Dave Szewczul added another Senior Match Play title to his collection.
Coming back from two holes down in the championship match against Mark Vassalotti, Szewczul won his fifth CSGA Senior Match Play Championship with a 2-up victory against Vassalotti at Innis Arden Golf Club in Greenwich on Wednesday. The win at the 14th Senior Match Play Championship assured Szewczul of TPC River Highlands another Senior Player of the Year title.
“My back was tired today,” the 66-year-old Szewczul told the CSGA. “It’s been a lot of golf, with COVID and the tournaments pushed together, you don’t get the time to relax that you normally do. So I’m a little tired, a little mentally fatigued I think. But you know I hung in there. I kept playing it shot by shot. That’s all you can do. I told myself anything can happen.”
For the man who has won every amateur title there is to win in Connecticut golf, most multiple times, his comeback started with a chip-in birdie on the uphill, par-3 10th hole. He sank a birdie putt from the rough on the par-4 12th hole and parred the par-4 13th, where he went 1-up for the first time.
On the long downhill, par-4 15th hole, with the wind blowing hard, he played safely to the left of the green and won when Vassalotti found the water fronting the green. When Szewczul hit a nearly perfect hybrid directly over the pin to 15 feet on the 190-yard, water-hugging 16th, his lead was nearly insurmountable.
It was Szewczul’s third senior title of the year. He also won the Super Senior at Longshore in July and the New England Super Senior in New Hampshire in September. For Vassalotti, of Sterling Farms Golf Club, it was a different kind of victory.
“I’m just happy to be standing here,” he told Szewczul when it was over. “I haven’t played for six weeks, so just to be here and playing is great.”
In the morning, Vassalotti won his semifinal match against Paul Fitzsimmons of Brooklawn, 2-up.
For most of the semifinal match between Szewczul and 2018 Match Play Champion Pat McGuiness, it was closer. Again, Szewczul came from two down to square the match at the par-5 11th. He won the uphill 12th with a par, the short par-4 14th with a birdie and the 15th with a par, making a downhill 8-footer after McGuiness had salvaged a post-water-shot bogey. They tied the long par-3 16th and suddenly it was over.
Said a tired champion after his fifth round of the week, commuting from Farmington for three days to play: “I didn’t have my ‘A’ game today. But you tell yourself to hang in there. No lead is insurmountable. It worked out. And I’m happy, because it feels like I’m back.”
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