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    Tuesday, August 09, 2022

    Ex-Niantic resident Lepisto aces same hole in consecutive rounds

    Always appreciate readers reaching out with interesting golf stories.

    Here’s one from Bill Carr:

    His long-time buddy, Chuck Lepisto, recently recorded an ace in consecutive rounds on the same hole.

    Lepisto, who lives outside of Lancaster, Pa., but resided in Niantic for five years while working at the Millstone Power Station in Waterford in the 1990s, pulled off the feat playing at Conestoga Country Club.

    His lucky hole was the 15th.

    By the way, he’s 74 years old. He’s been playing golf for 50 years and never had an ace until last month.

    Twenty four is the average number of years a golfer plays before recording an ace, according to the PGA. So, guess you could say he was due.

    “I don’t think you ever give up hope, because, like a blind squirrel ... ” Lepisto said. “But my brother had a couple the last couple of years, and he’s four years younger, and we always kind of kid each other that I was going to catch up with him. I caught up to him fast.”

    His run of good luck started on a Monday in July.

    Lepisto, a 9-handicap, took out a six iron on the 147-yard hole. He hit a draw to the right edge of the green and watched the ball roll toward the pin. He lost track of it after that.

    “At my age, I can follow it in the air but when it hits the ground, it’s hard to pick up,” he said. “I had a young guy with me and he said, `I think it’s in.’ ”

    Once Lepisto drove up to the green, he received confirmation.

    “I was really happy,” Lepisto said. “I’m not a really demonstrative person, but I was definitely (happy). Some of my friends were more happy or excited physically than I was.”

    Two days later, he beat the odds again.

    The distance to the hole that day was 135 yards. So he pulled out a seven iron.

    “It was at the stick the whole way and dropped,” Lepisto said. “My playing partner, he thought it was in. I couldn’t see it land. He got his scope out and saw a divot three feet in front of the flag but didn’t see a ball.

    “We go up there and there it was. To me, it was like a dream the second one. Is this really real? Is this happening? … It just doesn’t happen.”

    As an added bonus, he finished that round three strokes under his age, firing a 71.

    “That was definitely a goal,” Lepisto said. “Hole-in-ones are serendipitous. But you can really have a goal of shooting your age. You’ve just got to hold it together for two nines. I finally did that. I was more proud of that than really a second hole-in-one.”

    His good fortune finally ran out. Good thing because his wallet took a big hit from buying rounds after his aces.

    A couple days later, he played that same hole and had a bogey.

    “I’m screwed on this hole for the rest of my life,” Lepisto told Carr.

    Lepisto, who grew up in southern New Hampshire, hasn’t had a chance to return to southeastern Connecticut in recent years. He remains in contact with Carr.

    He looks forward to visiting again someday.

    Saila crowned Elmridge champion

    Karl Saila of Westerly reached the Elmridge men’s club championship for the second straight year.

    This time, Saila emerged as the winner, scoring a convincing 9 and 8 win over Andrew MacMahon in the scheduled 36-hole final on Sunday.

    “I had a good day,” Saila said. “Definitely my driver and wedge play, those were both working for me. I was keeping my drives safe most of the time. My iron play and wedges, I was hitting the greens and ended up being pretty close to the pin.”

    Saila also played well last year but fell to 11-time champion Pete Stefanski.

    With Stefanski now a member at Stonington Country Club, Saila took charge in the final, holding a six-up lead after the morning 18 holes. He put the match away early.

    It is Saila’s first Elmridge title. He previously won a men’s club championship while a member at Winnapaug in Westerly.

    “Pete sent me an email to congratulate me,” Saila said. “I said, `Yeah, thanks for the congrats and thanks for leaving. I’m not sure if I would have won if you were still there.’ He’s a great guy. Didn’t like to see him go, but it provides an opportunity for me.”

    Now Saila will have bragging rights until next year’s competition.

    “It’s a goal of mine each year to win the club championship,” Saila said. “I’m competitive in that way.”

    In the first flight final, Mike Classey beat Bob Gebler, 1-up. Pete DiMaggio defeated Tony Chiaradio, 2 and 1, in the second flight.

    Short putts

    • The semifinals are set for the Shennecossett men’s club championship on Saturday. Mike Serio, the medalist in the qualifying round, will play defending champ Steve Chevalier while Dylan Grant will take on Mark Toscano. The winners will play for the championship on Sunday.

    Chevalier has won the men’s title four times, including two straight.

    • Paul and Steven Ferraro of Quinnatisset Country Club in Thompson captured the Connecticut State Golf Association’s Parent-Child Championship on Tuesday at Indian Hill Country Club in Newington. They combined to fire a 2-under 70 to win the title by one stroke.

    • Two golfers with local connections finished in the top 10 in the 88th Connecticut Open, which was held last week at New Haven Country Club. Former Old Lyme Country Club assistant pro Adam Rainuad, now at Country Club of New Canaan, tied for seventh with a three-round total of 2-under 208 (71-67-70) while Killingly High School graduate Fletcher Babcock, who plays out of Connecticut National, tied for 10th at even-par 210 (69-73-6).

    Peter Bello defended his title, winning by three strokes at 7-under 203 (70-67-66).

    • Mark Manley, Sr., who just started playing golf last year, recently recorded his first hole-in-one, accomplishing the feat at the 130-yard, No. 8 hole on the Elmridge Blue course. He used a five hybrid and Scott Jones witnessed the ace.

    • At Old Lyme Country Club, Michelle Abraham had a hole-in-one at the 110-yard, No. 3 hole, on July 18. She used an eight iron and Beth Sullivan of Old Lyme was her playing partner.

    • Waterford High School graduate Caroline Petchark competed in the Hartford Women’s Open last week at Keney Park Golf Course. She finished tied for 18th with a 36-hole total of 158 (80-78). Angela Garvin, a 20-year-old from Feeding Hills, Mass., won the title for the second time by sinking a birdie putt on the second playoff hole.

    • As of July 29, Dave Jones of Norwich is the leader in the 2022 Connecticut State Golf Association Dick Siderowf player of the year race. He has 815.13 points, with Bill Hermanson of East Lyme in second with 395.66 points.

    • The duo of Mike O’Brien and Brian Carroll combined to win a two-man scramble event held recently at River Ridge Golf Course in Griswold. They shot a 70 to take low gross honors. Mike Eisenhard and Myles Racine finished first in low net at 58.

    Upcoming events

    • The Pequot men’s club championship, a three-round competition, is underway. Round two and three will be played on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

    • The 37th Connecticut Public Links Championship will run Monday and Tuesday at Blackledge Country Club in Hebron. Local golfers in the field include: Thomas Butcher, Norwich; Tony Susi, Dave Jones and James Lawler, Mohegan Golf Club; James Lathrop, Pequot; Rob Tedoldi Jr., Connecticut National.

    • Norwich Golf Course men’s club championship begins on Saturday with the first of four rounds. Round two is Aug. 7, with round three and four on Aug. 13 and Aug. 14, respectively.

    Also at Norwich, the club’s annual senior invitational will tee off Thursday, Aug. 11.

    • Jeff and Chris DeLucia of Norwich, Austin Cilley of Lake of Isles, David Marshall of Quinnatisset, Bill Hermanson and Jim Ezold of Black Hall, Matt Fuller of Great Neck, Karl Saila and Robert Gebler of Elmridge, and Dave Jones and Tony Susi of Mohegan Golf Club will compete in the 82nd Four-Ball Championship on Aug. 11 at Wallingford Country Club.

    • Please send golf results, hole-in-one information, etc., to g.keefe@theday.com

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