Black Hall duo put on a clinic in Pro-Assistant Championship

Odds favored a Black Hall Club duo making a strong run at winning the Connecticut Section PGA Pro-Assistant Championship on Tuesday.

The event was moved from Madison Country Club to Black Hall in Old Lyme, giving the local golfers home course advantage.

Black Hall also has a terrific talent pool to draw from, with pro Andrew Campbell and assistants Adam Rainaud, Matt Smith and Brian Quilter. It was a thoroughly entertaining and successful day for the quartet.

Campbell and Rainaud rolled to victory, firing a sizzling 7-under 64 to win by four strokes. They racked up seven birdies.

Rainaud, who recently earned an exemption to play in the PGA Tour's Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell in August, shot an impressive 66 with seven birdies on his own card.

It's the first time a Black Hall duo won the event since 2005 when Campbell and Kevin Cloud took first at The Club at River Oaks in Sherman.

"Adam is the best player in the section," Campbell said. "We're both very comfortable with the golf course, so that helps a lot. There's still a little pressure to perform."

Making the day even more enjoyable, all four Black Hall golfers played in the same foursome, something that never happens because of their hectic work schedules.

"It was a blast," Smith said. "It was the first time that the four of us got to play together, so that was pretty cool. ... (Adam and Andrew) put on a clinic. It was fun to watch."

Plus, they had a supportive gallery of Black Hall members following them around the course.

"It was a really fun day because we had about 30 members watching us," Campbell said.

Campbell ended up with two top 10 finishes, also combining with Quilter to tie for eighth place at 71. Kevin Shea and Gary Deep of Great Neck Country Club in Waterford also tied for eighth while the Lake of Isles duo of Jantzen Vargas and Peter Chwaliszewski deadlocked for fifth with a 70.

A former standout at Tourtellotte and the University of Hartford, Smith is a fairly new addition to the Black Hall staff. He worked with Jim West at Connecticut National Golf Club in Putnam and spent previous winters in Florida, competing in mini-tour events.

Smith, The Day's All-Area Golfer of the Year in 2007 and 2008, returned to the area earlier than usual this year when his father, Dale, passed away in February.

"It was time for a little change of pace," Smith said of landing at Black Hall. "It's good to end up here, that's for sure. I'm pretty lucky to be here."

"Matt is still getting comfortable here," Campbell said. "He's a great kid."

Short putts

• Norwich Free Academy graduate John Elliott qualified to play in the DICK Sporting Goods Open, a PGA Tour Champions event running this weekend at En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott, N.Y.

Elliott, who works at Shelter Harbor Golf Club in Charlestown, R.I., shot a 3-under 69 in Friday's opening round, registering an eagle, five birdies, four bogeys and eight pars, but was later disqualfied.

Elmridge Golf Course teaching pro Chris Hedden is rooting for his good friend.

"I'm pretty excited for John because he just qualified this week," Hedden said Friday.

An interesting fact about Elliott, who attended Central Connecticut State University: When Tiger Woods made his professional debut in 1996 at the Greater Milwaukee Open, Elliott was part of Woods' group.

• Would be fun to follow this foursome during a pre-Connecticut Senior Open practice round next week. Hedden plans on playing with his former Waterford High School teammates Dave Jones and Tony Susi along with Bill Hermanson of East Lyme in preparation for the two-day tournament that runs July 18-19 at Shennecossett Golf Course.

• Shennecossett pro Todd Goodhue says the course is in great shape. And business has been booming. "I think it's the best year," Goodhue said. "It was a very mild winter coupled with a good spring. The course has been busy."

Work has been done on the No. 13 green complex. While the green remains the same, the bunker was renovated.

"The bunker has been renovated to what it once was," Goodhue said. "It takes it back to where it was when Donald Ross designed the green in the 1920's."

Similar work was completed in the past two years on No. 10 and No. 11. The plan is to renovate No. 14 bunker next year.

• Ray Lathrop and Josh Cameron combined to win the gross division of the Norwich Golf Course's member-guest tournament on June 26. They finished with a 5-under 66. The father-son duo of Kevin and Patrick Shine took the net division with an 11-under 60. Stephen Gaboury and Tom Hardy captured the Callaway Division.

• Ron Hantman recently defeated John Curtiss to win the Stonington Cup at Stonington Country Club. In the women's final, Carole Erdman beat Mary Lou Andrias.

Upcoming events

• The 90th Norwich Invitational will tee off on Friday, July 15, and culminate with the champion being crowned two days later. Entry deadline is Wednesday.

• Nick Hedden of Great Neck Country Club and Alex Jenkins of Black Hall will play in the 87th New England Amateur on July 19-21 at Hartford Golf Club in West Hartford. Hedden shot a 76 and Jenkins fired a 74 in a qualifier on June 21 at Timberlin Golf Course to earn a spot in the main event.

• The Shennecossett men's club championship qualifier will tee off July 23-24. The champion will be crowned on Sunday, Aug. 7.

• Stonington Country Club will hold a Parent-Child, Grandparent-Grandchild tournament on July 24. Competitors can play either 18, nine or three holes.

• Several local golfers will be in the field of the 82nd Connecticut Open Championship set to run July 25-27 at Woodway Country Club in Darien. Qualifiers include: Kevin Riley and James Lathrop of Pequot Golf Club, Bobby Fox of Stonington CC, Keith Anthony of Fox Hopyard, Dave Jones of Mohegan Sun Country Club and Robert Taggart III of Lake of Isles.

• Please email any golf submissions to g.keefe@theday.com

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