Martino wins fourth championship

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Ray Martino putts on the first green Saturday during the Hop Brook Men’s Club Championship at Hop Brook Golf Course in Naugatuck. Martino defeated Scott Thomas, eight and seven, to win the championship for the third time in the past four years. Martino has won four Hop Brook Men’s Club Championship in all. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Ray Martino pitches on to the first green Saturday during the Hop Brook Men’s Club Championship at Hop Brook Golf Course in Naugatuck. Martino defeated Scott Thomas, eight and seven, to win the championship for the third time in the past four years. Martino has won four Hop Brook Men’s Club Championship in all. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — Ray Martino is as steady as they come on the golf course.

Martino proved that point once again on Saturday defeating Scott Thomas to win the 2015 Hop Brook Golf Course Men’s Club Championship. The championship was Martino’s fourth overall at Hop Brook, and third in the past four years.

Taking nothing away from other top players at Hop Brook, head pro Bob Clark described Martino as the best.

“He’s the best player here,” Clark said. “He’s the most consistent player, and it shows.”

Martino topped Thomas, eight and seven, in 36 holes of match play to win the championship.

Clark said the final got off to an unexpected start.

Martino played very well, Clark said. However, Thomas, who was playing in his first club championship, came out a bit tentative, Clark said. That tentativeness hurt Thomas, Clark said, as he fell behind Martino early.

“When you play someone like Ray Martino, who they call a ‘Steady Eddie,’ you can’t afford to be down,” Clark said.

Martino, a Naugatuck native, could not be reached for comment.

Martino’s run to the championship started with a win over Chris Sokolowsli, five and four, in the first round. He defeated Pat Granahan, six and five, and Todd Gronau, two up, in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, to reach the final round.

Thomas beat Craig Behun (one up), Glen Petelle (one up) and Nick Tribanas (four and three) to reach the final for the first time.

Scott Thomas hits a shot on to the first green Saturday during the Hop Brook Men’s Club Championship at Hop Brook Golf Course in Naugatuck. Thomas fell, eight and seven, to Ray Martino. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Scott Thomas hits a shot on to the first green Saturday during the Hop Brook Men’s Club Championship at Hop Brook Golf Course in Naugatuck. Thomas fell, eight and seven, to Ray Martino. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Other flight winners include Steve Slekis (1st flight), Pat Corbett (2nd flight) and Bill Testone (3rd flight).

The Men’s Club Championship capped a big week at Hop Brook, which got under way when Nancy Clark won the 2015 Women’s Club Championship Aug. 9.

The Junior Club Championship was also held last week.

Cole Tepedino won the 10 and under division, which was nine-hole stroke play, with a 46.

Jack Szabo won the 12 and under division, which was nine-hole stroke play, with a 42.

Alex Ford won the 14 and under division, which was 18-hole stroke play, with a 95.

Jake Alcorace won the 17 and under division, which was 18-hole stroke play, with a 79. Alcorace will represent Hop Brook Sept. 6 at the Connecticut PGA Junior Tournament of Champions at Shennecosset Golf Course in New London.

Katie Brown won the girls division with a 64.

On Aug. 10, Hop Brook hosted six other clubs in the yearly Futures Junior Interclub League. Fifty-three golfers played a nine-hole tournament in three different divisions: 10U, 12U and 15 U. Garret Burke led Hop Brook to a second place finish in the 12U division with a 46. Dan Croyle placed fifth in the 10U division with a 49.

The Hop Brook team was in fourth place following play Aug. 10 with 35 points. The final match was Tuesday at Rock Ridge Country Club. The top three teams after play will play in a shoot out to determine the 2015 Interclub Champion.