Fosdick repeats as Connecticut Amateur champion, tops Paladino again in final

HARTFORD — It was hard not to at least think about the possibility of a rematch between Chris Fosdick and Cody Paladino to decide the 119th Connecticut Amateur title. Paladino noticed it when the match play bracket came out earlier in the week.

“I saw (Fosdick’s name) on the opposite side of the bracket. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it,” Paladino said.

Both men played in last year’s final, going the full 36 holes before Fosdick prevailed 1-up. The two men were the last ones standing for the 119th Amateur to be decided at Hartford Golf Club.

Of course the mach went the distance again. It ended up being the same result, just a little more dramatic this time around: Fosdick dropped an 18-foot putt for birdie to repeat 1-up.

“It’s awesome to finish it like that. I felt really good about the putt, even before I hit it,” said Fosdick, a rising sophomore at the University of Virginia. “Back-to-back Connecticut Ams is just awesome and doesn’t happen very often.”

Said Paladino: “It’s tough. It probably hasn’t sunk in yet. It probably will hurt a lot more tomorrow morning would be my guess.”

Records indicate this is the first rematch of a Amateur final in exactly 100 years (1920 and 1921). Fosdick is the first golfer to repeat since Will Strickler in 2007-08.

Last year, Fosdick, a member at Wallingford CC, rallied from a 5-down deficit to win. This year, Paladino (Wampanoag CC) was 5 down through 13 holes. He got it back to 2-down after the first 18 was completed.

“I started out very flat. I was admittedly pretty gassed from the whole week in general,” Paladino said. “To get it to 2 down at the lunch break was great. The afternoon was a much different story. I played much better.”

Paladino clawed back some more to square the match after 26 holes. Then Fosdick won the next two holes.

Paladino, who won this event in 2013, got it back to all square on the 34th hole, setting up the dramatic finish. He never led.

“It was awesome to be back out there in that final. I don’t know if I’m in the final many more times before my time is done,” Paladino said.

Said Fosdick: “I felt nervous earlier in the round. Toward the end, I kind of loosened up. I was able to stay pretty calm toward the end of the match.”

Fosdick, who also won the Palmer Cup in May, and Paladino, who advanced to sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open, are part of a strong state contingent at next week’s Northeast Amateur, featuring Ben James of Milford and Bradford Tilley of Easton.; @nhrJoeMorelli