By Matt Jenkins
---- — BOXFORD — Before the day even began all the golfers knew there would not be a repeat champion in the 39th Annual North Shore Golf Amateur Championship, and after one round a large group of players remains in the hunt to wear this year’s crown.
Andover’s Colin Brennan set the Far Corner Golf Course Fox and Heron 18-hole combination on fire last year, setting a new course record of 65 and pulling away for the win. Brennan is unable to defend his title because he is playing in the 113th United States Amateur Championship this week.
No one ran away with the first round here yesterday and the competition should be intense today in the second and final round. In total, 36 players shot in the 70s with North Andover Country Club’s Scott Farley leading the way with a 71 on the Fox and Hawk combination.
Josh Salah, of Gloucester’s Bass Rocks, is in a three-way tie for second place with Tedesco Country Club’s Jim Katsos and North Andover Country Club’s Alec Brown after that trio each shot 72. Salah finished second to Brennan a year ago while Katsos won the title in 1999.
Craig Farley (North Andover CC), Ki Kwon (Far Corner), Phil Miceli (Sagamore), Dom Petruzelli (Thomson Country Club), and Chris Young (Olde Newbury) are each two shots back from the leader at 73.
“I would say anyone within six shots (has a chance),” Far Corner Director of Golf Bob Flynn said. “We had a little rain about 11 o’clock and guys who went out early thought they would have an advantage because the weather forecast was calling for heavy rain this afternoon, which never happened. It missed us.”
Flynn expects an exciting finish, and he couldn’t remember a year when so many players shot in the 70s. Forty-four players made the cut, which was 81.
Six players shot 74, including Bradford Country Club’s Nick Maccario, Ron Harwood, and Sean Roderick. Myopia’s Matt Sears, Haverhill Country Club’s Greg Poor, and Indian Ridge’s John Gilmartin also finished in that group.
Myopia’s Jake Danforth shot a 75 to stay within striking distance, while Ernie Lupi (Far Corner), Emilio Bardini (Myopia), Bryan Vitale (Ferncroft), Cameron Daley (Olde Salem Greens), Chris Sargent (Far Corner), Cy Kilgore (Tedesco), Bill French (Olde Salem Greens), Tim Cunningham (The Meadow at Peabody), and Jim Whitney (Myopia) also made the cut.
The players agreed that the course was in excellent condition, and Flynn credited Superintendent Torrey Kovalesky for the work he and his staff have put in.
Far Corner has been hosting the North Shore Amateur exclusively since 1980. Bob Flynn’s father Bill Flynn started the North Shore Amateur in 1975. The tournament was held at Thomson Country Club for the first three years, then had one round held at Thomson and the other at Far Corner in 1978 and 1979.
As it stands now, the tournament has an interesting mix of veteran players who have been participating for many years and young players from high school through college age.
“There are a lot of young players coming up and it is the North Shore Championship. For a lot of guys on the North Shore it is their championship. If you’re not from a club on the North Shore that’s invited, then you’re not eligible in the event,” Flynn said.
“Some of the guys are getting a little older. A lot of them have been playing in it for 20-25 years. Some of the older guys have moved on, but a lot of young guys are coming up and we really haven’t lost any interest.”