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Hrostek Leads Weather-Delayed CT Public Links

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Chet Hrostek of the Golf Club at Oxford Greens carded a three under-par round of 69 to take the lead after the weather-delayed first round of the 30th Connecticut Public Links Championship.

Conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association, the Connecticut Public Links Championship is a 36-hole stroke play competition that honors the true spirit of public golf in the state. The Public Links Championship is open to Connecticut amateur golfers who have been bona-fide public course players since the start of the calendar year. The championship layout at Fairview Farm Golf Course opened for play in 2000 and is set up to play at a total of 6,566 yards for the competitors.

Early morning rain and cool temperatures greeted the 113 players who began their quest for the coveted Public Links trophy. After a burst of heavy rain forced the delay of play for two and a half hours at 7:50 a.m, play resumed at 10:20am. However, a late thunderstorm resulted in suspension of play for the remainder of the day with fourteen groups still remaining on the course. The first round will resume on Wednesday at 7:00 a.m., with the final round beginning at 10:00am.

Hrostek began his round one over through the first five holes, but rallied with a string of birdies on holes #6 – 8 to make the to two under-par. He played near flawless golf on the way in, making eight pars and one birdie on his inward nine for round of 69.

“I hit a lot of close iron shots,” said Hrostek. “The birdies on 6, 7 and 8 really got me going and I carried momentum from there.”

Hrostek is no stranger to being at the top of the leaderboard at the Public Links Championship. In 2013, he led by one stroke heading into the final round at Manchester Country Club, but suffered a final round 76 to finish in fourth place. He also finished sixth in last year’s Public Links Championship,  and will begin the final round seeking to capture his first CSGA major championship.

“I feel positive that I made a bunch of birdies and hit quality shots,” said Hrostek. “If I can continue the steady play it will be a fun day.”

A trio of players posted rounds of two under-par 70 to sit just one shot back of the overnight leader, including John Dailey of H. Smith Richardson Golf Course. Dailey bogeyed hole number one after an errant tee shot on his first swing of the day, but from that point onward he was flawless, recording three birdies and fourteen pars over the next 17 holes.

“I just got in a good rhythm and made a lot of pars,” said Dailey. “I made every three and four footer I needed for par and just played really solid. And I really like the golf course. It’s in great shape and the greens are rolling really good. You can just put it on the right line and be confident it’s going in the hole.”

Also shooting a round of 70 was Randy Rizy of Timberlin Golf Course, who used an eagle on the par-5 third hole to propel him to two under-par for the championship. Rizy will begin tomorrow’s final round seeking to capture his first CSGA individual championship, but he’s no stranger to the big stage. Among his many accomplishments include finishing third in the 2009 Connecticut Mid-Amateur Championship, advancing to the semifinals in the 2007 Connecticut Amateur Championships, and winning the Four-Ball Championship in 2001 and 2005.

Sitting in the group at 70 is Ben Hunter of Sterling Farms Golf Course, who compiled five birdies on his opening round to post a two under-par round. There isn’t much doubt that Hunter, the 2013 Connecticut Mid-Amateur Champion, will be relying on fond memories when he begins the final round. Hunter won his first CSGA major championship here at Fairview Farm, shooting rounds of 69-72-68—209 for a three shot victory.

Sitting just three shots back in tenth place is defending champion Glen Boggini of Twin Hills Country Club, who shot an even-par round of 72 in the worst of the morning weather. Boggini will be looking to make a move up the leaderboard with hopes of becoming the first repeat champion in tournament history since Joe Dennis won consecutive Public Links Championships in 2003 and 2004.

Among the players still left to complete their first round includes Mike Carey of East Hartford Golf Club, who is currently three under-par with only one hole to play. A par on the finishing hole would likely put him in the final group and a chance at winning his first CSGA championship.

This year’s starting field of 113 players was trimmed to the low thirty competitors, plus ties, following the conclusion of the first round. A total of thirty players, plus ties, will make the cut and will play the second and final round tomorrow, Wednesday, August 12th.

The final round will begin at 10:00 a.m., with the leaders teeing off last at approximately 12:00 p.m. Live hole-by-hole scoring will be available for the leading groups online at CTPublicLinks.com.