NAUGATUCK — The Hop Brook Golf Course men’s club championship tournament got underway this past weekend, and there were more than a few upsets that shook up the leaderboard.
Last year’s champion Mike Erickson was forced to withdraw due to prior commitments, while last year’s runner-up Todd Gronau overcame two opponents to reach the quarterfinal round.
Each flight had its share of upsets to start the tournament. In the championship flight, No. 12 Brandon Sweet got past the No. 5-seed Scott Thomas by a slim 2-1 advantage. No. 15 Larry Testone advanced to the quarterfinals earning a default win over No. 2 seed Erickson. No. 11 George Lockwood upset No. 6 Billy Testone, ending any chance of a brother-against-brother semifinal showdown.
“We had some excitement in the first flight when the top seed Bob Stabile made a birdie in dramatic fashion on the 18th hole to send the match to sudden death,” Hop Brook golf pro Bryan Nixon said.
Stabile had his hands full holding off No. 16 Jason Fidalgo and won the match on the second playoff hole. The biggest upset of the day in the first flight belonged to No. 14 Sam Molnar who won 1 up over No. 3 Jason Rizk.
The qualifying field of 47 golfers is up by two from last year’s field. The first flight also saw a father and son win their respective matches setting up what could be a father-and-son showdown in the semis should they both advance past this weekend’s quarterfinals.
Chris Sheedy upended Joe Pisco by a 5-3 margin, and his son, Colin Sheedy, won his match 2-1 over Jim Russo. The quarterfinal matches are Saturday with the semifinals scheduled for Sunday.
“Past champions Ray Martino and Nick Tribanas both advanced with victories in the opening round,” Nixon said. “But upsets ruled the day with No. 15 Mike Morley shocking No. 2 seed Bill Klisus in the second flight.”
Morley didn’t have the only upset in the second flight. No. 14 Ully Hilse outlasted No. 3 Ken Lindquist by a 3-1 margin, and No. 12 Ken Teach got by No. 5 Vic Chernesky 2 up.
Only two women signed up for the Women’s Club Championship. Defending champion Stephanie Slekis will go up against Carol Douty in the championship match on Aug. 20.
The results from the first round are as follows:
Championship flight: Todd Gronau defeated Steve Nester 8&7, Dave Leroy defeated Jerry Russo 6&5, Jessie Cyr defeated Gary Stabile 6&4, Brandon Sweet defeated Scott Thomas 2&1, Larry Testone defeated Mike Erickson default, Nick Tribanas defeated Matt McClain 4&3, Ray Martino defeated Henry Ricketts 3&2, George Lockwood defeated Bill Testone 2&1.
First flight: Bob Stabile defeated Jason Fidalgo 20 holes, Colin Sheedy defeated Jim Russo 2&1, Gabe Amador defeated Manny Tribanas 5&4, Chris Sheedy defeated Joe Pisco 5&3, Pat Corbett defeated Steve Slekis 1 up, Mike Fox defeated Dale Sweet 7&6, Sam Molnar defeated Jason Rizk 1 up, Tom Gronau defeated Paul Padilla 5&4.
Second flight: Ryan Colt defeated Joe Cantillion 4&2, Tom Gaffney defeated Doug Palomino 4&3, Joe Tribanas defeated Tony Sapata default, Ken Teach defeated Vic Chernesky 2 up, Mike Morley defeated Bill Klisus 8&6, Ron Wallace defeated Ronnie Swierbitowicz 4&2, Ully Hilse defeated Ken Lundquist 3&1, Jim Dasilva defeated Bill Brown 7&6.