STRATFORD—The early season played out much like an up-and-down Round of 18 for Bunnell High senior golfer Chris Serreti.
First came the bad news: Due to a lack of numbers, Bunnell was suspending its boys golf team for the season.
The good news came next: Stratford High, the Bulldogs’ archrival, were willing to step up and allow Serreti to practice and play with the Red Devils during the spring season.
Finally came the first day Serreti played alongside the Red Devils. On the par 3, seventh hole at the Mill River Country Club, Stratford High’s home course, Serreti sank a hole-in-one.
“I was just playing good that day,” Serreti said. “I had played against some of them, but didn’t really know any of them. They started giving me nicknames after that.”
If Serreti is coming up aces for Bunnell this season, it is Stratford that is allowing him to do that.
“The kid’s a senior, he’s played all three years and everything (Bunnell athletic director) Wayne (Thrall) and the coaches say, he’s a really good kid,” Stratford athletic director Tony DeAngelo said. “To not give him the opportunity to play his senior year, would be a travesty.”
Technically, Serreti is a team of one.
He will play as an individual in hopes of qualifying for the SWC and state tournaments later in the spring.
The CIAC had to approve the arrangement and did so, according to Thrall.
Serreti is just thankful for the chance to keep playing.
“I’m very appreciative. It’s great to still be able to play my senior year,” he said. “I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t able to play. I’m just happy they were able to do that for me, to step up and give me the opportunity to play.”
It was actually a bad break that led to Serreti to playing golf.
A broken ankle, that is.
“I was immobile and watched The Master’s and I was like, ‘Hey,’” Serreti recalled. “I called my grandpa to see if he had any old clubs and he goes, ‘I’ve been waiting for this day.’”
He learned the game at Stratford’s Short Beach Golf Course and joined the First Tee program at the Fairchild Wheeler Golf Course.
After three years with the Bunnell program, it almost looked as though he wouldn’t be able to represent the Bulldogs in his final year.
Now, with his hole in one in front of his new practice-mates, he’s given the Bunnell-Stratford sports rivalry a story for the ages.
Serreti used a nine iron on the 149-yard hole, teeing off from the blue tee.
“I hit it and it was a pretty nice shot, but the angle of the hole, you couldn’t see if it went in,” he said. “I got up there and was like, ‘Where’s my ball?’ I was curious and confused. I waited for the other kids to come up and make sure they saw it.”
He finished the round with a score of 40, his personal best for nine holes and kicking off his second shot at a final season in style.
“If I can keep shooting like that, hopefully I can go to states,” Serreti said. “I’m just glad I get to keep playing.”