NAUGATUCK — Ray Martino defended his Hop Brook Golf Championship with a sterling round to hold off three-time champion Glenn Petelle 8-and-7 in one of the most dramatic championship rounds in the course’s 90-year-old history.
Martino, who won his third title, easily got by his opponents in the preliminary rounds to set up a meeting with Petelle, the club’s most prominent challenger who has three titles to his credit.
Petelle shot a 74 in the opening round to set himself up in a showdown with Martino.
The July 21 opening round was followed by a second round on July 28 that eliminated a bevy of golfers from the field. On Aug. 4, it came down to the two most prestigious golfers on the course.
“Glenn got out to a good start,” Hop Brook golf pro Bob Clark said. “He did go on to miss a few golden opportunities in the early going. Once Ray settled in he was just unstoppable. The course was in the best shape it’s been in quite some time and the weather cooperated except a few showers on Saturday that slowed things down a bit.”
Clark thanked Steve Moran, John Clark and superintendent Joe Malay for all their hard work through the tournament and the season in having Hop Brook ready to host a championship tournament.
Along with the championship flight, the tournament featured four other flights. This year’s tournament saw an increase in players, according to Clark.
“Last year we had 58 golfers and this year we upped that margin to 66 players which was the biggest increase in the area for this size of tournament,” Clark added.
Martino could not be reached for comment.