The Chappa champs
New Canaan’s DeGaetano, Pinkernell win title
New Canaan senior golfers Marc DeGaetano and Taylor Pinkernell hadn’t played together this season, but a few days ago, they approached coach Bill Brown about teaming up for the Chappa Invitational.
It turned out to be a perfect combination.
DeGaetano and Pinkernell fired an 8-under-par 61 to win the first Chappa Invitational held during the fall Thursday at Longshore Golf Course in Westport.
“Since freshman year, we’ve been on varsity together, so we’ve played a lot of golf together and we know each other’s game,” DeGaetano said. “Coming into it, we said ‘yeah we think we can go low at this course’ and it just happened.”
The duo won the bestball competition by four strokes over a pair of teams. St. Joseph’s Colin Firda and Andrew Flyn, and Wilton’s Alex Elia and Thomas Rogozinski each
shot 4-under-par 65. Firda and Flynn had scored 61 to win the Chappa tournament in May.
Glastonbury’s Charlie Dolan and Connor Goode, and Staples’ Harrison Browne and Luca Robins were 3-under with 65s.
“Our games kind of complement each other in this (best-ball) format,” Pinkernell said. “Marc’s a little more consistent and he’ll make a lot more pars, and then I’ll have those few good shots and get a few good birdies chances in.”
The event has been held since 1970 and honors longtime Staples golf coach Mike Chappa, who died in 1969 at Longshore, a year after leading the Wreckers to the state title.
Brown said DeGaetano and Pinkernell were consistent throughout the day, shooting 4-under on both the front and back nine.
“Marc’s been putting really well most of the season, and Taylor was making some putts today,” Brown said. “In order to shoot a score like a 61, that’s what you have to do. They were making putts from 20 and 30 feet and when you make those, you’re going to shoot a low score.”
“We came into the day with a game plan,” Pinkernell said. “We knew the front nine was really attackable. We wanted to get the front nine, make a few birdies and make the turn two or three under. Making the turn on the back we just said let’s keep making pars; no need to get super-aggressive.”
The New Canaan pair had eight birdies, with Pinkernell scoring five and DeGaetano scoring three. DeGaetano hit a birdie on the 18th hole to put an exclamation point on the victory.
The field was smaller than in previous seasons, as most of the teams that participated were from FCIAC schools.
Much of that can be attributed to some conferences shifting from the spring to the fall, according to Brown, as only three nonFCIAC schools — Glastonbury, Pomperaug and Masuk — were represented. Seventeen schools participated on Thursday, with 13 entering two teams for a total of 30 pairs.
The Hap Holahan Tournament, an individual competition for FCIAC golfers, will be held Monday at the Country Club of New Canaan,
and the FCIAC team championship will be held at Silver Spring Country Club in Ridgefield on Thursday, Oct. 14.
New Canaan is the defending FCIACchampion, and Brown is hoping the Chappa win is a sign of things to come.
“Taylor and Marc were lights out today; they were really something,” Brown said. “Hopefully they’ll continue that because we have the Holahan in New Canaan on Monday and then we have the big stuff next Thursday (FCIAC) and the following Monday (States).”
“Coming off of last year, we’re going for another championship,” DeGaetano said. “Our team has a lot of talent. We’ve got three solid seniors in me, Taylor and Sam Funk. If the bottom of our lineup just scores well with Cullen (McCarthy) and Sean (Watchmaker), We’ll have a great shot at winning again.”