Montville's Palmer shoots his age at Norwich Golf Course

Something unusual happened during Mike Palmer's usual round of golf with his buddies.

Palmer shot his age while playing Norwich Golf Course late last month.

He's 75.

"It was a total fluke," said Palmer, who lives in Montville. "I just got lucky, that's all."

Fluke or not, Palmer's accomplishment is worth praising.

A Norwich member for about 20 years, he plays about two to three times a week and typically shoots in the mid-80s.

He became hooked on the game as a 25-year-old after registering a par in his first round at the old Trumbull Golf Course in Groton and made playing part of his regular routine once retiring from Millstone about 20 years ago.

Just last year, he had his first hole-in-one at the age of 74.

But he never expected to come close to his best score at Norwich, a 74, that he hit "many years ago."

Playing in the early morning on July 31, Palmer didn't pay attention to his score but knew he was playing well. His drives regularly found the fairway and approach shots landed and stayed on the greens.

Palmer remained focused on helping his foursome beat another group. Don Bodwell, Paul Romagna and Chris Fake were his playing partners.

"I never realized what I was shooting," Palmer said. "What we do is we have two separate foursomes and we play against each other. We keep more focused on who wins the hole rather than what the score was."

In fact, Palmer didn't find out until a couple of days later from his friends that he had shot his age.

Despite his impressive score, he still lost money in their friendly competition.

"I shot the 75 and still ended up paying two bucks," Palmer said with a hearty laugh. "I couldn't believe it."

Shooting his age was never a goal.

But now he's thinking it might be in a few years.

"The older you get, the higher you can score," said Palmer, who turns 76 in October. "Maybe when I hit 80, I'll do it."

Short putts

• Former UConn golfer and 2019 Norwich Invitational champion Nicklaus Harrington received some unexpected attention from a sports legend prior to competing in the U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club on Monday in North Carolina.

On his Twitter account, Jack Nicklaus highlighted a group in the field that included Jack Trent, William Love and Nicklaus Harrington.

Their combined first names spell: Jack William Nicklaus.

He pointed out that 60 years ago a 19-year-old Jack William Nicklaus got his name on the U.S. Amateur trophy.

Nicklaus tweeted last weekend: "I might have (my eyes) on this 'featured group' but wishing all the young men best of luck in the 119th US Amateur Championship!"

An all-state golfer during his high school days at Parish Hill in Chaplin, Harrington's first round was a bit of an adventure on Monday.

On the front nine, Harrington had two birdies, two bogeys and a triple bogey. He was more consistent on the back nine, recording six pars, two bogeys and birdie. Overall, he shot a 4-over 74.

The second round of stroke play is Tuesday.

• River Ridge Golf Course in Griswold recently completed its men's club championship. Mike Gasparino won the championship division with a two-round total of 156 (77-79) while Matt Bedard (83-79–162) took second. Bruce Lowry won the net division with a 145 (70-75), beating Brian Carroll on the second playoff hole.

Ken Deremiah captured the senior title and Marty Jacobson was the Callaway champion.

• Shennecossett Golf Course held its Championship Day on Sunday. Dwayne Thomas won the A Flight, defeating Rich Strickley, 2 and 1. In the B Flight, Art Trammel knocked off Juan Grisanty, 5 and 4.

• Mark Rousseau joined the hole-in-one club on Friday, pulling it off on the 143-yard second hole at Stonington Country Club. He used a nine iron. Witnesses were Paul Cerullo and Carl Reiser.

• Gabe Van Ness of Norwich Golf Course took the first round lead at last week's Connecticut State Golf Association's 34th Public Links Championship at Wintonbury Hills Golf Course in Bloomfield before settling for a tie for second place. Van Ness, 22, fired a two-round total of 3-under 137 (64-73), finishing two strokes behind first-time winner Peter Tomlinson (69-66–135) of Seymour.

Justin Beal and Michael Thompson of Fox Hopyard both finished in the top 15. Beal (72-71–143) tied  for 13th and Thompson (68-78–146) tied for 15th.

• Two local duos competed in the CSGA's 21st Father Son Net Tournament at Redding Country Club on July 30. Howard and Sam Tryon of Great Neck Country Club shot a 77 while Robert and Luke Teixeira finished with an 85.

Upcoming events

• Shuttle Meadow Country Club in Kensington is hosting the Connecticut Mid-Amateur for the first time. The two-day event runs Aug. 26-27.

Local golfers making the cut in a qualifying round at Norwich Golf Course on Monday include: medalist Brian Zito, Black Hall, 4-under 67; Steve Chevalier, Lake of Isles, 74; Michael Thompson, Fox Hopyard, 75; James Lawler, Mohegan Sun Golf Club, 75; Jeff Riley, Black Hall, 76; Tony Susi, Mohegan, 77; Nick Hedden, Connecticut National, 78.

• Both Great Neck Country Club in Waterford and Old Lyme Country Club will crown club champions on Monday, Sept. 2.

• Black Hall Club in Old Lyme will host the 74th Connecticut Senior Amateur Championship on Sept. 23-24.

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

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