Tribanas, Slekis win Hop Brook titles
NAUGATUCK — History was made at the 2014 Hop Brook Golf Course Club Championship.
A record 80 golfers competed in the event, which included a ladies’ field for the first time. On the men’s side, it was a teen who stole the show.
At the age of 17, Nick Tribanas became one of the youngest Men’s Club Championship winner after defeating two former club champs. Tribanas beat two-time defending champ Ray Martino in the semis. He then topped the 2002 winner Todd Gronau in the final on Sunday.
Tribanas was two down early and then found his groove. After 27 holes Tribanas held what seemed to be an insurmountable 6-up lead when Gronau came to life with birdies on the 28th and 29th hole to cut the lead to four.
After matching pars on hole 31, Tribanas closed the match with birdies on the 31st hole and a tap in birdie on the 32nd hole, when his tee shot on the par three down the steep hill came to a stop one foot away from the hole.
“It’s an honor,” said Tribanas, who played for Naugatuck High School last spring. Tribanas said the victory brought him satisfaction.
“I went down to the course the other day and people are still congratulating me,” Tribanas said. “It puts a smile on my face.”
Bob Clark, the head pro at Hop Brook, followed the match and was impressed.
“Nick was solid all day, didn’t make many mistakes, and made the necessary putts to become one of Hop Brook’s youngest club champions in the history of the golf course,” said Clark, a PGA professional. “Nick is a fine young man with the potential to be one of the better golfers to ever come out of Hop Brook. He is going to win multiple club championships.”
Other flight winners include: Mike Fleck (1st flight), Pat Corbett (2nd flight), John Letts (3rd flight), and Vic Chernesky (4th flight).
On the ladies’ side, Stephanie Slekis held on to defeat Anne Thomas 2 and 1 in the 18-hole final.
“It was very exciting and very personal,” Slekis said.
Slekis said she typically only plays with her husband, and the competition of the club championship provided a new experience.
“People say I have a nice swing, but I’ve never competed against other people,” Slekis said. “It’s a good confidence booster.”