Winning the Shennecossett title was especially sweet for Madden

Over a week removed from winning his first Shennecossett men's club championship, Andrew Madden is still relishing his victory.

"I'll probably be celebrating for the rest of my life on that one," Madden said.

It was a significant win for Madden for several reasons.

He lives in Warwick now, but grew up in the area and played golf at Wheeler High School in North Stonington and graduated from there in 1994. His family also has ties to Shennecossett Golf Course.

"It was a very special win because of the fact that I did grow up playing the course," Madden said. "My grandfather was a greenskeeper in the late '60's and early '70's. ... I have a lot of history with this golf course."

On top of that, Madden beat a tough competitor in defending champion Ken Wetmore, who was attempting to win a club-record fifth title overall. He rallied from a two-hole deficit after the morning round to post a 3-and-1 win, ending the match with a birdie on No. 17. The 36-hole final took place on Sunday, Aug. 11.

Madden also had some personal demons to conquer on the way to winning the title.

Two years ago, he managed to lose in the semifinals to Steve Chevalier despite holding a 3-up lead with three holes to play.

He experienced flashbacks of that stumble while clinging to a one-hole lead late in Sunday's second round.

"I was nervous," Madden said. "I was aware of my situation. I do have difficulty closing out matches."

Madden fought off any negative thoughts, hitting a great approach shot on the 17th. He drained a 10-foot birdie putt to end the match.

"I was very relieved to have the match over with," said Madden, who's been a member for the last four years.

During his club championship run, Madden beat two previous champions. He also defeated Chevalier, 2-up, in the semifinals on Aug. 10.

Madden had won two men's club championships at Fenner Hill Golf Club in Hope Valley, R.I., but never reached the Shenny men's final. He was the medalist in the qualifying round in 1999.

He was just trying to stay in the championship match after trailing Wetmore by two holes at the end of the first round.

"My mindset was just to hang tough and make the putts that I need to make and just hope for the best," Madden said. "I really wasn't expecting to catch him. I knew Kenny is a great player."

By the end of the sixth hole, Madden had tied the match.

Course conditions challenged the golfers on the back nine, as the wind picked up and greens became faster. Both players missed makeable putts.

Madden won the 10th and 13th holes to go 2-up and eventually finally put away Wetmore.

"It's been a rewarding experience," Madden said.

Short putts

• Stonington Country Club recently completed its club championship matches.

In the men's 36-hole event, Michael Hawley defended his title with an 8 and 7 win over Diederick van der Velde on Thursday in a rematch of the 2012 final. It was Hawley's fourth championship overall.

Patty van der Velde rallied to defeat defending champion Jeanne Tingo, 2 and 1, in the women's final on Sunday. She trailed by two holes heading into No. 12 before winning three straight holes to take the lead.

In the women's A Flight, Bonnie Battiston beat Mary Ellen McCarthy.

Other results on the men's side: Mac Smith over Len Battiston, A Flight; Rick Olisky over Keith Murphy, B Flight; Joe Basile over Walt Virginski, C Flight; Greg Park over Paul Delaney, D Flight.

• Bill Hermanson and Phil Perry, two former club champions and good friends, will battle for the Black Hall Club men's championship on Saturday when the final round tees off.

Through two rounds, Hermanson (74-74-148) holds a one-stroke lead over Perry (72-77-149).

Between the two, they've won a combined 29 men's club championships at Black Hall.

Hermanson last won the title in 2010 while Perry was victorious in 2007.

It's been a good month for Hermanson.

Hermanson and fellow Black Hall member Dick Diluzio tied for second at the 32nd Connecticut Senior Four-Ball Championship on Aug. 13 at The Farms Country Club in Wallingford.

They finished in a three-way tie for first at 3-under 69 but lost to Lou Stone of New Haven Country Club and Robert Barnes of The Course at Yale. Stone and Barnes won on the fourth playoff hole.

• Defending champion Laura Pirruccello captured the Black Hall women's club championship on Wednesday, beating Pat Ermler, 4 and 2.

• The 77th Connecticut State Golf Association Father & Son Championship on Thursday at Norwich Golf Course came down to a playoff. The Lake of Isles duo of Tom and Sean Hardiman birdied the first play-off hole to capture the title.

Chris and Paul DeLucia of Norwich and C.J. and Ryan Karbowicz of Farmington Woods finished in a tie for second place.

All three duos fired an even par 71 to force a playoff.

• Holly Rood recently captured the Pequot Golf Club women's club championship. She posted a two-round total of 179 (96-83) to win by eight strokes. Natalie Donath took second and Anne Marie Fleming was third.

In the net flight, Sandy Kress took first while Shirley McFadden placed second and Mary Fluet was third.

• Dave Bohara and Bill Hanley finished first in the Norwich Golf Course member-guest tournament on Aug. 11. They shot a 67. In the net division, Emmett Riley and Mike Connell placed first.

• Pam Wolejko used a seven iron to ace the 92-yard, 11th hole on Aug. 15 at River Ridge in Griswold. Witnesses were Karen Ciccone, Patty Stratos and Carole Cone.

• The Old Lyme Country Club Women's Golf Association recently honored 22 long-time members, including Janet Littlefield, with a dinner event. Littlefield joined the club in 1940, the year Gone with the Wind won an Academy Award for Best Picture and Franklin D. Roosevelt served as president.

In another event, the group held a "Penny-a-Putt" benefit tournament to support Connecticut Women's Golf Association's junior golf programs. Karen Danielson won with 15 putts.

• Tom Chambers, Andy Maercklein and his Maercklein's 15-year-old son, Noah, combined to win the low gross division with a 58 in the Catherine Kolnaski Golf Tournament to benefit the Groton Little League. The event was held earlier this month at Shennecossett in Groton.

Chambers, who is originally from Groton and played in the Groton Little League, now lives in Bangkok, Thailand. Noah aced the 12th hole.

Art Peluso and Marc Peluso, who coach baseball at Waterford and Fitch, respectively, combined with Jeff Beauchamp and Justin Hartley to win low net honors with a 53.

Upcoming events

• Lake of Isles in North Stonington is running its junior golf championship on Sunday on the North Course. Entry deadline is Thursday. Cost is $65 for 18 holes, $45 for nine holes. Format is individual medal play with tee times starting at 9 a.m. For more information, go to or call 888-475-3746.

The nine hole event is open to girls ages 10-13 and boys 10-12 while girls 14-17 and boys 13-17 can play in the 18-hole tournament.

• Black Hall Club is hosting the Connecticut Section PGA 51st Assistants Championship on Sept. 3.

Gavin Keefe covers local golf for The Day


Loading comments...
Hide Comments