Golf’s a crazy game,” Kirk Hanefeld, Director of Instruction at Salem Country Club, reminded the questioner after firing a seven-under-par 65 Monday at Blackstone National Golf Club in Sutton in the first round of the New England PGA Seniors championship. “You never know what the day will bring.”
In Hanefeld’s case, the hot, humid day in central Massachusetts provided an eight-birdie, one-bogey near-masterpiece for the 64-year-old former Hamilton resident. The 2015 NEPGA Seniors winner had never played the course before.
Playing partner Frank Dully of Kernwood enjoyed a roller-coaster-like round of 70 that featured birdies on holes one and two, then an eagle on 16 and a birdie on 17 to rescue his round. Peabody’s Scott Johnson, long-time pro at Oakley, was at 72.
But Hanefeld, who earned nearly a million dollars playing on the Champions Tour for seven years, was the headliner of the day. “I’m only plying golf once a week these days so I was very happy to shoot a score like that,” Hanefeld, a three-time NEPGA Section champion, said. “I missed only one green, made a lot of 10, 15-footers, yet didn’t have any kick-ins either.”
In other words classic Hanefeld: drives in the fairway, solid iron play, steady putting.
“It’s almost always about my putter,” Hanefeld admitted. “It’s always my big question mark in competition. Tuesday it could be good again or otherwise; looking forward to finding out.”
Other scores of local players included Far Corner’s John O’Connor and Beverly native Mike. Powers at 76, Salem’s Kevin Wood and Gloucester native Dan Gillis at 77.