West Hartford, Connecticut (June 17, 2021) – Nobody could have predicted the wildness that would transpire during the quarterfinals of the 119th Connecticut Amateur on Thursday morning at the Hartford Golf Club. Three of the four matches went to extra holes on a tense morning that saw a little bit of everything.
The first match of the day featured past champions Cody Paladino (Wampanoag CC) and Rick Dowling (EClub of Connecticut). Paladino, last year’s runner-up, played a solid front nine taking a 2 up lead at the turn as Dowling found some trouble during the opening nine. On the second nine Dowling wasted no time turning the match into an instant classic. The 2017 and 2019 Connecticut Amateur winner birdied the par-5 10th trimming the deficit to 1 down and then tied the match with a long birdie putt on the par-4 14th.
On the par-4 15th Paladino responded with a long birdie of his own to regain the lead only to give it back when he found some trouble on No. 16 setting Dowling up for a match tieing par. With the crowd growing around the match as members of Hartford GC made their way onto the course both players found the green on the par-3 17th setting up birdie tries. Paladino playing first from 25-feet above the hole stroked the putt confidently and as it rolled into the bottom of the cup for a birdie he let out an emphatic fist pump. When Dowling was unable to answer Paladino led 1 up heading to the final hole.
Off the tee, Paladino hit it into the right side bunker while Dowling found the fairway. Dowling was able to capitalize on the opening winning the hole with a par and sending the match to extra holes. Pars tied the 19th hole extending play to the 20th hole where the epic battle would be decided.
Both players found the fairway but Dowling found himself well back. Forced to take an extra club he landed in the greenside bunker. Sensing his moment Paladino knocked his approach to three feet. Needing to hole his bunker shot Dowling didn’t have any more magic left on this day as Paladino won the match in 20 holes.
Paladino will face Adam Friedman (Great River GC) who also needed 20 holes to win his match. Facing Peter Tomlinson (Orange Hills CC) the match seesawed back and forth. Friedman was 2 up at the turn but a birdie by Tomlinson on the 10th and then a victory on the 16th with a par squared the match. The players tied the 17th and 18th holes with pars pushing the match into extra holes. Tomlinson had an opportunity to win the match with a birdie on the 19th hole following a spectacular shot around a tree along the right side of the first fairway but the putt slipt by and play continued. On the 20th hole par was good enough to push Friedman through to his first Connecticut Amateur semifinal appearance.
The third match to go to extra holes was between two cinderella’s Walker Lohrey (Tumble Brook CC) and Drew Brennan (Ellington Ridge CC). Lohrey looked to be in control leading 4 up with four to play but as he struggled down the stretch Brennan was ready to take advantage winning each of the last four holes of regulation to force extra golf. Lohrey had a short birdie try on the 20th to win the match that slid by and then on the 21st hole with Lohrey in trouble Brennan put his second shot to 15-feet on the par-4 third hole to seal the deal.
Brennan, the highest remaining seed at No. 27, will have to face defending champion Chris Fosdick in the semifinals. Fosdick handled Jackson Fretty 7&6 finishing his match nearly two hours before any other match reached its conclusion.