TCC Set to Host It’s Fourth Men’s Connecticut Open.
By, JOHN TORSIELLO
Torrington Country Club will host its fourth men’s Connecticut Open June 19-21, and the layout looked like it was ready for tournament play Monday as the club held its media day for the upcoming event. The championship will be the first one ever held on a weekend by the CSGA.
“We are thrilled to have the event back here,” said head golf professional Glenn Carlson. “It has been a tough spring weather wise, but the course came through well and should be perfect for the tournament.” Mike Morgahan, President of the CSGA, presided over the day’s proceedings, which included a pro-member tournament following lunch at the Goshen club.
“We are very excited to be able to showcase our great course and clubhouse and are looking forward to the challenges required to once again make this a great championship,” said Dick Weigold, Open Committee Chairman for TCC and a former State Amateur champion. “We hope all members will embrace and enjoy the event going forward whether it be as a volunteer, a participant, or as a spectator to the best golf at the biggest golf tournament in Connecticut behind only The Traveler's Championship.”
The Connecticut Open is a 54-hole stroke play event. All players will play 18 holes on Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20. The low 40 players including ties will advance to the final round on Sunday, July 21.
“The tournament is very special to me,” said Fran Marrello, golf professional at Canaan Country Club and one of the best players the state has ever produced. “Hats off to Glenn Carlson and all the members who really make the club a special place to hold a tournament like this.” In typical self-effacing fashion, Marrello downplayed his chances at winning the event, saying, “I’m in my 50’s and there are a lot of young guys out there that can play. I’ll play at least two rounds, I know that, and I’d like to make the cut and be under par.”
Winning the Connecticut Open would be very special for Winsted native Bobby Gage, another Nutmeg State golf star who grew up playing at Greenwoods Country Club and “played many a match at Torrington”. He said, “If I was to win my first State Open it couldn’t come at a better place than here.”
Gage, who played a number of years on the then Web.Com Tour, and a year each on the PGA and Champions tours, said that while TCC is not an overly long course, playing 6,657 yards from the championship markers and to a par of 72, it nonetheless poses a stern test for the best players. “You have to hit it in the right spots on this course, especially on the greens.”
Green added, “The par-threes are four of the best short holes you will find on any course and they really play a key role. If you can play the par-threes in even par for three days then you have a good shot at winning.” He called the club’s third hole, a pretty 173-yarder that plays across water to a green that is severely sloped and guarded by deep bunkers, “one of the finest par-threes in golf.”
Gage said he doesn’t know what it will take to win “because I don’t know what the conditions will be for the tournament. If the wind is blowing four or five under could win, but if it calm and warm then maybe eight under would do the trick.”
Torrington Country Club was built on a former 180-acre farm site and was designed by Orrin Smith, a New Britain golf architect and contractor. Smith made a name for himself as construction superintendent to Willie Park Jr. Smith then became a regular field supervisor on a number of prominent Donald Ross-designed projects. Golf Magazine considers the Torrington Country Club to be one of Smith's best course designs. A nine-hole course was completed in the fall of 1928 and opened officially for play in the spring of 1929. The clubhouse was built in the summer of 1929, and all 18 holes was completed in 1932.
In the mid 1990's, noted golf architect Ron Forse assisted the club in the development of a master plan to restore many original course features. Forse was impressed with Smith’s design and said, “Instead of looking at history, you’re in it.” As part of this plan, traps are improved yearly, trees strategically managed, tee areas improved or added and course maintenance is superbly handled by course staff.
In addition to three other Connecticut Men’s Opens (1946, 1962, 2013), TCC has hosted the 1994 Connecticut Amateur Championship, the 1999 New England Women’s Championship, the 2005 Connecticut Women’s Amateur Championship, the 2006 Connecticut Amateur Championship, multiple U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifiers, the 2015 Connecticut Senior Amateur Championship, and the 2017 Connecticut Women's Open.
Besides Dick Weigold, the TCC Connecticut Open Championship committee consists of Randy DiBella, Bill Goff, Jenn Paul, Bud Pepin, Ray Underwood, Mike NeJaime, Adrian Selby, Maggie Selby, Glenn Carlson, Jay Van Coughnett, Andrea Richardson, Anne Marie Filippini, and Pam Chepulis.
Contact Dick Weigold at 860-248-1521 with questions, or to volunteer for the tournament.