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Watertown Golf Club sets the pace

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POTSDAM — The individual championship of the 77th annual Northern New York Six-Man Golf Championship is up for grabs after Friday’s opening round at the Potsdam Town and Country Club. Fifteen players are within four strokes or less of the lead.

However, the quest for the team championship may be just about over, even before today’s final round is played.

Watertown’s Joe Tufo and Massena’s Anthony Viskovich are co-leaders after each carded a 75. But Watertown (464) leads second-place St. Lawrence (483) by a whopping 19 strokes in the team standings heading into today’s action. Massena (488) is third followed by Malone (494), Carlowden (497), Ives Hill (501), Tupper Lake (520), host Potsdam (521) and Gouverneur (538).

“We didn’t have our whole team last year, we were missing a few of our top guys when we finished fourth. But today everybody shot in the 70’s and that’s a good showing,” said Tufo who recently placed second in the Watertown City Championship. “I’ve never won this and I’m playing pretty good golf right now. I’d like to hang in tomorrow and win,” added Tufo who shot a strong 34 on the front nine before struggling to a 41 on the back nine.

“I hit in the hazard on 14 and chipped in with a six. Then a putt just flipped out on 17. I was just trying to get in the house and I was happy to finally get there with a 75.”

Viskovich took the opposite path to his 75, settling for a 40 on the front nine after a double bogey on the ninth hole before bouncing back strong with birdies on 13, 14 and 16 en route to a back-nine 35.

“I was walking from nine to 10 and I was a little upset with myself. But those birdies really got me back in it and I’m pretty proud I came back like that,” said Viskovich. “I made some good par putts, putting was definitely the key today...Watertown has a good lead, but we have a couple guys who didn’t play their best today and I know they’ll pick it up tomorrow.”

Rounding out the field for Watertown, which last won the event in 2011, it was Brian Phillips (76), Dan Mullin (77), Tim Phillips (78), Jason Sweeney (79) and Bob Phillips (79).

St. Lawrence received rounds of 78 from both John Pezdek and Joe Keniston followed by Bill Gotsch at 79. Aaron Jones and Rob Brown each carded 82’s.

Also for defending champion Massena, Mike Mailhot and Max Pelifian each shot 79.

Other finishers under 80 included Steve Ahlgrim of Ives Hill and Mike Reilly of Gouverneur, both at 76, along with Wayne Roberts of Tupper Lake at 79.

Host Potsdam struggled on its home course on Friday. They were led by Jim Williams with an 82. Potsdam won the inaugural event in 1934, and owns nine team titles overall, but hasn’t won since 1980.

In the Junior Division, defending champion Devin Delisle leads comfortably with a 76 while in the Senior Division Paul Lambert of Massena leads with a 78 over Ralph Larson of Watertown with an 81.

In the Super Senior Division, Bill Ford of Potsdam leads with a 75, six strokes ahead of Massena’s Omar St. Louis. Ford is aiming for his third straight Super Senior title.

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