West Hartford, Connecticut (June 17, 2021) – One year ago Connecticut golf fans got treated to one of the best Connecticut Amateur finals of all-time as Chris Fosdick defeated Cody Paladino in 36-holes. Fast forward 356 days and Fosdick will face Paladino again with the title on the line, this time in the 119th edition of the Connecticut Amateur at Hartford Golf Club.
In Thursday mornings quarterfinals Fosdick (Wallingford CC) cruised to an easy 7&6 victory over Jackson Fretty (Greenwich CC). However, in the afternoon semifinal match Fosdick had to work much harder to defeat 27-seed Drew Brennan (Ellington Ridge CC).
Brennan, who survived a 21 hole marathon match in the quarterfinals took a 1 up lead with a birdie on No. 3 and held that lead through nine holes. On the front nine Fosdick consistently gave himself looks at birdies while Brennan was able to scramble from a number of different locations to save par. Brennan had a chance to extend his advantage to 2 up at the turn following a gorgeous shot to 12-feet on the par-4 ninth but the putt slid by leaving Fosdick well within striking distance.
After matching birdies on the par-5 10th Fosdick began to make his move. The sophomore on the Virginia golf team won the par-3 11th with a sharp breaking birdie from 10-feet. On the short par-4 12th Fosdick laid up off the tee and again won the hole with a birdie from 8-feet. Brennan made a bid to tie the hole only to have his birdie putt burn the edge.
Leading for the first time in the match Fosdick birdied the par-4 14th to extend his lead to 2 up. The lead was still 2 up with three holes remaining however Brennan still had some fight left in him. Brennan overcame a 4 down, 4 holes remaining deficit in the quarterfinals and now he was going to go to work erasing his 2 down deficit against Fosdick.
On the par-4 16th both players missed the green with their second shots and faced difficult up and downs for par. For a brief moment it looked like Fosdick would win the match right then and there. Brennan missed the fairway with his drive and left his second shot short in the front right greenside bunker. His third shot barely got out of the bunker. With the ball perched on top of the rough Brennan took a whack at the ball. From the moment it left the club it looked good. When it rattled into the cup Brennan let out an empathetic yell and fist pump.
Moments later Fosdick missed his 20-footer for par and in a blink there was a match. On the ensuring hole the par-3 17th Brennan drained a 30-foot birdie to tie the match. On the 18th both players hit the green with their second shots setting up birdie tries. Playing first from 15-feet Fosdick drilled his birdie putt and then watched as Brennan answered to keep the match tied. Fosdick said to his caddie, “I knew he would make it,” as he headed for the tee on No. 1 and the 19th hole.
Pars tied the first extra hole and matching bogeys sent the tilt to the 21st hole where Brennan won his quarterfinal match five hours before.
Playing the hole in a playoff for a second time would prove not to be as lucky. Fosdick hit first and piped one into the fairway. Brennan who had been steady with his driver lost one left and found the water. With Brennan forced to drop all Fosdick had to do was par from the fairway. Fosdick did miss the green but he trickled a putt down to two feet and when Brennan missed a long bogey try the match went to Fosdick in 21 holes.
“I just really wanted to get myself back into the finals and give myself another chance because I know going back-to-back doesn’t happen too often,” said Fosdick who will have the chance to become the first player to defend his title since Will Strickler in 2007 and 2008. “I am extremely excited to play Cody again. I wanted this to happen again. I think it is going to be a lot of fun and hopefully if it is another match like last year it is one that a lot of people will want to watch. I am just really excited for it.”
Paladino had to work overtime during his quarterfinal match against two-time champion Rick Dowling (EClub of Connecticut) winning in 20 holes. In the afternoon Paladino faced first-time semifinalist Adam Friedman (Great River GC) and he went to work early building a comfortable lead. Birdies on Nos. 1, 3, 6, and 7 gave Paladino a 4 up lead through seven holes.
Friedman would win his only hole of the match, the ninth, with a par to trim to the deficit to 3 down but it was too much Paladino. One hole later Paladino, the 2013 champion, restored order with a birdie to win the 10th and then closed out the match 5&4 with a par on the 14th. With the victory Paladino gets another chance at Fosdick.
“Last year of course was a legendary match and I have been thinking about it ever since that day and something like that doesn’t leave you if you are a competitor. Chris is a great player and I am happy for him that he is playing so great but I am really looking forward to having a shot at him again tomorrow.”
The 36-hole championship match of the 119th Connecticut Amateur will begin on Friday morning at 7:30 a.m.