NAUGATUCK — With the qualifying rounds in the books, nearly 50 golfers have begun chasing championships at Hop Brook Golf Course.
The men’s side is missing its champion in three of the last four years, Ray Martino, who joined the Waterbury Country Club, and last year’s runner-up Scott Thomas, who is battling injuries. But there has been a lot of buzz over the new kid on the block: Mike Erickson.
The former All-NVL and All-State player from Woodland tied the tournament qualifying record with a blistering round of 67, five under par.
“You don’t see the kind of round that Mike Erickson put up very often. If he wanted to he can have a future in this game. He will be the number one at Post University as a sophomore,” Hop Brook golf pro Bob Clark said.
The field should be one of the most competitive in years with 2002 champion and last year’s semifinalist Todd Gronau coming in with a 73. Eleven golfers shot 80 or below and nine of them shot a 79 or under.
“The numbers are about the same as years past,” Clark said. “We may be down a couple of people but based on the qualifying scores I think it will be a pretty competitive field.”
The women’s championship, which began four years ago, will only have three women competing for the title.
Nancy Clark, the 2015 champion, Stephanie Slekis, the 2014 champion and 2015 runner-up, and Linda Low, last year’s semifinalist, are the women in the field.
“Only three ladies signed up,” Clark said. “So we are going to have them play 18 holes on Sunday, July 31 at 1 p.m., with them using 100 percent of their handicap to determine a champion.
“It’s a unique situation, but in talking to other professionals in the area it truly is the best way to fairly determine a champion.”
The field is set and the pairings are as follows:
Michael Erickson vs. Nate Deller
Jerry Russo vs. Craig Behun
David LeRoy vs. Chris Sokolowski
Tom Kaminski vs. Nick Konecky
Rich Brenia vs. Rich Gill
Pat Corbett vs. Glenn Petelle
Joe Meagher vs. Pat Granahan
Todd Gronau vs. Matthew McClain
Brandon Sweet vs. Manny Jacquelyn Nixon-Tribanas
Billy Testone vs. Cory Leonard
Jim Corbett vs. Sam Molnar
Tom Gronau vs. Mike Lynch
Tom Gaffney vs. George Lockwood
Steve Kloc vs. Jay Fidalgo
Mike Fox vs. Bill Graham
Tony Sapata vs. Ron Wallace
Steven Slekis vs. Mike Morley
Steve Nester vs. Matt McClain, Jr.
Larry Testone, Jr.-BYE
Paul Padilla vs. Jim Russo
Bill Brown vs. Ron Swierbitowicz
Bill Klisus vs. Steven A Rager