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Vayda wins Matterhorn International with an ace on fifth playoff hole

Simsbury’s Dave Vayda, center, won his first Matterhorn International Pro-Am title on Saturday with an ace. Justin Seymour, left, finished second with Caleb Smith, right, taking third. (Photo courtesy Matterhorn Mini-Golf)

Every stroke counts at the Matterhorn International Pro-Am miniature golf tournament in Canton. On Saturday, two-time champion Justin Seymour of Manchester had a one-stroke with one hole remaining.

Seymour had a four at the 18th hole, opening the door for Simsbury’s David Vayda, who sank a long putt for a three and move into a tie for the lead after three rounds. Both men finished with a three-round score of 116, one stroke off the tournament record.

It took a record five extra holes before Vayda got a hole in one to win the Matterhorn International Pro-Am for the first time on Saturday (Sept. 16). It was Vayda’s four aces of the tournament.

Along with the championship trophy, Vayda also earned an automatic bid to next April’s World Minigolf Sport Federation’s World Adventure Golf Tour final in the Czech Republic.

This is the first year of the World Minigolf Sport Federation tour, which consists of 12 tournaments in 11 countries. The Matterhorn International Pro-Am is the only U.S. stop on the tour.

Vayda started off the tournament with a nine-under-par 36, tying the tournament record for a low score. He followed that with back-to-back scores of 40. Seymour had back-to-back rounds of 38 to tie Vayda after two rounds. The two swapped the lead throughout the third and final round.

Farmington’s Caleb Smith, who won the amateur division in 2021, finished third with a 119. A record 29 professionals participated in the tournament, which paid out a purse of $1,250 to the top eight finishers. There were golfers from eight states in the tournament.

In the amateur division, Patrick Kavanagh from Hackensack, N.J. won the tournament with a one-stroke win over Simsbury’s Jeff Pomeroy, 124-125. Robin Schwartzman from Minneapolis, Minnesota was third with a three-round total of 126.

Jeff Pomeroy, left, Patrick Kavanaugh, center and Robin Schwartzman were the top three finishers in the amateur division of the Matterhorn International Pro-Am Saturday in Canton. Kavanaugh won the event. (Photo courtesy Matterhorn Mini-Golf)

“I am incredibly happy with the turnout for the tournament and the weather couldn’t have been better,” said tournament organizer Pat Sheridan from the American Minigolf Alliance and the Putting Penguin website. “The players all brought their best games and there were battles for position all over the leaderboard. You couldn’t write a better ending than an ace to win a playoff.

“I’m very happy for Dave to become our sixth tournament champion and to punch his ticket to the WAG Tour Final to play against some of the best miniature golfers in the world,” Sheridan said.

The Matterhorn International Pro-Am is a “blue” level event of the American Minigolf Alliance (AMA), the highest category of competition. The AMA started in 2022 and includes 20 tournaments in the 2023 season.  You can find out more about the AMA at

More information about the world tour, the rankings and qualifications can be found at

2023 Matterhorn International Pro-Am
At Canton
Professional Division

Player 1R 2R 3R Total
x-Dave Vayda, Simsbury, CT, $500 36 40 40 116
Justin Seymour, Manchester, CT 38 38 40 116
Caleb Smith, Farmington, CT 38 42 39 119
y-Mark Novicki, Bethel, CT 38 43 39 120
Randy Vale, Cheshire, CT 40 43 37 120
Bill Mezier, NY 40 39 42 121
Griffin Weiss, NJ 40 39 42 121
z-Kyle Courcy, ME 42 41 39 122
Matt Liles, CT 41 41 40 122
Jeremy Inabinet, IL 39 43 40 122
x-won playoff on fifth extra hole
y-won playoff to finish fourth
z-won playoff to finish eighth
29 golfers participated, par 45 for 18 holes

Amateur Division

Player 1R 2R 3R Total
Patrick Kavanaugh, Hackensack, NJ 41 42 41 124
Jeff Pomeroy, Simsbury, CT 42 44 39 125
Robin Schwartzman, Minneapolis, MN 45 42 39 126
William Lancaster, CT 47 43 41 131
Heather Garvin, CT 42 47 43 132
Joel Smith, CT 48 44 41 133
Dan Fredenburgh, CT 45 42 46 133
Trish Weiss, NJ 44 43 47 134
David Hudon, CT 48 43 43 134
Joseph Lombardi, CT 46 46 46 138
18 golfers competed, par 45 for 18 holes

Complete 2023 Matterhorn International Pro-Am results

Previous Matterhorn International Pro-Am champions
Five rounds
2017: Mark Novicki, Danbury, 198
2018: Justin Seymour, East Hartford, 198
2019: Justin Seymour, East Hartford, 196
2020: Dylan Koerner, 201
Three rounds
2021: Pat Sheridan, Berlin, 115**
2022: Matt Liles, Glastonbury 115
2023: Dave Vayda, Simsbury, 116*
*Won in a 5-hole playoff
**Won in a 3-hole playoff

Three rounds
2017: Stephen Langlois, East Granby, 129
2018: Daniel Hurley, Canton, 125*
2019: Brian Hogan, Avon, 127
2020: Chris Mamrosh, 127**
2021: Caleb Smith, Farmington, 120
2022: Darren Smith, Farmington 122
2023: Patrick Kavanaugh, Hackensack NJ, 124
*Won in 3-hole playoff
**Won in a 1-hole playoff

Tournament historical results

Previous coverage


Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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