DARIES – For the past 22 years, 12 of the Connecticut Open championships have been played on Fairfield County’s golf courses.
The 87th edition of the Open returns to the southern part of the state as the Darien Country Club hosts the championship starting Monday.
“It’s a complete honor. It’s been on our radar for a few years, ”said Cory Muller, now in his ninth year as Head Pro at CC of Darien. “We hope for firm and fast conditions. It’s not the longest course in the world. Our green spaces will be the biggest challenge out here. The four par 3s are either at or above average. “
Playing up to par 71, CC of Daren measures 6,822 yards from the back tees. Three of the par-3s measure more than 190 yards from these tees, while two of the par-5s could be played at 572 yards (15) and 612 yards (4).
The club hosted the Ike Championship last year and is set to host the Connecticut Amateur in 2023.
This is the first time CC of Darien is hosting the Connecticut Open and joining the other two private courses in town: Wee Burn CC, which has been held four times, the last in 2012; and Woodway CC, which was also hosted four times, most recently in 2016.
“With (CC of) Darien we obviously took the opportunity to have discussions with Corey and the leadership here,” said Mike Moraghan, Executive Director of CSGA.
Instructor JR LaPan has been with Darien’s CC for less than a year. He came from Winged Foot GC, where he was Head Superintendent of the West Course in Mamaroneck, New York, where he hosted the 2020 US Open last September.
“The golf course withstands a good test in a really fair way,” said Müller, who had qualified for the Open from Madison CC.
It’s a typically strong field or the 54-hole event that takes place Monday through Wednesday. Including many former champions, including defending champion Max Theodorakis, who won Ridgewood CC in Danbury shortly after his career on his home course.
“It was definitely a torture (first year as a pro) to get used to this stuff. It’s tough, but I enjoy it, ”said Theodoraks, who finished second at the Massachusetts Open last month. “There is definitely an added pressure. It’s about the pressure you put on yourself at the end of the day, I didn’t have a good start to the tournament, but I made it. “
Other former champions in the haul include: Rasmey King (2019), Adam Rainaud (2016), Cody Paladino (2015), the three-time winner Frank Bensel (2009, 2011 and 2014), Jeff Curl (2007 and 2013), Michael Gilmore (1993, 1997), James Becker (1975, 1976) and Kyle Gallo (1998, 2000, 2004 and 2010), who is aiming for his fifth record at the Connecticut Open after finishing fourth last year.
Also expected: Peter Ballo, who finished second last year and played in the PGA Championship in May; Alex Beach, also a participant in the PGA Championship; Ben James, who finished third in 2019 and will play at the University of Virginia from fall 2022; Chris Fosdick, the reigning two-time Connecticut amateur champion; and Blake Morris, who finished third last year.
The 40 best golfers and ties will move into the final round of the 54-hole event on Wednesday.
US Senior Women’s Open tickets
Tickets for the third US Senior Women’s Open, which takes place on Thursday at the Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield, are still available.
The championship takes place from Thursday to Sunday, July 29th – August. 1. Digital tickets only are available through the United States Golf Association website, usga.org. Tickets are $ 20, including free parking.
There are no gallery ropes at the championship so fans can walk next to the players. People under the age of 18 can participate or for free with an adult with a ticket.
Among the participants are: Annika Sorenstam, Laura Davies, Amy Alcott, Laura Baugh, Joanne Carner, Juli Inkster, Michelle McGann, Hollis Stacy, Jan Stephenson and defending champion Helen Alfredsson.
Whaley is inducted into the CT Hall of Fame
Suzy Whaley, the first woman ever elected as an officer and then president of the PGA of America, will be inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame Thursday at the Patterson Club in Fairfield.
Whaley, a former Farmington resident, was president from 2018-20. She used to be Head Pro at the Blue Fox Run GC in Avon.
Whaley won the Connecticut Women’s Open three times. She played twice on the LPGA Tour, in 1990 and 1993. She also won the Connecticut PGA Championship in 2002, which came for the 2003 Greater Hartford Open with one exception. Whaley became the first woman to qualify for a PGA Tour event since babe Didrikson Zaharias in 1945.
The invitation-only ceremony, which begins at 7 p.m., was originally intended to be held at Brooklawn CC with the US Senior Women’s Open. But Moragahan felt logistical, it wasn’t a possibility.
“After talking to the USGA, we realized that they were still playing. They run a big championship and the clubhouse is used for multiple purposes, ”said Moraghan. “We have found that it doesn’t make sense to try it there. There will likely still be players on the pitch from 630am to 7pm. So it made sense to find a great location near Brooklawn.