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Friday, July 29, 2016

The full Travelers Championship field

Tom Aiken
Tyler Aldridge
Robert Allenby
Abraham Ancer
Aaron Baddeley
Blayne Barber
Ricky Barnes
Daniel Berger
Zac Blair
Jonas Blixt
Steven Bowditch
Keegan Bradley
Scott Brown
Bronson Burgoon
Angel Cabrera
Chad Campbell
Miguel Angel Carballo
Paul Casey
Bud Cauley
Alex Cejka
Greg Chalmers
Kevin Chappell
Chad Collins
Erik Compton
Ben Crane
Jon Curran
Brendon de Jonge
Bryson DeChambeau|
Jamie Donaldson
Luke Donald
Ken Duke
Ernie Els
Derek Ernst
Derek Fathauer
Tony Finau
Jim Furyk
Robert Garrigus
Brian Gay
Lucas Glover
Andres Gonzales
Retief Goosen
Jason Gore
Branden Grace
Chesson Hadley
Adam Hadwin
James Hahn
Brian Harman
Padraig Harrington
Russell Henley
J.J. Henry
Charley Hoffman
Morgan Hoffmann
Tom Hoge
J.B. Holmes
John Huh
Billy Hurley III
Hiroshi Iwata
Freddie Jacobson
Zach Johnson
Matt Jones
Sung Kang
Smylie Kaufman
Jerry Kelly
Michael Kim
Si Woo Kim
Whee Kim
Patton Kizzire
Soren Kjeldsen
Colt Knost
Russell Knox
Brooks Koepka
Jason Kokrak
Kelly Kraft
Matt Kuchar
Martin Laird
Andrew Landry
D.H. Lee
Marc Leishman
Justin Leonard
Spencer Levin
Luke List
Andrew Loupe
Jamie Lovemark
Shane Lowry
Will Mackenzie
Hunter Mahan
Peter Malanti
Steve Marino
Ben Martin
Lee McCoy
George McNeill
Troy Merritt
Bryce Molder
Francesco Molinari
Ryan Moore
Jordan Niebrugge
Seung-Yul Noh
Henrik Norlander
Sean O’Hair
Geoff Ogilvy
Louis Oosthuizen
Rob Oppenheim
Carlos Ortiz
Greg Owen
Rod Pampling
Tim Petrovic
Martin Piller
Scott Pinckney
Ted Potter, Jr.
Dicky Pride
Jon Rahm
Adam Rainaud
Chez Reavie
Patrick Reed
Kyle Reifers
Wes Roach
Patrick Rodgers
Rory Sabbatini
Sam Saunders
John Senden
Robby Shelton
Webb Simpson
Vijay Singh
Heath Slocum
Cameron Smith
Scott Stallings
Kyle Stanley
Brendan Steele
Shawn Stefani
Brett Stegmaier
Darron Stiles
Kevin Streelman
Chris Stroud
Brian Stuard
Daniel Summerhays
Hudson Swafford
Nick Taylor
Vaughn Taylor
Justin Thomas
Michael Thompson
Brendon Todd
David Toms
Tyrone Van Aswegen
Dawie van der Walt
Camilo Villegas
Johnson Wagner
Bubba Watson
Boo Weekley
Steve Wheatcroft
Tim Wilkinson
Mark Wilson
Four available spots for Monday’s Open qualifier


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Travelers adds three more golfers ranked inside the top 30 worldwide

The Travelers Championship landed three more golfers inside the top 30 a day before the deadline to commit for this year’s Travelers Championship.

Branden Grace is the highest ranked of the three golfers, currently at No. 12. The South African won his first PGA Tour event at the RBC Heritage in April. He had top-five performances in the U.S. Open each of the last two years. Grace is making his second straight appearance at the Travelers, missing the cut last year.

Brooks Koepka tied for 51st in his only other appearance in the Travelers Championship in 2014. He has moved up to No. 18 in the world rankings and has a pair of second-place finishes on the tour this season.

Shane Lowry, ranked 28th, became a recognizable name once he led the U.S. Open heading into the final round before finishing second to Dustin Johnson last month. Lowry won the 2015 Bridgestone Invitational.

Those three join Bubba Watson (ranked sixth), Patrick Reed (14), Louis Oosthuizen (15), Matt Kuchar (17), Zach Johnson (20), Jim Furyk (22) and Paul Casey (30) at the Travelers, which will be held Aug. 4-7 at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell.

Also Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau received two of the six sponsor’s exemptions the tournament is giving out this year. The deadline for golfers to commit to play is tonight.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Adam Rainaud ties course record, wins Connecticut Open by 5

DARIEN >> Adam Rainaud (above) felt the pain in his back after his second shot in the second round of the 82nd Connecticut Open on Tuesday.

He ended up lying flat on his back on the second hole at Woodway Country Club. Rainaud even considered withdrawing. With a precious spot in the Travelers Championship next week, who would have faulted him to get healthy for that tournament instead?

“On the second hole (Tuesday), it got really bad,” Rainaud said. “I don’t want to keep pushing it, hurt it worse and not be able to play next week. I’m lucky it was really hot (weather-wise) this week.”

By the turn, Rainaud already trailed the leader, who happened to be his playing partner, Cody Paladino, by 10 shots. He kept playing and was within six when the second round ended.

Then Rainaud went out and tied the course record Wednesday, posting a 6-under-par 65, one of only five rounds under par among 41 golfers. The round was good enough for a five-shot victory, Rainaud’s first Connecticut Open championship.

“I’m 30 years old, played in a total of 15 state opens, I now live in Chester, I’ve worked at Black Hall (in Old Lyme) for six years,so this  feels like my home state Open,” said Rainaud, a Massachusetts native. “I pulled a muscle I hope is what I did. It was hurting really bad. I had to take a few Advil. Since the second hole (Tuesday), I didn’t hit one shot that in my head that was over 70 percent (swing rotation).”

Rainaud pocketed $12,500 for the win. He made six birdies (1, 4, 6, 12, 13, 16) and no bogeys to to shoot 7-under 206 for 54 holes and become the first active member of the Connecticut Section PGA to win the Open since Jim St. Pierre in 2002 at New Haven CC.

“It’s more 27 holes. He was even (par) on the front (Tuesday). He played 11-under for 27 holes. That’s remarkable. Adam is an awesome player and I’m happy for him,” Paladino said.

Rainaud tied the course record set by Mike Ballo Jr. in 2014. Ballo, a member at Woodway CC, trailed Paladino by eight shots heading into the third round, but shot 68 to vault into that tie for second place with Corey Birch, who was playing in his first professional tournament.

Rainaud played six groups ahead of Paladino, who went bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie on holes 8-11 to stand at 6-under for the tournament, tied with Rainaud, who was through 15.

Then Paladino, the defending champion, made three consecutive bogeys on 12 through 14 to fall out of the mix. He shot a 77 to finish tied for fourth place with Anthony Casalino, the first-round leader, at 1-under 212.

“It doesn’t change my thinking on how I’m playing right now. I had a bad day at the wrong time,” Paladino said. “We don’t have enough hours in the day to talk about all the disappointment, quote-unquote, that I’ve had in my golf career. But I’ve also had a lot of thrills and a lot of success. Every time that I have a disappointment, I always come back twice as strong.”

Frank Bensel and Jeff Curl played together in the penultimate group, combining to have won five of the last 10 Connecticut Open titles. Neither could get anything going Wednesday, combining to shoot 7-over and tie for sixth place (213).

While Rainaud had already secured his spot in the Travelers Championship, a number of golfers had entered the tournament’s pre-qualifier which was held Wednesday at Ellington Ridge CC - an approximate 90-minute drive from Woodway CC.

Among those racing up to Ellington were Paladino, Curl, Shaun Powers (tie for eighth at the Open), Zach Zaback (T8), John Flaherty (T8), Greg Reilly (T15), Blake Morris (T17) and Jordan Gosler (T34). The only one to withdraw was Birch, who played in the final group with Paladino.

The top 40 and ties advanced to Monday’s final stage of qualifying, also at Ellington Ridge CC.

(at Woodway CC, Darien)
Final results
Adam Rainaud (Black Hall Club), 75-66-65-206; Mike Ballo Jr. (Woodway CC), 71-72-68-211; Corey Birch (Silver Spring VCC), 71-66-74-211; Cody Paladino (Wethersfield CC), 67-68-77-212; Anthony Casalino (Innis Arden GC), 66-75-71-212; Frank Bensel (Century CC), 72-67-74-213; Jeff Curl (Cedar Knob GC), 72-66-75-213; Shaun Powers (Fairview CC), 73-76-66-215; John Flaherty (TPC River Highlands), 71-73-71-215; Bobby Gage (Candlewood Valley CC), 74-70-71-215; Zach Zaback (TPC River Highlands), 76-66-73-215; Pete Ballo (Woodway CC), 72-69-74-215; Dan Balin (Burning Tree CC), 71-69-77-217; William Street (Whitney Farms GC), 68-71-78-217; Dave Giulietti (GC of Avon), 74-75-69-218; Greg Reilly (CC of Darien), 69-72-77-218; Jim Smith (CC of Waterbury), 75-74-70-219; Ryan Leahey (Glastonbury Hills CC), 73-74-72-219; Max Theodorakis (Ridgewood CC), 73-73-73-219; Blake Morris (CC of Waterbury), 75-71-73-219; Johnny Patridge (Course at Yale), 77-68-74-219; Geoff Gelderman (Tashua Knolls GC), 72-70-77-219.

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.



Monday, July 25, 2016

Casalino leads Paladino by 1 in weather-delayed CT Open

DARIEN >> Cody Paladino enjoyed the idea of being the defending champion at the 82nd Connecticut Open. But once his round began at 9 a.m. Monday morning, it was all business.

“Focusing all my time and energy being the defending champion is not going to get me anywhere this week,” Paladino said. “It’s cool, it’s wonderful, I’m excited, thrilled to have won the Connecticut Open one year ago.”

After Paladino, a Berlin resident, bogeyed the 10th hole, his first of the day, he made five birdies en route to an opening-round 67 at Woodway Country Club to trail leader Anthony Casalino by one shot.

“I spent my time preparing, not just physically, but mentally for that moment I got on the 10th tee this morning,” Paladino said.

Paladino, 27 is coming off a tie for 13th place at the Bangor Open in Maine this past weekend. He bounced back after his opening bogey Monday with a birdie on No. 11, then more birdies at 16, 2, 3 and 8 to vault into second place.

William Street, the former assistant pro at New Haven CC, is alone in third with a 68. Four players, Dan Balin, Corey Birch, Jordan Gosler and Kyle Baehler, are all tied at even-par 71.

A thunderstorm delayed play for an hour and 16 minutes Monday afternoon. Lightning forced play to be suspended for the day at 6:16 p.m.

Half the field did not complete play. Play will resume at 8 a.m. today. The last groups have 11 holes to finish.

Tee times for the second round will begin no earlier than 9:30 a.m. The last tee time will go off at approximately 4:10 p.m. - assuming no more weather postponements.

Jay Crowley, an amateur out of the Round Hill Club in Greenwich, is the leader on the course, 2-under through 12 holes. John Roberts, Mike Ballo Jr. and Greg Reilly are all at 1-under on the course.

(at Woodway CC, Darien)
First round (partially complete)

Anthony Casalino (Innis Arden GC), 66; Cody Paladino (Wethersfield CC), 67; William Street (Whitney Farms GC), 68; Dan Balin (Burning Tree CC), 71; Jordan Gosler (Manchester CC), 71; Corey Birch (Silver Spring CC), 71; Kyle Baehler (Willow Ridge CC), 71; Pete Ballo (Woodway CC), 72; Jeff Curl (Cedar Knob GC), 72; Wally Gonzalez (Golf Performance Center), 73; Max Theodorakis (Ridgewood CC), 73; John Jackopsic (Gillette Ridge GC), 73; Dave Szewczul (Tunxis Plantation CC), 73; Paul Pastore (Middlesex EClub), 74; Dave Giuletti (GC of Avon), 74; Dave LaPierre (Tekoa CC), 74; Bobby Gage (Candlewood Valley CC), 74; Nick Cook (Tashua Knolls GC), 74; Brian Lamberti (Richter Park GC), 74.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Els, Kuchar, Goosen coming to play Travelers next week

Two players with six combined major championships and a member of the current U.S. Olympic men’s golf team have committed to play in the Travelers Championship Aug. 4-7.

Ernie Els brings his 19 PGA Tour victories, including two wins each in the U.S. Open and Open Championship, back to TPC River Highlands for a third time. Now 46, Els was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

Matt Kuchar is one of four members from the United States to participate in the men’s golf portion of the Olympics in August. Kuchar is currently ranked 17th in the world golf rankings, has seven tour wins and is making his ninth trip to the Travelers.

Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen is making his third appearance at the Travelers, tying for fifth in 2010.


Paladino set to defend Connecticut Open title

Cody Paladino kisses the championship trophy from last year’s Connecticut Open.

Cody Paladino (above) may be playing even better golf now than he was going into last year’s Connecticut Open championship.

That’s good news for the defending champion and bad news for everyone else at the 82nd Connecticut Open begins Monday at Woodway Country Club in Darien.

“It’s going to be wonderful to defend. It’s going to be wonderful if I do defend,” Paladino said. “Getting there knowing one year ago I had a breakthrough week, I still need to treat it as just another week. If I spend all my time focusing on what I did a year ago, I will lose track of what I’m really supposed to be doing out there.”