TORRINGTON — You could call it the perfect bookend to her career. Then again, you could argue Pam Zanetto still has a lot of golf left in her.
On Thursday, the 65-year-old Meriden native captured the Connecticut Women’s Senior Open on her home course at Torrington Country Club, shooting a closing 77 to win the two-day tournament by one stroke.
Zanetto did it with a second-day rally. In fifth place after shooting an 81 in Wednesday’s opening round, Zanetto made up a four-stroke deficit on Thursday. She put herself in position to win with a birdie on 17, then parred 18 while her closest challenger double bogeyed the same hole.
Zanetto finished with the day’s best round, which gave her a 158 for the tournament.
“My competitive juices, they’re not like they were 20 years ago,” Zanetto said Thursday night. “Golf is more fun for me now. But this was a big win for me.”
The Senior Open title came 50 years after Zanetto, about to embark on a stellar scholastic career at Maloney High School, won the 1964 Connecticut junior girls championship at the age of 15.
After moving to Torrington, Zanetto won 20 straight club championships at Torrington CC. She never was dethroned, choosing instead to vacate the title and settle into a more relaxed career of best-ball tournaments and invitationals in which she typically plays with a partner.
On Thursday, Zanetto proved her individual mettle still is sound. She was solid down the stretch, playing even-par over the last seven holes as the four women who started the day ahead of her on the scoreboard wilted.
Playing on her home course, Zanetto readily acknowledged, gave her an advantage, especially on the greens.
“The green are very tricky,” she explained. “They’re very slopey, they’re pitched. If you get above the pin, it’s very difficult to putt because you’re putting downhill all the time.”
Most the Open’s 54 competitors indeed went downhill on those fast slopes. There was no lack of three- and four-putts.
Zanetto, working familiar terrain, avoided multiple putts and double bogeys. She had a birdie on No. 8 to go along with the one on 17.
The first birdie came just as Zanetto’s younger brother Stephen arrived from Meriden. For the final 11 holes he rode along in the cart and cheered his sister on. When he got home, Stephen called the R-J.
“This was a big one for Pammy,” he said, “and her baby brother is very proud of her.”