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Semifinals Set: Szewczul Vs. Stone, Torza Vs. Zeid

Day two of the 7th Senior Match Play Championship, presented by Johnson Brunetti, concluded at Connecticut Golf Club with only four players left with a chance to capture the title. Dave Szewczul, Lou Stone, Bill Torza and David Zeid each won their respective quarterfinal matches to successfully advance to the semifinals.

Conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association, the Senior Match Play Championship is open to Connecticut senior golfers who are fifty five years of age and over by the start of the event. The tournament challenges competitors with a round of stroke play to determine the low sixteen match play qualifiers. Following the qualifying round, four rounds of match play are conducted over consecutive days, culminating in an eighteen-hole final match.

The final four is highlighted by the #1 seed and defending champion Dave Szewczul of Tunxis Plantation Country Club, who claimed medalist honors on Tuesday with a qualifying round of even par 72. Szewczul, a four-time CSGA Senior Player of the Year, dominated both his morning and afternoon matches. In the Round of 16, he defeated Dick Weigold, the 1974 Connecticut Amateur Champion from Torrington Country Club, by a margin of five and three. Szewczul then faced Philip Jay Vogel of Hartford Golf Club in the Quarterfinals and similar to his morning match, dominated from start to finish. He won four of the first seven holes and would hold on for an eventual five and three victory.

Szewczul will face Lou Stone of New Haven Country Club in the first semifinal match. Stone, the 2008 Senior Match Play Champion, won his morning match against Jim Ransford of Glastonbury Hills Country Club by a margin of five and four.  He went on to face Lou Mohn of Silver Spring CC in the afternoon, which proved to be one of the closest matches of the day. Stone jumped out to an early lead, taking a four up advantage to the twelfth hole. As is often the case in match play, momentum can be the difference. Mohn birdied the difficult par-3 13th hole, which jumpstarted an impressive run of four birdies in five holes to close the margin to just one down. However, a costly bogey on the par-4 18th hole by Mohn would be the difference, and Stone successfully advanced.

On the opposite side of the bracket, Bill Torza of Timberlin Golf Course successfully advanced after an impressive performance in both his morning and afternoon matches. Torza is in familiar terriroty, having captured the first Senior Match Play Championship here on the par-72, 6,435 yard Connecticut Golf Club. After firing a round of 78 in the stroke play qualifying round, Torza defeated John Brighenti of Simsbury Farms Golf Course in the Round of 16 by a margin of seven and six. He would go on to face Tom Scarrozzo, the 2008 Connecticut Mid-Amateur Champion from Blue Fox Run Golf Course. Although the final margin of three and one appears like a decisive victory on paper, it was far from easy for Torza. After carrying a five up lead through eleven holes, Scarrozzo would rally to win Holes #12, #13 and #14 to shrink the lead to two. However, it was Torza’s steady ball striking that proved to be too much for Scarrozzo to overcome, as a string of pars on the finishing stretch proved enough for the victory.

The final player to punch his ticket to the semifinals was David Zeid of New Haven Country Club. Zeid, who successfully qualified for the U.S. Senior Open in 2007, knocked off Tom Gorman of Topstone Golf Course in his morning match by a margin of four and two. Zeid went on to face Mark Vassalotti of Sterling Farms Golf Course in the afternoon, and despite winning three of the first four holes, found himself only one up with two holes to play. However, Vassolitti, who was first to play on #17, hit a poor tee shot which led to a double bogey six and a victory for Zeid. As Zeid looks ahead to tomorrow’s match against Bill Torza, his dominance of the par-5’s will no doubt play a role in the outcome. Zeid has played the par 5’s in a total of two under par, while Torza has played them in six over par.

The Senior Match Play Championship concludes tomorrow, June 6th, with the Semifinal matches beginning at 8am, followed by the Final match in the afternoon. For more information and Live Scoring, visit CTSRMatchPlay.com.