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    Sunday, September 25, 2022

    Cavasino captures Great Neck club championship in dramatic fashion, Sweitzer wins OLCC title

    When Andrew Cavasino drained a Great Neck men’s club championship clinching putt on the second extra hole on Sunday, he felt relieved.

    It took 38 holes to finally shake Colin Kupfer.

    “That was just pure relief,” Cavasino said. “I wouldn’t even say there was a lot of joy in it. It took a few hours for the joy to set in.”

    Cavasino won his second club championship – the other came in 2018 – in his fourth appearance in the final match.

    He had to survive a tough semifinal match against seven-time club champion Eric Bergstrom on Saturday to get a shot at the title.

    “It was tight the whole way,” Cavasino said. “It went down to the 18th hole. I want to say we both shot 70, 71. I was 1 up going into 18 and we both made par, so I closed him out. That was a very big hurdle to clear.”

    Cavasino remembered that he also beat Bergstrom in the 2015 semifinals but lost in the championship. He wanted to avoid a repeat.

    “That was a strong motivator,” Cavasino said.

    The championship match featured two former high school golfers – Cavasino a 2007 Waterford graduate and Kupfer a Tolland graduate – who earned all-state honors the same year.

    After the first round, Cavasino trailed by two holes.

    “I felt I was hitting the ball well but nothing had clicked yet,” Cavasino said. “Colin made three birdies on the last six holes of the back nine to pull away.”

    Cavasino regrouped during the break and battled back to tie Kupfer by winning the 5th and 7th holes.

    “From there, it was a back and forth battle,” Cavasino said.

    Kupfer responded and regained a two-hole lead. But Cavasino won No. 13 and No. 15, birdied No. 17 to go 1 up and then watched Kupfer win No. 18 to force the playoff.

    On the second extra hole, Cavasino finally outlasted Kupfer.

    “Colin had maybe eight feet for par and I had maybe seven,” Cavasino said. “His just lipped out and mine went in, and that was it.”

    Over the summer months, Cavasino competed in a few Connecticut State Golf Association tournaments, qualifying for both the state amateur and state mid-amateur. He wasn’t particularly pleased with his results.

    He certainly was happy with his Great Neck club championship victory.

    “This is the one I wanted to win,” he said.

    Sweitzer wins Old Lyme club championship

    Ken Sweitzer has been making memories on the golf course this year.

    He went on a fun trip with his son Sam, playing golf in Hawaii and California. He shot an 80 at the famed Pebble Beach.

    “We went to some pretty cool places,” Sweitzer said. “I wanted to go to places on TV. It was great.”

    He also traveled to Ireland with a good friend in July, playing at Lahinch and Waterville.

    “It was incredible,” he said.

    Closer to home, Sweitzer, 62, added to his list of memorable golf moments by winning his fifth Old Lyme Country Club men’s title on Monday.

    It was one of his most satisfying wins in club championship play.

    “The field this year was the best ever,” said Sweitzer, who’s from Old Lyme. “It’s just getting better. This one means more because I won the first four and then I haven’t won for four years. Now, I’m back in it.”

    Sweitzer credits the terrific condition of the course and a growing membership as reasons for the quality field.

    On the way to his eighth appearance in the finals, he didn’t have to contend with friendly rival and defending champion Mitchell Etess who was knocked out earlier in the tournament.

    Sweitzer met Chris Lawrence, a former champion, in the 18-hole championship match.

    After a back-and-forth front nine, Sweitzer seized control. With a 1-up lead, he won three straight holes – 13, 14 and 15 – to clinch a 4 and 3 victory.

    “It was interesting,” Sweitzer said of his late charge. “My family showed up and then I settled down. I don’t know why. But I was just pushing a little bit too much instead of just playing the game.”

    Sweitzer plans to play in a state event for the first time in years. He signed up for the Connecticut State Golf Association One Day tournament on Monday at Shennecossett Golf Course in Groton.

    A member of UConn football’s 100th Anniversary All-Time Team, Sweitzer closely follows the Huskies. He’s optimistic about the program’s direction with coach Jim Mora in charge.

    “I’ve been viewing it from afar and I have talked to a few people who are at practice and other things and they think the culture is really good,” Sweitzer said. “

    Short putts

    Great Neck Country Club in Waterford held its Championship Day on Sunday, a day earlier than usual due to the rainy weather in the Labor Day forecast.

    Karen Anderson of Old Saybrook repeated as women’s club champion, closing out two-time champion Caroline Petchark on the 17th hole. She stretched her impressive streak of championship match trips to 10 straight years. She’s won the tournament five times overall.

    In the senior men’s club championship, Rob Renehan defeated Jim Stefanski for his second straight title and fourth overall. Defending champion Nick Hynes won the junior club championship.

    Phil Orenstein won the First Flight, with Kevin Willoughby earning runner-up status. Jim Ryder III was the Second Flight winner and Casey O’Neill took the Third Flight.

    In Norwich Golf Course news, work will begin on a bridge project near the ninth and 10th holes sometime in the next few months.

    “After the par three on 9 when you come down the hill, that whole bridge area is getting completely redone,” pro Mike Svab said. “We have a new 55-to-60 foot bridge going in. We’re just starting the permitting process. … We’re hoping if all goes perfect we can have the new bridge in for next year, but it looks like it might be the middle of next year.

    “That’s going to be a nice new project. When you’re standing on the ninth green, you’ll be able to see the 10th tee. When you’re standing on the 10th tee, you’ll be able to look down and see the guys putting. Now you can’t see anything.”

    Dave Jones of Mohegan Sun Golf Club fired a 1-under 71 to tie Will Morris for first in the CSGA One Day Siderowf Tournament on Thursday at Suffield Country Club. His round included six birdies and five bogeys.

    This is the final golf column of the season. Thanks for following along.

    You can continue to send golf results to g.keefe@theday.com for publication in the sports section.

    Upcoming events

    Bulls Bridge Golf Club in South Kent will be the site of the CSGA’s 17th Tournament of Champions on Thursday. Mike Serio and Dennis Bongiovanni of Shennecossett, Bill Hermanson of Black Hall Club and Tony Susi of Mohegan Sun Golf Club will be in the field.

    Shennecossett will host a CSGA one day event on Monday.

    Norwich Golf Course’s member-member tournament tees off on Sept. 18.

    Country Club of Waterbury will host the 77th Connecticut Senior Amateur on Oct. 3 and Oct. 4.

    The Connecticut Section PGA Championship tees off Oct. 4 at Shuttle Meadow Country Club in Kensington.

    The Mohegan Sun Golf Club in Baltic will host the PGA Pro-Veteran tournament on Oct. 19.

    g.keefe@theday.com

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