Semifinals set for Hop Brook club championships

NAUGATUCK — The Hop Brook Golf Course club championships are heading in the right direction.

“We are certainly trending with the numbers going up again this year and we are looking forward to continuing that success,” Hop Brook golf pro Bryan Nixon said.

Nixon said 51 golfers signed up for the club tournaments. Last year’s tournaments featured 45 golfers split into three flights, plus a one-match championship in the women’s division.

“Joe Malay and his crew once again did a magnificent job in getting the course ready for this tournament,” Nixon said. “All in all we are very pleased with the participation as the numbers went up this year.”

The championships teed off the first weekend of August. The semifinal and championship rounds are set for Saturday and Sunday.

The championships started off with a big upset in the champion flight, as Chris Sheedy knocked off seven-time champion Ray Martino. The luck on the links didn’t hold out for Sheedy, who was defeated in the second round by Bob Swierbitowicz.

Swierbitowicz’s win set up a semifinal match with Nick Tribanas, the 2014 champion. Tribanas pulled out a 20-hole victory over Craig Behun to reach the semifinals.

The other champion flight semifinal features Dave Leroy, who beat Glenn Petelle in the second round, and Derek Bizier, who won a second-round match over Steve Slekis.

In the first flight, Jim Robinson beat Tom Gronau in 19 holes in the opening round. He knocked off Brian Devito in the second round to reach the semifinals, where he’s set to face Jerry Russo, who beat George Lockwood in a tightly-contested, second-round match.

The other first flight semifinals features Jesse Cyr, who defeated Jason Rizk to advance, and Herb Grandpre, who beat Joe Bahme.

In the second flight, Sam Molnar advanced to the semifinals with a victory over Ully Hilse. Molnar is matched up with Steve Nestor, who defeated Vic Chernesky.

Bill Klisus beat Nick Boccuzzi in the second round to set up the other second flight semifinal match against Ron Wallace, who defeated Scott Douty.

Three women will compete for the women’s championship. Dawn Bruenn will go up against Carol Douty in the semifinal, with the winner advancing to take on three-time defending champion Stephanie Slekis.

“We had some exciting matches in the first two rounds,” Nixon said. “But none was bigger than the upset in the first round of the champion flight when Sheedy edged out seven-time champion Martino.”