(June 20, 2021) – The 15th Connecticut Senior Match Play will head to Torrington Country Club from June 22-25th with five-time champion Dave Szewczul set to defend his title.
Last year Szewczul had to survive a round of stroke play qualifying and four matches across three long days at Innis Arden Golf Club to capture the title. However, winning a sixth title will require just a little more work. In 2021 for the first time in tournament history the tournament will expand to four days with the number of players qualifying for match play doubling from 16 to 32.
However, for Szewczul the change in format does not change his approach. “My preparation is pretty much the same. Once you begin competition, the mentality is to take it one day at a time. It’s the same grueling test for everyone.”
The week will begin with 18 holes of stroke play qualifying on Tuesday followed by the Round of 32 and Round of 16 on Wednesday. Play will continue on Thursday with the quarterfinals and semifinals all culminating with Friday’s 18 hole championship match.
Torrington CC, a mainstay on the CSGA schedule, will be hosting the Senior Match Play for the first time as part of a ten-year program with the organization that has seen the course host among other events the 2019 Connecticut Open. “We love having the best of Connecticut come to Torrington Country Club and seeing how the course stacks up and it has held up very well over the years,” said Director of Golf Glenn Carlson.
The players will face a number of challenges as they make their way around the par-72 track including the courses fast and undulating greens.
“Torrington is a course where you have to be patient,” Szewczul said. “You have to think on ball placement because you can get some uneven lies. Also, placement on your approach shots is critical because many of the greens are severely sloped.”
Missing in the right spot will be crucial throughout the week as any player short siding themselves will struggle to get up and down. “It is a second shot course,” Carlson said. “Players have to put the ball in the right place to have success on the greens. If you put the ball in wrong place you are going to be putting defensively all day.”
Torrington CC offers a variety of holes and sets up well for match play. The field will be challenged by the par-3s and have an opportunity to score or put together a comeback on the par-5s. “I think it sets up great for match play because there are some holes that are gettable but you have to be in the right place. Typically match play brings an exciting match and it has in the past when we have hosted,” Carlson said.
The field of 123 players will tee off at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
Notes on the Field:
Number of Players: 123
Past Champions (5): Dave Szewczul (2010, 2012-2014, 2020), Pat McGuiness (2018), Tom Brett (2017), Bruce Kraczkowsky (2016), Bill Hermanson (2015)
Players to Watch:
Tom Brett (Rockledge CC) – Brett won the Senior Match Play title in 2017. Last year his best finish was a T7 at the Connecticut Public Links.
Paul Fitzsimmons (Brooklawn CC) – Fitzsimmons has reached match play each of the last two years and made a run to the semifinals in 2020.
Frank Geiger (Sterling Farms GC) – The runner-up at the Tournament of Champions last year, Geiger has reached match play three times at the Senior Match Play. His best finish came in 2015 when he reached the semifinals.
Bill Hermanson (Black Hall) – The champion in 2015 made match play last year for the first time since 2016 when he made it to the semifinals. The Connecticut Golf Hall of Famer won the Connecticut Amateur in 1991, has won five Connecticut Mid-Amateur titles and in 2019 he claimed the Senior Amateur.
Michael Hooper (Brooklawn CC) – When Hooper makes match play he has a habit of making a run. Last year he reached the quarterfinals and in 2018 he was the runner-up.
Dave Jones (Mohegan Sun GC) – Last year Jones shared medalist honors at the Senior Match Play and made a run to the quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion Dave Szewczul. In 2019 Jones reached the semifinals where he fell to Mark Vasington, also the eventual champion. Jones has been playing good golf this year winning three One Day titles.
Bruce Kraczkowsky (Farmington Woods GC) – The 2016 winner has reached the semifinals on two other occasions.
Rick Malafronte (Indian Hill CC) – Last year Malafronte nearly won the Connecticut Senior Amateur before falling in a playoff. He reached the quarterfinals at the 2019 Senior Match Play.
Pat McGuiness (Keney GC) – The winner in 2018 has reached match play on two other occasions and last year he made it to the semifinals before falling to Szewczul.
Bob Murphy Jr. (Brownson CC) – Murphy Jr. has been knocking on the door at the Senior Match Play the last three years. In 2018 he earned medalist honors, in 2019 he made the semifinals, and last year he reached the quarterfinals.
Dick Stevens (Western Hills GC) – Last year Stevens won his second Connecticut Senior Amateur title after previously winning the event in 2007. Stevens reached match play at the Senior Match Play for the first time since 2017 last year.
Dave Szewczul (TPC River Highlands) – What more can you say other than Dave Szewczul has been the best player in Senior Match Play history. The five-time winner won the event last year on his way to claiming his 10th Dick Siderowf Senior Player of the Year award. Szewczul also won the Super Senior Championship, Tournament of Champions, and Senior Four-Ball in 2020.
Mark Vassalotti (Sterling Farms GC) – Vassalotti has only made match play twice but when he does he tends to make a run. In 2010 he reached the quarterfinals while last season in made it to the finals.