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UConn golf team off to a good start

By Scott Bernier
On October 11, 2012

Even as the fall foliage begins to set foot in Connecticut, the UConn golf team has been hard at work during the first half of their 2012-13 season.
Beginning with the Adams Cup in Newport, R.I. on Sept. 18 and 19, the team made an impressive debut with a 6th- place finish out of 12 teams. Led by strong performances from freshman Zach Zaback and senior Brian Hughes, the team kept up the momentum in their next event, as the defending champions of the Hartford Hawk Invitational. They placed 5th out of a 16-team field, due to aggregate scores of 221 through three rounds by sophomore Chris Wiatr and freshman Stephen Pastore.
With excellent contributions being made by the entire team, the stage was set to host The Connecticut Cup this past Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 8 and 9 at Ellington Ridge Country Club. Despite the chilly weather the Huskies were hot, with a special performance carded by Zaback, taking home 1st place and medalist honors over the 84-player field. Zaback is the first UConn player to win an individual event since Jeb Buchanan last September at the Hartford Hawk Invitational.
Zaback's 73-69-69-211 was nearly matched by Wiatr, who shot a terrific 70-72-70-212 and finished in a tie for second. The team finished tied for third with both Fairfield University and Bryant University, thanks to solid rounds from Hughes, Pastore, junior Mike Masso and freshman Cameron MacKay.
Optimism is running high for the group as can be sensed when speaking with 6th year coach Dave Pezzino. "We've been fortunate to have some great individual success and consistent team play," Pezzino said. "One of our goals this fall is to collectively win a tournament, and we've been doing all the right things that can help push us over the hump and into a 1st-place finish."
With three events completed and steadily improving finishes, the home stretch of the season bears promising results for a young, yet dependable squad led by Hughes. The team will see further action this weekend when they travel down to Philmont Country Club in Huntingdon Valley, Penn. for the Big 5 Tournament this Saturday and Sunday. Following this weekend is the final event of the fall season on Oct. 29 and 30 in Kiawah Island, S. C., whose ocean course was recently home to the PGA Championshp.
The Huskies will be teeing off at the nearby Turtle Point Golf Course, designed by Jack Nicklaus to be a narrow and demanding course, requiring both accuracy with lofty approach shots and the ability to shape the ball in the air from left-to-right and vice-versa. Measuring in at a lengthy 7,061 yards from its farthest tees, this final venue should provide for an excellent southern showcase for a northeast team. With a sound start underway for the 2012-13 season, it seems the leaves are not the only ones peaking at the right time. 


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