Rob DiMattei's Magical Round at Fairview Farm. By John Torsiello.
Rob DiMattei’s recent round with his buddies at Harwinton’s Fairview Farm Golf Course began like so many others have.
“I thought my round was going to be another day at Fairview when I missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the second hole,” said the New Hartford resident. “Then I proceeded to eagle the third hole (a downhill, 525-yard par-five), had birdies on numbers 5 and 6, and missed another birdie putt on 7 that was under 10 feet. Not to worry, because I birdied 8 and almost holed out for a two on 9. I made the turn at 6-under-par and it could have been better.”
Okay, something special was happening, like a course low round.
“I had never broken 30 for nine holes and thought if I could just shoot even par on the back nine I would be happy,” said the former Division II All-America at Bryant University who grew up in Simsbury and began playing golf at the age of eight.
DiMattei, now 52-years-old and began playing regularly at Fairview Farm just this year, made pars on holes 10 through 13, not always an easy task at Fairview. He got red hot again and birdied holes 14 through 17 to get to 12-under.
“My putts just kept going in from various lengths but none of them were shorter than 10 feet. We were all amazed that they were going in as soon as the left my putter. I don't usually scare anyone with my putting but I am certainly not a bad putter. The whole group just kept saying `can they keep going in.’ Bill Durante also kept looking at the scorecard and remarked that he couldn't believe that I had only 3's and 4's on the card. He had never seen that.”
Ironically, Durante made a hole-in-one only a few weeks earlier playing in a member-member at Fairview on the same weekend that his brother, Mel, made an ace. Is there some magic going on with the Durantes and Fairview?
Said DiMattei, who plays to a 1.1 handicap index, “I came to that last tee and I looked up at my buddy Brad (Scott) and he said `Don't look at me, I'm just trying to stay out of your way!’ I said I'm 10-under and I don't want to be the guy who makes a 9 on the last hole.”
So, DiMattei stepped up on the 530-yard hole where the tee shot must thread through trees on both sides and land over a sunken area beyond a rock wall that and hit a good drive on the tricky finishing hole that landed just off the fairway. He went for the green in two and found the right bunker (“not the best decision”).
“I just wanted to get the ball on the green, make par and get out of Dodge. I hit the bunker shot and it almost went in, and ended up about six feet away for birdie. You should have heard the other three guys yelling for it to go in. I thought about not having a 5 on the card and ended up missing the birdie for 61.”
Still, DiMattei’s sterling 62, is believed to be the all-time low at Fairview, which has been open around a dozen years. Head pro Bob Sparks said he recalls a few 68’s and DiMattei said his buddy Mike Levandowski shot a 66 this year. DiMattei’s group played Fairview’s ‘White” tees, which measure 6,174 yards.
“Honestly, I'm happy I didn't make the 9 and had no bogies the entire day. I played one ball all day that I have to go along with the scorecard and had 24 putts for the round. The best shot had to be the second shot on the 9th hole that ended up within a foot for birdie.”
Durant, Scott and Levandowski are all fine golfers in their own rights. In fact, Levandowski shot a three-under-par 33 on the back nine for a 70, while Durante and Scott shot 76’s, meaning the foursome was a combined 6-under-par on their own golf balls.
DiMattei has played in a number of Connecticut state tournaments over the years, with his highlight being qualifying for the 1997 U.S. Amateur at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club near Chicago, IL, that was won by PGA Tour star Matt Kuchar.
“This is my first season at Fairview Farm. Nothing too spectacular was happening this season, except for winning the Ferrotti Cup at Stony Brook/Fairview Farms. I had a couple of good rounds and was happy learning the course. My buddy Brad, who I have been playing with for several years, kept saying that one of these days I was going to put it all together.”
That certainly happened on Aug. 30.