Ken Wetmore's collection of titles (five) distinguishes him at Shennecossett GC

Ken Wetmore is more comfortable playing golf than talking about his record-setting club championship accomplishment.

He remembers when both his father, James, and brother, Stephen, captured Shennecossett Golf Course men's club titles. James won his championship in 1986 and Stephen won three (1980, 1981, 1983).

Now Ken owns the club record after beating Mark LaPietra 4-and-3 for his fifth championship earlier this month. The club championship competition dates back to 1931.

It's all a bit overwhelming for the humble 53-year-old from Mystic.

"I was always kind of the runt (of the family) that didn't have quite the game that they did and never thought I'd get on the board, period," Wetmore said. "I ended being a medalist in 1990 and felt good about that.

"… I never thought I'd win it once."

Just as remarkable as his record five wins is the fact he won his titles over 21-year span. He claimed his first crown in 1993 and added others in 1995, 2005, 2012 and this summer. He passed three others with four apiece: E.F. Lauren (1941-44), Sumner Gordon (1952, 1958, 1961, 1962) and Ken Glenville (1970, 1972-74).

"It's kind of humbling," Wetmore said. "Shenny has a great history to it. There's a lot of great competition there. Winning it is always an accomplishment. Most anyone that makes the top flight can knock you off. You have to be on your game every step of the way and have a lot of good luck."

Wetmore needed to play well to beat LaPietra in the scheduled 36-hole final. He built a 3-up lead early in the second round before LaPietra rallied to win three straight holes and tie the match.

The momentum shifted back in Wetmore's favor on the second round's fifth hole, which he birdied. Then he made what he called a "miracle par" on the sixth hole, recovering a tee shot in the bunker to go 2-up.

"It was a big point in the match," Wetmore said. "Then I just settled in and played well from there on."

The victory was even sweeter because his brother served as his caddie. The two brothers basically grew up at Shenny. Stephen has been by his side for every championship match.

"I owe him a lot," Wetmore said. "It was certainly a special time with my brother out there."

Wetmore also thought of his father, who passed away in 1995, after setting the record.

"I can only think of how proud he would be and how happy he'd be that my brother and I have continued to enjoy our golf together and we have made such a great team and have had such success," Wetmore said. "I can see him up there smiling at us or more likely with his sarcastic grin saying, 'Kenny, I never saw this coming.' "

Short putts

Phil Perry and Bill Hermanson, two familiar playing partners and regular club championship match competitors, played for the Black Hall Club title on Sunday. Perry pulled out a 5-and-3 win and captured his eighth title.

Only Hermanson has won more men's championships at Black Hall.

Perry never trailed after the third hole of the two-round match but held just a 1-up lead heading into the second round. He increased his lead to 4-up through 27 holes before closing it out.

Winners in the other flights included: Robert Graham (first), Rich Paterson (second), Randy Clegg (third), Will Rodgers (fourth), Curtiss Clemens (fifth) and John Opeka (sixth).

Laura Pirruccello won her fourth straight women's club championship, beating Tori Langen 3-and-2.

Hermanson will face Brice Craven in the senior club championship and Graham will meet Bill Dibella for the super senior title.

•Both Jack Cannon and Patty van der Velde defended their respective Stonington Country Club senior club championships last weekend. Cannon beat Cal Ackley in the men's final and van der Velde defeated Lorraine Tiberii for the women's crown.

•Great Neck Country Club's Championship Day is on Monday. Eric Bergstrom, a two-time defending champion, will play Mark Toscano for the men's club championship. The 36-hole final tees off at 8 a.m.

Defending champion Karen Anderson plays Sue Schmidtknecht, another former champion, in the women's event starting at 11:45 a.m.

Rob Renehan and Tom Hurd meet in the men's senior club championship match. Hap Murano faces Jim Flannigan in the other senior event.

In the men's first flight final, Tim Haggerty plays Jim Ryder while Chris Reed and Ted Yagle meet in the second flight and John James takes on Sam Tryon in the third flight.

•Old Lyme Country Club also is holding its Championship Day on Monday. Defending champion Ken Sweitzer will face Mitch Etess, a former champion, for the men's title. Fran Sablone and Ed Thomas play for the club's senior championship.

In the women's 18-hole title match, Lori Polito will battle Paula Bingham.

•Hermanson teamed up with Dave Szewczul of Tunxis Plantation Country Club to tie for third at the Connecticut State Golf Association's 33rd Senior Four Ball Championship Monday at Fox Hopyard Golf Club in East Haddam. They shot a 2-under 69.

Two other local duos also finished in the top 10. James O'Neill and James O'Reilly tied for ninth with an even par 71, as did Renehan and Dave Gaccione. All four golfers are from Great Neck CC.

Robert Barnes and Peter Schuller, both from The Course of Yale, won the title with a 4-under 67.

•The foursome of Barbara Stacks (Essex), Ellen Wells (Old Lyme), Kasey Constable (Old Saybrook) and Deb English (Centerbrook) combined to win the Old Lyme Country Club Women's Association's Best Ball Tournament on Aug. 21.

Upcoming events

• The Jack Kelly PGA Junior Tournament of Champions returns to Shennecossett Golf Course in Groton on Sunday.

• Hermanson, Richard Wilczewski of Shennecossett, Steve Gambeski of Norwich Golf Course and James Lathrop of Pequot Golf Club will play in the CSGA's 9th Tournament of Champions Tuesday at Bull's Bridge Golf Club in South Kent.

• Chris Grieder, Frank Villazante and William Machnicki will represent the Mohegan Sun Country Club at the CSGA's 74th Four-Ball Championship Thursday at The Course at Yale. Hermanson, Ed Hilario of Norwich, John Bauman of Black Hall and Keith Anthony of Fox Hopyard also will be in the field.

• The Mohegan Sun Country Club will be the site of the 53rd PGA Pro-Am Championship on Oct. 6.

• The Lake of Isles Pro-Scratch Invitational, a two-day, 36-hole four-ball stroke play event, will be held Oct. 20-21.

Twitter: @GavinKeefe


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