Rege shakes jitters, Jones to capture first Shennecossett title

Mike Rege, left, stands on 16th green with wife Jackie after winning his first Shennecossett Golf Course men’s club championship Saturday. Rege beat fellow Fitch High School graduate Corey Jones 4 and 2. (Photo courtesy of Mike Rege)
Mike Rege, left, stands on 16th green with wife Jackie after winning his first Shennecossett Golf Course men’s club championship Saturday. Rege beat fellow Fitch High School graduate Corey Jones 4 and 2. (Photo courtesy of Mike Rege)

Mike Rege called from his summer "office" Friday afternoon.

Shennecossett Golf Course is where Rege spends as much time as he can during his break from his job teaching math at Cutler Middle School in Groton.

It also is where Rege captured his first men's club championship last weekend.

In a match between two first-time finalists, Rege rallied to defeat Corey Jones 4 and 2.

Jones talked about his match Friday while playing a round of golf with friends. He even briefly excused himself from the interview to hit a tee shot.

"It feels great," Rege said of his first title. "I knew I had the talent to win. But it's tough putting it all together. The club championship here is not like anything else with the match play system. There's so many good golfers here that anybody who makes the tournament could potentially win it. They just have to get hot at the right time.

"Corey beat some incredible golfers on his way to the finals. He had a fantastic run getting there."

Rege and Jones have known each other for years. Both golfers played at and graduated from Fitch High School.

A 2005 Fitch graduate, Rege helped out coach Glen Graham when Jones, a 2014 graduate, was playing for the Falcons.

Their friendship continued at Shennecossett.

"We've both been members here our whole lives," Rege said.

Rege, 31, is relatively new to the club championship scene at Shenny. He's competed in the tournament only three times and had never won a match until this year.

As he began to pile up wins during his championship run, he never looked beyond his next match.

"If you look too far ahead, then bad things happen," Rege said.

In the championship, Rege battled a case of the jitters early on and fell behind in the 36-hole final. He trailed by three holes at the end of the first round.

The deficit stood at four through 19 holes.

"Then I kind of turned it on and made all pars and a couple of birdies from there," Rege said. "And he didn't play his best. I just played my game. ... I played really well for the last 15 or 16 holes."

Rege's game is to play steady golf. Just hit fairways and greens. And maybe sneak in a few birdies. He also made a few good par saves.

Momentum quickly turned in Rege's favor.

He gained confidence from capturing three holes in a row — including No. 4, one of the most challenging holes on the course — by making par.

By the time the match completed its 27th hole, Rege held a two-hole lead.

"I won six holes on the front," Rege said. "I sunk a 15-foot for par on the nine that halved the hole. That was a big putt."

Jones played better on the back nine but the damage had been done. Rege put away the match on the 16th hole.

Now Rege's name goes up on the men's club championship board and he owns bragging rights at the course until next summer.

"That's my plan," Rege said asked if he'll attempt to defend his title next year.

It is the third straight year that Shennecossett has crowned a new men's club champion.

Short putts

• Jack Cannon celebrated another senior club championship victory at Stonington Country Club. Earlier this month, he beat Lance Hamilton to capture his fifth title. Cannon has won the event the last five times he's participated in it.

• This summer will be one that Chris DeLucia will remember for awhile. He added to his impressive list of golf accomplishments by winning his eighth Norwich Golf Course men's club championship. And he did it in dominating fashion, taking the rain-shortened 54-hole event by 18 strokes. He finished with a three-round total of 213 (73-70-70). Todd Lavoie was second with a 231 (73-80-78).

DeLucia scored a breakthrough win in the Norwich Invitational in July while also finishing second in the Rhode Island Stroke Play Championship and combining with his father, Paul, to tie for fifth in the CSGA 82nd Father Son Championship on Aug 20.

• The Great Neck Country Club in Waterford will hold its Championship Day on Monday. Caroline Petchark and Karen Anderson will play an 18-hole women's final, teeing off at 11:45 a.m. Anderson is a two-time club champion (2013, 2014) and achieved runner-up status in each of the last three years.

Petchark, who's from Waterford, has played well on the Connecticut Section PGA Junior Champions Tour this summer, ranking in the top 10 overall in girls' player of the year points. Last week, she placed fourth at the Jack Kelly Connecticut PGA Tournament of Champions, shooting a 160 (77-83) at Shennecossett Golf Course.

The men's club championship is down to its Final Four, with Tony Siragusa facing Matthew Shea in one semifinal and Andrew Cavasino and Tim Ververis squaring off in the other semifinal. Both matches  will go off on Saturday. Only Cavasino has reached the final before, making it in 2015 and 2017.

The 36-hole men's final will tee off at 7:30 a.m. on Monday.

• At Pequot Golf Club, Ronald Hantman recently edged out Richard Simonds by one stroke for the senior club championship. Hanton fired a two-round total of 9-over 149 (76-73) while Simonds shot a 150 (79-71).

On Tuesday, Kit Bryan added to her women's club championship total, riding a strong second round to her ninth title. She finished at 179 (95-84) to defeat Natalie Donath by six strokes. Donath shot a total of 185 (90-95).

• The Old Lyme Country Club men's championship will be decided on Monday. Bill Jacaruso is awaiting the winner of the semifinal match between Mitchell Etess and Rob Rabine. In the women's club championship, Vicky Winterer will meet Carolyn Daddona on Thursday.

• Bill Hermanson, an East Lyme resident and Black Hall Club member, turned in a strong performance at the 31st Connecticut Mid-Amateur Championship earlier this week at Richter Park Golf Course in Danbury. He tied for third place at 3-over 219 (72-72-75). Ben Conroy of New Haven Country Club won the event with a 6-under 210.

Rob Neaton of Black Hall tied for 14th at 12-over 228 (78-79-71).

Upcoming events

• Black Hall Club in Old Lyme is hosting the Connecticut PGA Assistants Championship on Tuesday. The one-day event covers 36 holes.

• Several local golfers are expected to compete in the 13th Tournament of Champions on Tuesday at Bull's Bridge Golf Club in South Kent. Hermanson will represent Black Hall while Steve Chevalier (Lake of Isles), Josh Cameron (Norwich Golf Course), Tony Siragusa (Great Neck), Jim O'Neill (Great Neck), Tim Haggerty (Great Neck), Justin Beal (Fox Hopyard), Anthony Semproni (Fox Hopyard) and Jack Gedney (Fox Hopyard) also are in the field.

• Please send golf results to g.keefe@theday.com

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