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Happy, healthy Stefanski wins 10th Elmridge GC men's title

Pete Stefanski celebrated two victories on Sunday: His Elmridge Golf Course men's club championship record-extending 10th title ... and his good health.

A year removed from suffering a heart attack at home after winning his championship match, Stefanski added another title to his long list of golf accomplishments.

Stefanski, a 63-year-old Westerly resident, won in convincing fashion, beating first-time finalist Pat Whiston, 11 and 10, to put an early end to the scheduled 36-hole match.

It was his seventh title in the last eight years and fourth straight.

"I played very well," Stefanski said. "I've been playing quite a bit this year. This is the first year that (Whiston) is a member at Elmridge but I knew him before that. He's a very good golfer. He just didn't have his best day."

More importantly, Stefanski felt good despite playing on a hot, uncomfortable day.

"With the hot and humid temperatures, I was a little concerned," Stefanski said. "But we're taking a golf cart and I kept hydrated, so it wasn't too bad."

Stefanski has focused on his health since his heart attack.

"I've been doing a lot of exercising and trying to keep in halfway decent shape," Stefanski said. "A lot more attention to that than I had been paying. It was not expected, so it was a shock.

"But, that happens."

Stefanski's golf game is certainly in good shape.

He started slowly Sunday, trailing by two through the first five holes before settling into a nice groove. He won the first five holes on the back nine to take command.

He fired 1-under 71 in the morning round, recording four birdies to give him a comfortable 6-up lead.

With momentum on his side, Stefanski continued his surge in the afternoon round. He had seven pars and a birdie in the first eight holes to seal the win.

"I was pretty consistent," Stefanski said. "My putting was pretty good. I just made a lot of three or four footers."

It will be difficult to top what Stefanski has accomplished at Elmridge.

He's dominated both the men's club championship and senior club championship, racking up another title in the latter earlier this summer.

And what does winning a 10th men's club championship mean to him?

"It means I'm old," Stefanski said.

Stefanski's toughest match during came in the semifinals against Paul Sainsbury. He shot a 2-under 70 but didn't close out the victory until the 17th hole. Sainsbury fired a 73.

"It was a very good match," Stefanski said.

Stefanski is grateful that he's been able to play so much golf during the coronavirus pandemic, which has shut down or limited so many other activities.

"We're very fortunate that Elmridge has been open throughout the pandemic," he said. "It's a good outlet to still be able to go play. The golf course has taken a number of precautions and followed the regulations."

Champions were crowned in other flights last weekend.

Joe Pratt defeated John Bavasso in the first flight while Anthony Medeiros knocked off Gary Sicard in the second flight and Steve Prachniak beat Kris Falcone in the third flight title match.

Short putts

• Take a bow, Tim Sisk.

Sisk, a Shennecossett Golf Course pro shop employee and all-around good guy, was selected as the winner of the Eric Morrison Medal at the Connecticut Senior Open earlier this month. The award, which is named after Shennecossett's superintendent, is given to the person who "truly emulates the spirit of the Connecticut Senior Open and works tirelessly to make it happen."

Sisk is part of the indispensable crew of volunteers that help make the Connecticut Senior Open run smoothly every summer.

Shennecossett is like a second home to Sisk, a retired teacher and former Wheeler High School golf coach. He's thankful to be working with pro Todd Goodhue. He added that Morrison "does a phenomenal job here."

"I've been playing golf for 58 years now," Sisk said. "I was surprised because there's so many deserving individuals and they selected me, which really is an honor. I'm thrilled and I'm thankful that people think about me positively. It could be worse."

• Lake of Isles in North Stonington recently held its club championship matches. Kevin Cole captured the men's title and Linda Drago was the women's champ. In the senior competition, Bill Konturas and Deb Kohl won their respective titles.

• You won't find too many more successful duos in the state than Bill Hermanson and Dave Szewczul.

They combined to win yet another tournament, capturing the 39th Senior Four Ball Championship on July 21 at Wintonbury Hills Golf Club in Bloomfield. They rolled in a birdie on the third playoff hole to secure the victory.

Hermanson, a long-time member of Black Hall Club in Old Lyme, and Szewczul of TPC River Highlands finished at 7-under 63, outlasting Rick Nappi and James Kulacz.

Dave Jones and James Lawler, who belong to Mohegan Sun Golf Club, placed third at 5-under 65.

• Impressive showing by Waterford High School graduate Caroline Petchark, who tied for fifth at the 55th Connecticut Women's Amateur Championship last week at Fairview Farm Golf Course in Harwinton. Petchark, who plays out of Great Neck Country Club in Waterford, had a two-round total of 159 (81-78). She tied for second in the women's amateur open division.

Max Caron won the Norwich Golf Course junior club championship earlier this month. He shot a two-round total of 170 (86-84).

Upcoming events

• Second round action in the Pequot men's club championship tees off on Saturday, with the third and final round on Sunday.

• Qualifying rounds for the Shennecossett men's club championship will tee off Saturday and Sunday. The event will culminate with the championship final on Sunday, Aug. 16.

• Stonington Country Club will hold its club championship events on the weekend of Aug 7-9.

• Ridgewood Country Club in Danbury will host the 86th Connecticut Open starting on Monday. Former Black Hall Club assistant pro Adam Rainaud, who's now at Country Club of New Canaan, is one of the contenders. Other golfers with local ties in the field include Hermanson and Corey Jones of Shennecossett.

• The Norwich Golf Course senior invitational is set for Thursday, Aug. 13, featuring three flights of competition.

• Please send golf results and items of interest to g.keefe@theday.com

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