at Tumble Brook Country Club the event moved to New Haven CC in 1975 and has been played there every year since with the exception of 2010.
Typically, there is a large amount of turnover on each team from year to year but this year both teams will be returning 13 of their 16 players. In contrast, the 2019 CSGA team only returned six players from the 2018 team.
“I was only supposed to be the captain for two years but we won and I stayed on. As time has gone on [despite the high volume of turnover over the years] it has gotten easier to create pairings because I get to know the players, their games, and who they like to play with,” says Everin. “It is easier for me to know who to put the players with.”
Everin is a fixture at CSGA tournaments throughout the season riding around courses scouting players and figuring out what pairings might fit best. However, he is quick to acknowledge regardless of the time he puts in it is all about how the players perform.
“I always tell the players that being captain is kind of overrated in a different way. When I first became captain, I looked at what I could do to have a major impact on the event,” Everin said. “My job is to put the best team possible together and then they go play. I have become a pretty good cheerleader, during the Challenge Cup and throughout the year. I try to tell them all the time, they are all major winners, go out there and play golf like they are capable of doing.”
What makes the Julius Boros Challenge Cup unique is the caliber of play. Players on both sides must earn their way onto the team through their play the previous season. But the uniqueness of the event goes beyond the play on the course, it is the comradery between the two sides when play is done. Regardless of which side wins following the competition, the barriers come down and personal connections take center stage.
“The players all get together and last year because we couldn’t go inside for the usual dinner the players sat outside with the opposing team and just talked. That stood out to me because here they are trying to beat each other up, but afterwards they are just talking, discussing shots, and spending time together,” said Everin.
A similar scene is likely to unfold on Thursday around 3 p.m. but first, the CSGA will make a bid for an unprecedented fourth straight Julius Boros Challenge Cup title.
CSGA Roster: Benjamin Day (New Haven CC), Ben Conroy (New Haven CC), Nick Waddington (Manchester CC), Mike Kennedy (New Haven CC), Patrick Griffin (Chippanee GC), James Sheltman (Alling Memorial GC), Cody Paladino (Wampanoag CC), Nick Cook (Tashua Knolls GC), Patrick Casey (Torrington CC), Brian Ahern (Wampanoag CC), Rick Dowling (Golf Performance Center), Dan Murphy (H. Smith Richardson GC), Dick Stevens* (eClub of Connecticut), Bob Murphy Jr.* (Brownson CC), Dave Jones* (Mohegan Sun GC), Dave Szewczul* (TPC River Highlands)
Connecticut Section PGA Roster: Ian Marshall (IAMGOLF), Brian Keiser (Longmeadow CC), William Wallis (New Haven CC), Jason Gobleck (Lyman Orchards GC), Kevin Mahaffy (Pequabuck GC), Billy Downes (GreatHorse), Chris Tallman (Orchards GC), William Street (Whitney Farms GC), Donny Kirkpatrick (Wampanoag CC), Michael Jezierski (Raceway GC), Jordan Gosler (Manchester CC), Marc Bayram (Timberlin GC), Jan Wivestad* (Crestbrook GC), Mike Martin* (Tashua Knolls GC), Bob Mucha* (Edgewood CC), Fran Marrello* (PGA Life Member)
*Denotes Senior Player
Format: Players will compete in teams of two, with individual matches played simultaneously. Each match, team, and individual is worth 3 points, one for the first nine, one for the second nine, and one overall. Nine points are at stake in each foursome. The teams compete for the Julius Boros Trophy, donated by Boros, the former PGA and U.S. Open champion who hailed from Connecticut. The members of the professional team qualify by finishing among the top eight in section PGA Player of the Year point standings and the top four seniors in the section Senior PGA Player of the Year point standings. Also joining the team is the reigning Connecticut PGA Champion, the PGA Professional from the host club, and two captain’s selections. Members of the amateur side, in both regular and senior categories, likewise earn points in a Player of the Year competition and are chosen accordingly. All points were earned in 2020.
About New Haven CC: 2021 will mark the 46th time that New Haven Country Club has hosted the Challenge Cup. Founded in 1898, New Haven Country Club was first designed by Robert D. Pryde, with the present layout completed by Willie Park, Jr. in 1922. In addition to hosting the Challenge Cup, the club has a rich history of hosting the state’s top amateur and professional events. It has hosted eight Connecticut Open championships, including the 2018 Open, won by John VanDerLaan, now competing on the Korn Ferry Tour. New Haven has hosted 16 Connecticut Amateur Championships and one Connecticut PGA Championship, as well as many CSGA and USGA qualifiers. New Haven will again host the Connecticut Open in 2022 on the 100th anniversary of the Willie Park redesign.
About the Associations
The Connecticut Section PGA is one of 41 sections chartered that together comprise the Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA of America). There are a total of 350 golf professionals affiliated with the section (292 PGA Members and 58 Registered Apprentices). These professionals are employed at over 175 PGA Recognized Golf Facilities throughout the region.
Founded in 1899, the Connecticut State Golf Association is the country’s oldest state golf association and provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. The CSGA functions as an extension of the USGA and is dedicated to providing golfers a full range of services for the good of the game and golf in Connecticut. The CSGA is comprised of over 45,000 members and 183 member clubs, providing and administering handicaps for all of its members throughout the state.