The Malone Golf Club team is in the same position this year as last year, leading after the opening round Saturday of the NNYGA Six-Man Tournament. But it hopes to avoid last year’s fate as Malone faltered on day two and lost the event by a couple of strokes to the St. Lawrence University team.
Once again, the Malone squad leads defending champ St. Lawrence, by nine shots. A year ago, Malone held a 10-stroke cushion on the Tupper Lake course, then squandered that lead to the eventual champs.
This year though Malone has the home-course advantage, just as it did in both 2010 and 2001, the last two times Malone won the Six-Man team title.
“I really feel that we are in good shape this year, especially playing on our home course,” said Malone team captain Kris Hardy, whose squad sits atop the leader board with a 489 strokes. “We were in the same position last year and had a rough second day. This year, with our knowledge of our home course, I truly believe that we are in the driver’s seat.”
The opening day of the tournament was contested on the Malone Golf Club’s West Course, which saw faster-than-normal speeds on the greens and a strong wind blowing in from the southwest, which created a lot of cross-wind conditions on many of the holes.
“It was a beautiful day to play, but a lot of the players had trouble on the greens and with the wind,” added Hardy, who paced the Malone contingent with a 7-over-par 79, a score that has him tied for third overall with eight other golfers.
St. Lawrence University (498) has the top two individuals atop the standings.
Teammates John Pezdek and Aaron Jones, who finished third overall a year ago, are separated by just one stroke, as Pezdek turned in the top individual effort with a 76, blistering the front 9 with a one-over-par 36. Jones is one back with a 77, carding a 39 on the front nine, while shooting a 38 on the back nine.
Massena’s Anthony Viskovich, last year’s medalist, is tied for third along with Hardy, Potsdam’s Rick Berkman, Malone’s Joe Delisle, Massena’s Max Pelifian, Tupper Lake’s Jim Boucher, Potsdam’s Matt Merriman and St. Lawrence University’s Randy Todd.
The 18-hole rounds by Viskovich and Pelifian aided Massena team’s third-place position after the opening round with a 512 team score, while Partridge Run (Canton) is in fourth, two strokes behind the Massena squad. Darren Camp, who is tied for 11th overall with Potsdam’s Chris Taylor, paced the Partridge Run contingent with an opening round of 81, with Potsdam fifth with a 522 total and sits just one shot in front of Carlowden.
Watertown Golf Club (526), Tupper Lake (532) and Gouverneur (560) round out the team field.
Malone also leads in both the senior and super senior events.
Steve Lang holds a five-shot cushion in the senior bracket after shooting an opening round of 74, carding a 39 on the front nine and a one-under 35 on the back. Potsdam’s Tom Smith is second with a 79, while John McHugh (Carlowden) and Dale Raymo (Massena) are tied for third after shooting rounds of 86. .
Malone’s Jim Lusk recorded the best round of the day and leads the Super Senior bracket by six strokes after shooting a 1-over-par 73. Potsdam’s Geoff Brown is second with a 79, with Gouverneur’s Bill Cartwright third with an 80.
The Junior bracket appears to be a one-player race after Potsdam’s Tyler Berkman finished off the opening day with an eight-stroke lead over Massena’s Jacob Dutch. Berkman carded a 78, while Dutch shot an 86.