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EBAC Retirees League produces some magnificent results

You never know what's going to happen during a round of golf.

That's just one thing that makes a day on the course so enjoyable.

For example, take what transpired last week during the Electric Boat Athletic Club Retirees Golf League's weekly match at Shennecossett Golf Course in Groton.

Brian Campbell scored a hole-in-one on the 12th hole. It was his first ace.

Niantic resident Bill Thayer, the oldest player in the league at 88, shot under his age, notching an 82. A few weeks ago, he had an 88, showing that he's gotten better with age.

And Patrick Larkin's wedge shot from 90 yards out on the 18th hole found the bottom of the cup for the first eagle in the league this summer.

"That was surprising," said Gordon Gillaspie, commissioner of the EBAC Retirees Golf League, of the three accomplishments in one league match. "All the stars were aligned, or something like that."

It was even more impressive when you consider that the 20 league players range in age from 66 to 88.

Gillaspie, a Salem resident, has been playing golf for 68 years, two years longer than the youngest golfer in the league has been alive. He'll turn 80 this year. He jokes that someday his age might catch up with his score.

"My game is not very good," said Gillaspie whose career highlight is qualifying to compete in the New Jersey state caddy championships as a 14-year-old. "But we played yesterday. It was pretty hot. I've been playing golf for 68 years. I'm still lucky to break 100."

The EBAC Retirees Golf League tees off every Wednesday from early June to mid-September, with participants playing 18 holes. In the fall, many players return to Florida until returning to Connecticut in the spring.

It's all about having fun and enjoying each other's company.

"It's not cutthroat," Gillaspie said. "It's pretty laid back. We made some rules to really make it easy for old guys like me. I've been retired for 18 years now, so I've been around awhile."

Gillaspie stays in the area year-round and continues to golf after league play ends until the temperature drops below 50 degrees.

This is Gillaspie's last year as commissioner after about a 13-year run. He's turning the job over Larkin.

"He's a young guy, 65 or 66," Gillaspie said with a laugh.

Gillaspie enjoys his weekly outings with his fellow EB retirees. He added that a lot of the players are hitting from the forward tees.

"It's really a hidden gem," Gillaspie said. "The Electric Boat Athletic Club, they pay part of greens fees, which is nice. We have reserved tee times. This has been going on for years. This league, I think, probably started in the 50s or 60s."

Short putts

• Shennecossett Golf Course will host the Connecticut Senior Open for the 24th straight year. The two day event runs Monday and Tuesday. Pro Todd Goodhue and his staff, including superintendent Eric Morrison, always do a terrific job preparing the course and hosting the tournament.

Local golfers in the field include Archie Cart of Old Saybrook, Mitchell Etess of Old Lyme, Chris Grimsey of Uncasville, Chris Hedden of Waterford, Bill Hermanson of East Lyme, Dave Jones of Norwich, NFA graduate John Elliott, Jim Lathrop of North Stonington, Philip Krick and Michael Myszkowski of Groton, Tony Susi of Gales Ferry, Mark Toscano of Westerly and Howard Tryon of Niantic.

James Becker of Bloomfield is the defending champ, winning his third Connecticut Senior Open title in 2020. Jones captured the amateur crown for the third time last year. Elliott, who won the title in 2017, tied for fifth overall.

• Jones, a Mohegan Sun Golf Club member, continues to enjoy success in the CSGA One Day Tournament events. He earned his fourth win on Monday, finishing first in the Siderowf Senior Division (55 and over) at Simsbury Farms Golf Course.

Hollis Barry, a lifelong golfer with a 16.5 handicap, scored her first hole-in-one last week at Old Lyme Country Club. She aced the third hole during league play on Thursday, landing her drive on the green and watching it roll into the cup.

As the co-chairperson of the club's women's golf league, Barry, who's from Essex, advocates a women's league that fosters friendship and promotes golf "as a relaxing and fun activity for all levels of players" as well as "encourages healthy competition and the learning of all aspects of the game."

• Also joining the hole-in-one club was Tom Poblete, who aced the third hole at Great Neck Country Club in Waterford in early June. John Reeder accomplished the feat on the 14th hole in mid-May.

• The 13th Annual Ledyard High School Athletics Golf Tournament had a big turnout on Monday on the South Course at Lake of Isles. The foursome of Shane Edgley, Chris Thomson, Bryan Farrell and Bill Seddon finished first at 14-under. Bill Glenney, Tim Creutz, Bob Creutz and Matt Lame combined for second at 12-under.

Connie Clabby won the closest to the pin competition while the longest drive winners were Scott Chiasson for men and Ellen Mahoney for women.

• The duo of Arnold Alina and Jeff Cornell combined to win the gross division with a 68 at the Norwich Golf Course's Member-Guest tournament on June 27. Mike and Mark Law captured the net division with a 62.

Pat McGuire and Derek Vacca finished first in the men's division of the Stonington Country Club Member-Member event last month. Lisa Thomasco and Carole Erdman won the women's division.

Upcoming events

• The 95th Norwich Invitational, the marquee local tournament of the summer, will run July 16-18 at Norwich Golf Course. Registration will close on July 14, or when the field is full. For more information, call the pro shop at 889-6973.

• Qualifying for the Shennecossett Golf Course men's club championship begins on the weekend of July 24-25.

• The 87th Connecticut Open runs from July 26-28 at the Country Club of Darien. Max Theodorakis is the defending champion. Former Black Hall Club assistant pro Adam Rainaud, now the head pro at Country Club of New Canaan, also is in the field. He won the event in 2016.

• Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield will host the 3rd U.S. Senior Women's Open Championship from July 29 through Aug. 1. Tickets can be purchased at usseniorwomensopen.com

g.keefe@theday.com

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