July 1, 2014
NORTH STONINGTON, Conn. -
UConn golf team member and rising junior Zach Zaback (Farmington, Conn.) won the 112th Connecticut Amateur Championship with a 1-up victory over Kevin Josephson in match play on Friday, June 20.
The 20-year-old Zabach was able to fend off Josephson in the final holes of the Lake of Isles course, capturing the Connecticut Amateur trophy in one of the country’s oldest state amateur tournaments.
“It felt great,” Zaback said. “With a bunch of big players in the field, including some of my teammates, I was able to play well enough to get on top.”
Josephson stormed back from a 3-down deficit only to see Zaback birdie the 15th hole, giving the Husky a 2-up advantage. He handled the pressure and made par on two of the final three holes, earning the win.
“I made a special effort to not get too angry or upset at myself,” said Zaback, who admitted to having some frustration in the late stages of the tournament. “It was tough at the end, especially with that last match. I lost a few holes. In the end, I was able to keep my composure and grind it out.”
Zaback is no stranger to competing in big moments. In his first two years as a Husky, Zaback has won three tournaments, including an individual win at the New England Division I Championships in the spring of 2013. He also has won the Connecticut Cup two times in a row at Ellington Ridge Country Club (fall of 2012, 2013).
Zaback has been the team-leader in average score for both of his collegiate seasons, recording 74.85 in his freshman year and 74.14 per round in his second.
During the coming summer months, Zaback plans to work on his short game, which he believes will dictate his future success. In his next four or five summer tournaments, he wants to especially work on the mental part of his game.
“I’m trying to improve my mental game and mental outlook on the course. It’s going well so far. Sometimes I get angry at myself and it hurts me going forward,” said the Husky rising junior.
Even with some kinks to work out, Zaback is pleased with his progress and takes pride in his triumph at the Amateur Championship.
“The win will give me a lot of confidence going forward. Knowing that in several different pressure situations I was able to calm myself down and focus on the task at hand will serve me well,” Zaback said.
The Connecticut Amateur champion will compete in the 80th Connecticut Open Championship from July 28-30 at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton. An amateur has not won the tournament since 2009, but Zaback feels he has a good chance of breaking that streak.
“I’m just going to go in and keep the same positive mentality,” he said. “I know if I play my game, I can compete with most of the guys out there. Who knows what can happen?”