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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Paladino leads CT Open by two heading into final round

DARIEN >> That name is there once again, staring the other competitors in the 82nd Connecticut Open square in the face.

You expect Frank Bensel’s name to be atop the leaderboard in the state’s second-biggest golf tournament behind the Travelers Championship. In his last six appearances, Bensel has done no worse than a tie for seventh place and won the event three times.

But despite shooting a 4-under-par 67 to get into contention, Bensel still trails the leader by four. That would be the defending champion - Cody Paladino - who posted a 68 for a two-shot lead heading into today’s final round.

“I had a lot of really good (birdie) chances I didn’t convert on, but I hit the ball exceptionally well and that’s kind of the most important thing,” Paladino said.

Corey Birch, who just turned pro this week and finished second in the State Amateur last month, fired a 5-under 66 to stand two behind Paladino.

“It will be fun. I’m excited,” Birch said about the final round. “I’m doing a good job at hitting the reset button after every shot and hole.”

Jeff Curl, a former two-time champion himself, also shot 66 while playing with Birch. He is third all alone 4-under 138. He will play with Bensel today in the penultimate group. Whitney Farms GC head pro Billy Street is tied for fourth with Bensel at 139.

Paladino is looking to become the first player to repeat since 2005-06 by Shelton native Nick Cook - Paladino’s playing partner the first two rounds.




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