GOLF: Hunt’s on at Hunter! Champs back to defend at Meriden Open with hot pack in pursuit

GOLF: Hunt’s on at Hunter! Champs back to defend at Meriden Open with hot pack in pursuit

reporter photo

MERIDEN — Let the field for the 2019 Meriden Open be warned. Chuck Stupakevich of Wallingford will be back to defend his crown this weekend at Hunter Golf Club.

And, um, Chuck? Here’s a head’s up for you. Among the 70-plus golfers looking to unseat you is Les Zimmerman.

You know Les. He’s the guy who has won a record 12 Meriden championships, plus seven senior city championships.

The latest in the latter category came last week and it came in style. En route to his winning 36-hole score of 141, Zimmerman shot a career-best round of 67.

At age 70.

Les Zimmerman is most definitely back after missing the 2018 Meriden Open to injury. He will rank high among the 2019 favorites as action gets under way Saturday morning at Hunter and concludes on Sunday around high noon.

”He’s going to be hunting them down,” as Hunter club pro Bob Tiedemann remarked this week.

Stupakevich is not the only reigning champion in the mix. Katie Pesko returns to defend the women’s flag.

Neither Stupakevich nor Pesko live in Meriden, so Silver City golfers should be driven by pride both individual and civic to bring the trophies back home.

Even if Meriden golfers fall short in that quest, city champions will be named. There will be two new ones. The 2018 Meriden champs, Kevin Grobsky and Lynne Grobsky, are not playing this year.

The men’s field, along with Stupakevich and Zimmerman, features the likes of Joey Diaz, Terry Slowther and Mike Monopoli. On the distaff side, keep an eye on Betty Slowther and M.J. Petretto of the Hunter Women’s Golf League.

One big absence is Zimmerman’s son Brett, who handily won this year’s Hunter Men’s Club championship. Brett Zimmerman will be helping Tiedemann run this weekend’s Open.

“I think he’d rather see his father win,” Tiedemann said. “Brett, to me, is the best player up here.”

The Meriden Open is sponsored by Meriden Hyundai. The total field of 80-plus is up about 15 golfers from last year.

“I still consider it the highlight of our summer,” said Tiedemann. “Hopefully, we have two good days.”