(August 11, 2021) – For the third time in tournament history the Connecticut Public Links will be contested at H. Smith Richardson Golf Course. This year marks the 36th playing of the event and it will be contested from August 16-17. The Public Links was played at H. Smith Richardson GC most recently in 2012 when Tom McCarthy captured the title and before that in 1989 when Frank Dully earned the victory.
“The course is in excellent shape with firm and fast greens,” said first year Head Professional Bob Bigonette. “The people of Fairfield are very excited to see how the best public golfers in Connecticut fair on our home track.”
Designed by Hal Purdy and Stephen Kay the course opened in 1972 and the approximately 6,700 yards, par-72 layout will challenge golfers throughout. Golfers can expect a variety of holes and will encounter holes that are uphill, downhill, short, long, straight, or doglegged. Approach shots will be hit into large undulating greens that will require a good read and confident stroke.
It will be important for the field to get off to a good start on the first six holes before getting into the “meat of the course” on Nos. 7-10. The dogleg par-4 7th plays at nearly 400 yards and requires a high quality second shot, the 200 yard par-3 8th features a challenging green guarded by water while the 9th is an extremely tight reachable par-5 that offers the player many ways to attack it. The stretch concludes with the most difficult par-4 on the course, the 397 yard 10th hole.
“I’ve been playing the course for [over seven] years now and tournament golf at H. Smith Richardson GC is much different than your round of casual golf,” one of the pre-tournament favorites Dan Murphy said of his home course. “They can get the greens rolling and put some unfriendly pins. I’ve played with plenty of guys who when it’s their first time around, don’t fare too well.”
Murphy will look to continue the recent trend of players competing on their home course playing well in CSGA events. In 2020 Max Theodorakis won the Connecticut Open on his home course, Ridgewood CC, and at the Public Links last year Connor Roche earned the title at Simsbury Farms GC. This year Alex Elia and Mia Holbrook captured the Borck Junior on their home track Silver Spring CC while Country Club of Darien member Ben Carpenter led after two rounds and nearly won the Connecticut Open
However, Murphy, a two-time Club Champion and five-time Member-Member winner knows that simply playing on a course he is familiar with is no guarantee of success, “In order to keep the trend going I think I just need to play smart and keep the ball in play. Not try to do anything too crazy and play the course the way it’s meant to be played.”
The 36th Connecticut Public Links will begin on Monday at 7:30 a.m. Following the first round the field will be cut to the top-30 and ties ahead of Tuesday’s final round.
Past Champions in Field (5): Peter Tomlinson (2019), Kyle Nolin (2016), Chet Hrostek (2015), TJ Trimboli (2008), Derek Waddington (1999)
Players to Watch:
Eric Bleile (EClub of Connecticut): Last year Bleile played in the final group before settling for a T5 finish. It was his second top-10 showing in the Public Links in the last three years. Bleile had a strong start at the Connecticut Mid-Amateur last week before finishing T14.
Alexander Gu (EClub of Connecticut): A rising sophomore on the Dartmouth golf team Gu was one of the top junior players in the state often making a run at the Junior Amateur.
Seth Jainchill (Keney GC): Last year Jainchill finished in third place at the Public Links. This year he won the Tumble Brook One Day.
Dave Jones (Mohegan Sun GC): It has been a strong year for Jones winning four One Day events and reaching the quarterfinals at the Senior Match Play.
Dan Murphy (H. Smith Richardson GC): Coming off a top-10 in the Public Links last year Murphy will look to utilize his home course advantage. Murphy will enter the tournament fresh off a T5 finish at the Connecticut Mid-Amateur.
Kyle Nolin (Goodwin GC): The 2015 Public Links winner is poised to make another run at the crown this year.
Jamie Sheltman (Alling Memorial GC): The worst finish for Sheltman since 2017 at the Public Links is a tie for sixth. Recently Sheltman set a new course record at his home track Alling Memorial GC. Last week Sheltman finished in a tie for second place at the Connecticut Mid-Amateur.
Dick Stevens (Western Hills Golf CC): Winning is hard so you always need to keep an eye on a recent champion. Stevens won his second Senior Amateur last September.
Peter Tomlinson (Orange Hills CC): Last year Tomlinson missed the Public Links and didn’t get a chance to defend his title however this year he is back and is looking to reclaim the trophy. This year Tomlinson reached the quarterfinals of the Connecticut Amateur and most recently finished fourth at the Connecticut Mid-Amateur after beginning the final round tied for the lead.
About the Connecticut State Golf Association
The Connecticut Public Links is one of 19 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. Founded in 1899, it is the country’s oldest state golf association and conducts over 60 Championships, Qualifiers, and One Day Tournaments throughout the year.