West Hartford, Connecticut (June 16, 2021) – And then there were eight. The third day of the 119th Connecticut Amateur at Hartford Golf Club began with 32 players but as the gorgeous day slid by the field continued to gradually dwindle.
Wednesday began with the Round of 32 with five of the top six seeds advancing to the Round of 16. The biggest surprise during the morning was No. 27 Drew Brennan’s (Ellington Ridge CC) 1 up win over six-seed Ben Day (New Haven CC), a semifinalist last year and one of the pre-tournament favorites.
Brennan continued his run in the afternoon with a 3&1 win over Patrick Casey (EClub of Connecticut). A tight match throughout, Brennan won the 16th and 17th holes with par to advance 3&1.
The featured match in the Round of 16 was one worthy of a final as R.M. Grant Medalist Brad Tilley (Brooklawn CC) and 2013 champion Cody Paladino (Wampanoag CC) battled it out. Paladino, the 16-seed, jumped out to an early 2 up lead after a birdie on the 1st and then took the 3rd following a bogey by the top-seed.
Tilley would battle back evening the match with wins on the 5th and 7th hole. The match would remain tied until Paladino took the lead for good on the par-5 10th. Paladino stripped a drive leaving just an 8-iron into the green. Facing a green light situation Paladino knocked his approach to 10-feet setting up a birdie that would win the hole.
A kick in birdie on the par-4 15th put Paladino 2 up and he would close out the match with a par one hole later.
“I am excited, I can’t wait to play tomorrow,” said Paladino. “I could have played really well this afternoon and not even made it through so I am excited to have the opportunity to play in the quarterfinals.
Paladino will square off with 2017 and 2019 champion Rick Dowling (EClub of Connecticut) in the quarterfinals. Playing as the 25-seed Dowling began his day by taking down 2018 champion Ben Conroy (New Haven CC) 2&1 and then in the afternoon handled Brett Shulick (Oronoque CC) by a 4&3 margin.
The second quarterfinal match will pit 13-seed Adam Friedman (Great River GC) against No. 5 Peter Tomlinson (Orange Hills CC). In the Round of 16 Friedman needed one extra hole to move past Michael Hanratty (Farmington Woods GC). For Hanratty it marked the second straight year that he lost a Round of 32 match in extra holes.
In the Round of 16 Friedman faced a difficult challenge in four-seed Chris Ayers (Goodwin GC). Friedman took the lead one hole into the match and although Ayers pulled even on a number of occasions he never trailed closing out the match 2&1 with a par on the 17th hole.
“Unfortunately, about a week before the event began I injured my back again so I didn’t have too many expectations coming in,” said Friedman a quarterfinalist last year. “I just tried to play my game, not get too technical and it has served me well so far.”
Tomlinson made his way into the quarterfinals with a comfortable 5&4 win over Eric Bleile in the morning (EClub of Connecticut) and then had to grind it out in the afternoon against 12-seed Ben Carpenter (CC of Darien). Tomlinson got off to a quick start in the match winning three of the first four holes to grab a 3 up. Playing from behind right away Carpenter, a member of the Yale golf team, won the 5th and 8th holes to close the gap only to see Tomlinson extend the advantage back to 2 up with an eagle on the par-5 10th. Unfazed Carpenter continued to chip away finally tying the match with a birdie on the 15th and then again with a par on the 17th. Both players tied the 18th and headed back to the 1st tee for extra holes. In the playoff Tomlinson made quick work of Carpenter knocking his approach shot off the flagstick setting up the clinching birdie.
Defending champion Chris Fosdick (Wallingford CC) punched his ticket into the quarterfinals with a 2&1 win over 2015 Mid-Amateur winner Mike Kennedy (New Haven CC). Fosdick never trailed in the match closing it out with a par on No. 17.
Fosdick will take on Jackson Fretty (Greenwich CC) in the quarterfinals. The 10-seed easily handled John Abbot 6&4 in the morning and then grinded out a 2&1 win in the afternoon over 26-seed Tim Murphy (The Stanwich Club). Murphy took an early lead on the 4th hole and remained in front until Fretty, competing in his first Connecticut Amateur tied the match on the 9th.
The momentum of the match began to swing on the 10th when Fretty hit the green in two on the par-5 and got a conceded eagle. With the eagle Fretty took the lead for the first time in the match eventually closing it out 2&1.
“It turned into one of those matches where we were both just gutting out pars. I struck it really nicely but just couldn’t make any putts. Tim was getting it up and down from everywhere and started striking it nicely in the middle of the round and it turned into who was going to blink first,” said Fretty.
Three-seed Walker Lohrey (Tumble Brook CC) continued his run with a 3&2 victory over John Sawka (Ellington Ridge CC). Sawka led briefly at the beginning of the match but as the match wore on Lohrey kept the peddle to mettle pulling away with victories on the 14th and 15th holes to capture the tilt 3&2. Lohrey will face, 27-seed Drew Brennan, the highest remaining seed in the tournament.
Play will continue Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. with the quarterfinals followed by the semifinals in the afternoon. The week will conclude with the 36-hole championship match on Friday.