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Tom Brett of Tallwood Country Club overcame an early deficit, winning six of the final ten holes en-route to a 4 and 3 victory at the 11th Senior Match Play Championship. Brett was able to knock off Eugene Fabbri of Brooklawn Country Club in the final match, claiming his first CSGA championship title.
The Senior Match Play final was represented by a pair of players with unique ties to Brooklawn Country Club. Fabbri, a longtime member of the club, was hoping to become the first player in tournament history to win the Senior Match Play Championship on their home course. Brett, who plays his golf at Tallwood Country Club, was an Assistant Golf Professional at Brooklawn CC in the late 1980’s.
“It’s amazing because everything is the same as it was thirty years ago,” said Brett. “I have so many great memories of my time here and it was like a trip back in time for me.”
After making a pair of bogies on holes #2 and 4 in the 18-hole final, Brett quickly found himself 2 down to Fabbri. As he had done all week, he focused on putting the ball in fairway off the tee, and the strategy paid off. He would go on to win holes #6, 7, 8 and 10 to swing the match to a 2-up advantage. In that difficult stretch of holes, Brett didn’t miss a fairway and played them in a remarkable three under-par.
“I kept the ball in play, and that’s really the key out here to be able to get the ball into the right places on these greens,” said Brett. “The greens were so fast and so difficult that it was so important to be below the hole.”
The deficit would prove to be too much for Fabbri, as Brett would go on to birdie the 13th hole and an eventual 4 and 3 victory. For Brett, the victory marks his first CSGA major championship, but in his long amateur career, he has had his share of close calls and near misses. He advanced to the quarterfinals of the Connecticut Amateur in 2007, finished fifth at the Connecticut Mid-Amateur in 2013, and advanced to the semifinals in last year’s Senior Match Play Championship.
“It’s just crazy, it’s surreal. I still can’t believe it all came together and I’m standing here as the champion. Everything just came together for me, and to have my name on the trophy and to win my first event at Brooklawn is really special.”
Despite coming up short in the final match, it was a memorable week for Fabbri, who made a historic run at his home club that included knocking off Bruce Kraczkowsky (defending champion) and Richard Stevens (2007 Senior Amateur Champion).
“My putter was really working well all week, and that really served me well,” said Fabbri. “I was fortunate to be able to beat a lot of great opponents and it was a really great experience to make it this far.”
The CSGA returns to action on June 19 when it hosts the state’s best amateur golfers for the 115th playing of the Connecticut Amateur Championship. The tournament is being played at Tashua Knolls Golf Course, which will mark the first time the event will be played on a public golf course.
Tom Brett, Tallwood Country Club def. Eugene Fabbri, Brooklawn Country Club, 4 and 3
Eugene Fabbri, Brooklawn Country Club def. Bruce Kraczkowsky, Blue Fox Run Golf Course, 1 up
Tom Brett, Tallwood Country Club def. Dan Connell, Brooklawn Countr Club, 4 and 2