Tournaments and Trophies
Fairfield’s clubs and courses have hosted a variety of nationally and locally important tournaments over the years.
“Gold Ball” tournaments, organized at the Country Club of Fairfield during the 1920s by Robert T. Vanderbilt, attracted national attention to the new club as well as substantial galleries of spectators. Top male and female amateurs from all over the country – including champions Francis Ouimet, Glenna Collett Vare, and Jesse Sweetser – competed in these contests, which were accompanied by a round of social events hosted by club members. Winners took home either a gold, silver, or bronze ball provided for the occasion by the renowned New York City jewelry firm Black, Starr & Frost.
More recently, the Country Club of Fairfield has hosted the Connecticut Open, the Metropolitan Golf Association’s Open in 2008 and the MGA’s Father and Son Championship in 1994. In 2012 the club hosted the organization’s newest championship, the MGA Masters Tournament.
In 1974, Brooklawn Country Club hosted its first national competition, the USGA’s Junior Amateur Championship. The championship, which was first held in 1948, is among the most difficult to win of all USGA tournaments; Tiger Woods is one of the few to win it more than once. At Brooklawn, the title went to David Nevatt who defeated Mark Tinder.
Building on that experience, the club hosted the U.S. Women’s Open in 1979. The U.S Women’s Open is the oldest championship open to women professionals and amateurs, and has become the world arena of women’s golf. In 1979, Brooklawn set a four-day attendance record for the tournament of 41,200. Jerilyn Britz was the championship’s winner.
The club played host again in 1987 to the U.S. Senior Open, which had recently been established because of the remarkable growth of senior golf at both the professional and amateur levels. Gary Player, who had won the U.S. Open in 1965 and joined Gene Sarazen and Ben Hogan in winning the Career Grand Slam of four major golf championships, captured the Senior Open at Brooklawn.
In 2003, the U.S. Girls’ Junior championship was held at Brooklawn. It was won by Sukjin-Lee Wuesthoff, whose victory over defending champion In-Bee Park was the greatest comeback in the championship’s history.
The Borck Junior Golf Tournament was first held in 1969 to honor Jay Borck, a promising young golfer who died at age 16, one week after winning the Brooklawn Junior Championship. His brother, father, and family friends Paul Hiller and Samuel and Giles Payne believed that a world-class junior golf tournament would be the best way to memorialize him. Now in its 46th year, the tournament includes a Borck Memorial Scholarship for deserving students affiliated with the game of golf. It is open to golfers under age 17 from the greater Bridgeport/Fairfield area, and is hosted by a different golf course each year, giving contestants the opportunity to play some of Fairfield County’s best public and private courses.