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Rick Dowling Aims for Three-Peat at 36th Connecticut Mid-Amateur

Rick Dowling won his second consecutive Connecticut Mid-Amateur last year at the Country Club of New Canaan.

(August 22, 2023) – The 36th Connecticut Mid-Amateur will be played on August 29-30 at the Country Club of Farmington where Rick Dowling will be looking to win his third consecutive title.

“We enjoy having a strong relationship with the CSGA and are happy to host events for the organization,” CC of Farmington head professional Jeremy Vitkauskas said. “It is also interesting to see how golfers react to playing our course since they do not see it on a daily basis. Our membership has been a big supporter of CSGA events and enjoy seeing how well the course holds up.”

Established in 1892, the CC of Farmington is a regular host of CSGA events, most recently welcoming a One Day Tournament in May. Also, in May the club hosted the Connecticut PGA Championship won by Andy Svoboda with a two-day score of 5-under-par.

Designed by Devereux Emmet the par-71 6,550-yard layout will require players to be precise off the tee and on approach shots into the newly expanded greens. “Our greens have been expanded and make you think about what type of shot you want to play in and around the greens,” explained Vitkauskas. “It also gives players the option to play different shots into greens and off the tee as well.”

This year’s field of challengers will include two-time defending champion Rick Dowling along with seven other past champions.

“I’ve approached my (preparation for the Connecticut Mid-Amateur) as I have any other event. It is just a great opportunity to compete with all the great mid-am’s and some great friends,” said Rick Dowling who won his third Connecticut Amateur in June. “The tournament is usually a nice sweet spot in the summer schedule where we all have had the opportunity to get our competitive reps in and get into good form.”

That form will be tested down the stretch at the CC of Farmington which boosts one of the more difficult closing stretches in the area.

“Holes 13-18 are among the toughest holes in the state of Connecticut, you have to navigate that stretch to protect your score,” Vitkauskas said. “You have to hit an array of shots coming home. Your approach shots have to be precise and you have a tendency to get tired late in the round and not swing as free and comfortable especially when you are trying to put a number on the board and get in the clubhouse.”

Potentially the most difficult hole of the closing stretch is the downhill 209-yard par-3 18th hole.

“I haven’t played the CC of Farmington yet but I’ve heard the 18th hole often plays host to some late-round drama as it demands a well-placed long iron,” said Dowling. “So, that’s a number I’ll probably work on heading into the event.

Players begin the final hole perched atop an elevated tee box with the clubhouse and pro shop in view and the green cut into the base of a hill down below. A long iron shot is required into the green and anything to the left, right, or long of the green is trouble. Once players find the putting surface they will have to navigate a two-tiered green.

The 36th Connecticut Mid-Amateur will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 29. Following the completion of the first round the field will be cut to the top-36 and ties. Day two will feature the second round in the morning followed by the final round in the afternoon.

Tee Times

 Notes on the Field:

Number of Players: 98

Past Champions (7): Rick Dowling (2021, 2022), Ben Conroy (2018, 2020), Ben Day (2019), Mike Kennedy (2017), Chet Hrostek (2015), Ray Floyd, Jr. (2011), Bill Hermanson (1990-1993, 2001)

Players to Watch:

Shane Bacon (Brooklawn CC): The well-known golf media personality will be competing in the Connecticut Mid-Amateur just a couple of weeks after playing in the 123rd U.S. Amateur.

 Ben Conroy (New Haven CC): The two-time Connecticut Mid-Amateur winner will be looking for a third mid-amateur title at the CC of Farmington. Recently Conroy qualified for next month’s U.S. Mid-Amateur and in June he reached match play at the Connecticut Amateur.

Ben Day (New Haven CC): The 2019 Connecticut Mid-Amateur champion and 2015 Russell C. Palmer Cup winner made a run last year at the mid-amateur title finishing fourth. In June Day reached the Round of 16 at the Connecticut Amateur.

Rick Dowling (Golf Performance Center): The two-time defending champion won his third Connecticut Amateur title in June.

Anthony Guerrera (Watertown GC): It has been an impressive year for Guerrera in CSGA events. He started his year with a victory at the Two Man Championship and then backed that up with a win at the Russell C. Palmer Cup.

Cody Paladino (Hartford GC): Fresh off of competing in his third U.S. Amateur Paladino returns to CSGA play looking for another strong showing. In June he was the runner-up at the Connecticut Amateur and in July he was the low amateur at the Connecticut Open for a second straight year. Last year at the Connecticut Mid-Amateur he finished second, the year before he was T2, and in 2020 he lost in a playoff.

About the Connecticut State Golf Association

The Connecticut Mid-Amateur is one of 20 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.

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