Three Men Inducted Into Greater Norwich Golf Hall Of Fame

By: Kieran Coffey

Three men inducted into Greater Norwich Golf Hall of Fame

NORWICH – Three men were recently inducted into the Greater Norwich Golfers' Hall of Fame, Felix Biviano, John T. Mancini and Douglas J. Cottle.

• Felix Biviano was born in Norwich in July 1914. He was raised along with his seven siblings, four sisters and three brothers. The Biviano family was very close and all the children helped with the household chores and any odd jobs that would bring home a few dollars. For the boys, one of those jobs, in the summer months, was caddying at Canasawacta Country Club.

When Felix was in high school, he starred in two sports. He was an outstanding center on the football team and at the time, 1930-1932, the best high school golfer that Norwich had ever seen.

As a high school golfer, Felix was the medalist in almost every match he played, with scores of sub 40 almost every time. His teammates were names like Sam Elia, (Hall of Fame inductee), Buff Magistro, Tony LaGrecca and Felix's younger brother Angelo (Stig) Biviano, (another HOF inductee).

Shortly after graduating high school, at the age of 19-years-old, on August 23, 1932, he broke the nine hole course record at CCC, with a three under 33, and tied the 18 hole record, with an even par 72. He was the premiere player at CCC for years to come. On July 25, 1933, he scored his first hole-in-one on what is now hole 17, then 3, 225 yards.

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While Felix remained in Norwich, he played in, and won many local tournaments. One of his proudest accomplishments came in August, 1941, just before moving to Florida. When playing in the Southern Tier Amateur Championship, Felix lost to future PGA Tour player Art Wall Jr. in the semi-final match 2-1.

After Felix moved to Florida, he continued his fine play, winning many city and county amateur championships. He then turned pro for a few years, in order to teach others to play the game he so loved.

Former Canasawacta pro, Fred Zahner, who played many Wednesday golf matches with Stig Biviano, Felix's brother, once asked Stig, “who was the best amateur player you ever saw and played with?' His answer was, “My brother Felix. He was twice the player that I was.”

Felix is a true legend of the game in this area. He passed away in January 1967, at the age of 52, in Lake Worth, Florida.

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