Tomlinson, Sheltman help CT Amateurs win Challenge Cup
HAMDEN — Peter Tomlinson was “ecstatic” to be playing in his first Julius Boros Challenge Cup on Wednesday at New Haven Country Club — even if it came four months after it was originally scheduled.
“To be honest, I’m really happy we are still playing,” Tomlinson said. “It didn’t matter to me whether it was in the spring, in the middle of the summer or in the fall. I just wanted to be a part of something like this.”
Tomlinson was a part of the Connecticut State Golf Association State Amateur team that defeated the Connecticut Section pros 48.5-23.5 in the 49th annual event. It was the third straight victory for the Amateurs in the series.
The Section pros still lead the overall series 34-15.
The Challenge Cup is normally held in May, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tomlinson, a 25-year-old Shelton resident and Seymour native, is a member at three courses this year: Orange Hills CC, Sterling Farms Golf Club in Stamford — in order to play events in the Metropolitan Golf Association — and Pequabuck GC In Bristol.
In addition to selling health insurance, Tomlinson also works in the pro shop at Pequabuck GC. He got to face his boss — head pro Kevin Mahaffy — on Wednesday. They halved their singles match. Tomlinson and Richard Dowling (Golf Performance Center) swept its team match from Jordan Gosler (Manchester CC) and Mahaffy.
Wins at the Connecticut Public Links and the Tournament of Champions last year earned Tomlinson a spot in the Challenge Cup. He has had to juggle his playing schedule not only for work but also caddying for, as Tomlinson put it, “one of the best junior players the state has ever seen.”
Tomlinson met Milford’s Ben James at Great River GC. He always used to notice James practicing before he was introduced to him a couple of years back.
“I’d see him almost every day and I was like,‘Who is that kid practicing out here from sun-up to sundown?’ All he’d do is hit putts and hit balls. He’d never go out and play. I admired that. His work ethic was unbelievable, especially for a young kid.”
In addition to both practicing and playing with James, Tomlinson caddied for the 16-year-old prodigy at several prestigious national events this summer: the North-South Men’s Championship in Pinehurst, North Carolina, the Western Amateur in Carmel, Indiana and the U.S. Amateur in Bandon, Oregon.
“His dad (Don) liked the idea of me being on the bag, helping him out here and there, giving him rides to and from the course and being that older brother figure for him,” Tomlinson said. “We’ve forged this incredible relationship. They ask me to caddy when I’m available and more often than not, I say yes. It’s a good relationship that has benefited me and I hope I’ve been able to help out Ben as well.”
And with all of the travel restrictions in place from state to state due to the Coronavirus, Tomlinson has had to take several COVID tests both at those events and upon returning to Connecticut.
“We’ve had to think through our travel plans. The overall coordination of trips is so much more in depth,” Tomlinson said. “You have to pay attention to all of the laws to make sure you are in a safe environment when you come back and not put people at risk.”
This was the second Challenge Cup event for James Sheltman, a member at Alling Memorial GC in New Haven. He competed Wednesday on no sleep due to his job at Amtrak, where he worked overnight.
“I got out at 6 a.m., went home, had breakfast, showered and came here,” said Sheltman, 32, an East Haven resident. “After this, I’ve got bowling tonight. I may have to go back to work (Wednesday evening). It gets tiring sometimes. I’ve been doing third shift for 11 years.”
The lack of sleep seemingly didn’t affect Sheltman. He and playing partner Patrick Griffin (Chippanee GC) defeated pros Ian Marshall (IAMGOLF) and Jan Wivestad (Crestbrook Park GC). Sheltman also won his individual match
Sheltman said he has only been playing competitive golf since 2016. “Playing against the section PGA pros is phenomenal. It’s a great feeling to play on this team,” he said.
In other matches, Ben Day (CC of Waterbury) halved his singles match with Bill Street (Whitney Farms GC), Nick Cook (Tashua Knolls GC) won his singles match over Adam D’Amario (Indian Hill CC) and in an all-New Haven CC match, John Steinberg edged Bill Wallis.
49th Julius Boros Challenge Cup
(at New Haven CC)
Individual results: Fran Marrello (PGA Life Member) def. Bill Hermanson (Black Hall Club), 2.5-0.5; Dave Szewczul (TPC River Highlands) halved match with Bob Mucha (Edgewood CC), 1.5-1.5; Pat Griffin (Chippanee GC) halved match with Jan Wivestad (Crestbrook Park GC), 1.5-1.5; James Sheltman (Alling Memorial GC) def. Ian Marshall (IAMGOLF), 2.5-0.5; Bob Murphy Jr. (Brownson CC) def. Jeff DelRosso (Prospect Golf), 2.5-0.5; Richard Stevens (unattached) def. Mike Martin (Tashua Knolls GC), 3-0; Richard Dowling (Golf Performance Center) def. Jordan Gosler (Manchester CC), 2.5-0.5; Peter Tomlinson (Orange Hills CC) halved match with Kevin Mahaffy (Pequabuck GC), 1.5-1.5; Chris Tallman (Orchards GC) def. Ben Conroy (New Haven CC), 3-0; Ben Day (CC of Waterbury) halved match with Bill Street (Whitney Farms GC), 1.5-1.5; Cody Paladino (CC of Farmington) def. Bran Keiser (Longmeadow CC), 3-0; Nick Cook (Tashua Knolls GC) def. Adam D’Amario (Indian Hill CC), 2.5-0.5; John Steinberg (New Haven CC) def. Bill Wallis (New Haven CC), 2-1; Brian Ahern (Wampanoag CC) def. Donny Kirkpatrick (Wampanoag CC), 3-0; Marc Bayram (Timberlin GC) def. Mike Kennedy (New Haven CC), 2-1; Rick Hayes (Silver Spring CC) def. E.J. Altobello (Springfield CC), 3-0.
Team results: Hermanson/Szewczul halved match with Marrello/Mucha, 1.5-1.5; Griffin/Sheltman def. Wivestad/Marshall, 3-0; Murphy/Stevens halved match with DelRosso/Martin, 1.5-1.5; Dowling/Tomlinson def. Gosler/Mahaffy, 3-0; Conroy/Day halved match with Tallman/Street, 1.5-1.5; Paladino/Cook def. Keiser/D’Amario, 3-0; Wallis/Kirkpatrick def. Steinberg/Ahern, 2-1; Kennedy/Hayes def. Bayram/Altobello, 2.5-0.5.