DeLucia's course record 63 at Norwich was rather effortless

As a Norwich Golf Course member and pro shop employee, Chris DeLucia is familiar with the framed course record scorecards hanging on the wall.

There's one for the old course held by Ellsworth Chase Jr., who fired a 10-under 61. And one for the new course - it was modified in 1989 - shared by Jim Sowders and Kevin O'Connor, who both shot 64.

DeLucia never imagined that one day he'd earn a prominent spot there.

On Labor Day, the 23-year-old DeLucia played the round of his life, shooting an 8-under 63 to break the record.

"It was a pretty cool experience," DeLucia said. "It was just a normal day of golf that turned into something spectacular."

And he made it look relatively easy.

DeLucia recorded eight birdies and 10 pars. He hit 16 greens and only had to chip once all day. Most of his putts came from within eight feet.

"I'm not saying that a 63 was effortless," DeLucia said, "but it was about as effortless as it could be. It was just a really solid day."

After shooting a personal-best 65 twice, DeLucia figured that he was capable of reaching the record. He worked hard on his game during the summer and saw positive results.

But golf took a back set when DeLucia resumed graduate school at UConn. He's studying for his master's in student counseling and doing an internship in the guidance department at Killingly High School.

On Labor Day, he got together with friends - Mike Jurczik, Dave and Brett Bohara - for his first round in about three weeks.

"It just seemed to all click," said DeLucia who won his sixth straight men's club championship over the summer.

After opening with two pars, he started his birdie parade, rolling in a difficult 40-foot putt on the third hole and a short putt on the fourth. He also birdied sixth, eight and nine to stand at 5-under 31 at the turn.

"I probably played the harder holes well because the easier holes are one, two and five and I didn't birdie those," DeLucia said. "It was a weird front nine. Once I shot a 31 on the front I figured if I played pretty well on the back I had a chance to do something special."

DeLucia remained calm. His playing partners grew quieter with each passing hole. No one wanted to break DeLucia's rhythm.

If not for a missed two-foot birdie putt on No. 12, DeLucia's score would have been even lower. He rang up birdies on 14, 16 and 17 and then finished off his magical round with a four-foot par putt.

Afterward, his foursome had a subdued celebration back at the clubhouse.

DeLucia dropped off his scorecard Sunday at the pro shop so someone could frame it. He also played his first round since that record-setting day and shot a 72.

"I've been a member 10 years or so and I've seen the scorecards of the course record," said DeLucia, a St. Bernard School graduate. "I never really imagined that I'd ever do it."

Short putts

• Great Neck Country Club in Waterford crowned several club champions over the Labor Day weekend.

Pro Kevin Shea reports that the men's club championship match "was a good one, going 36 holes." Eric Bergstrom edged David Gaccione for the title.

In the women's championship, Sue Schmidtknecht added to her long list of wins by beating Susan Delpriore, ending the match on the 15th hole.

Nick Hedden is the junior club champion.

Some other results:

Phil Orenstein defeated Jim Stefanski to win the first flight championship.

Jim O'Neill beat Kevin O'Reilly for the senior club title. He also won Super Senior championship, knocking off Tom Bordner.

Rob Renehan was the men's players championship gross division winner while O'Neill took the net division.

Matthew Shea was the men's Stapleford champion while Schmidtknecht won the women's title.

In the four ball competition, Jim Epps and Mike Gruss combined to take first in the championship flight while O'Reilly and Tom Secchiaroli took the first flight.

Diane Smith and John Gunderman won the mixed team championship.

In women's association events, Eve Manthous (flight championship, President's Cup net division), Mary O'Reilly and Peg Rothen (four-ball), and Schmidtknecht (President's Cup gross division) also won titles.

Paula Santangelo and Tracy Shoor combined to capture the member-member tournament.

• Two first-time finalists met for the Black Hall men's club championship on Labor Day in Old Lyme. Ron Soccoli Jr. of Hamden defeated Scott Venditto of East Lyme, 5 and 4.

Venditto upset multiple club champion Bill Hermanson in the first round. Phil Perry, another previous winner, did not play this year.

• Nick Hedden of Waterford tied for eighth in the Jack Kelly Junior Tournament of Champions on Sept. 2 at Shennecossett Golf Course. He finished with a 7-over 78 in the Connecticut Section PGA junior tour's final event of the season. Francis Shields of East Lyme tied for 22nd with an 83.

Defending champion Billy Walthouse of Longmeadow, Mass., placed first with a sizzling 4-under 67.

• Hermanson and Dave Szewczul, two golfers with long and impressive resumes, made a good run at the 72nd CSGA Four-Ball Championship Aug. 30-31 at The Course at Yale. They finished just one shot out of a playoffs, tying for fifth overall with a 4-under 66.

Tony Susi and James Lawler, both of Mohegan Sun Country Club, tied for 13th at 69. Bill Ernst of Shennecossett and John Martello shot a 1-over 71, tying for 24th.

• Tw area golfers finished in the top 10 at the 50th Connecticut PGA Assistant Championship on Sept. 4 at Bull's Bridge Golf Club in South Kent. Darren Falk of Black Hall placed eighth with a 152 (76-76) while Casey Roan of Shennecossett tied for ninth with a 153 (76-77).

Upcoming events

• The annual Norwich/Shenny Challenge is Sunday at Shennecossett.

• The 81st Connecticut PGA Championship will be held Sept. 24-26 at Ellington Country Club.

• Black Hall is hosting the 51st Connecticut PGA Pro-Am Championship on Oct. 1. It is an 18 hole, four-ball stroke play event.

• The 27th Connecticut Public Links Championship is set for Oct. 1-2 at H. Smith Richardson Golf Course in Fairfield.


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