SCHENECTADY — Last golf season, Lucas Sirois was more concerned about a nasty infection in his left elbow than the status of his swing. What a difference a year makes.
Sirois, originally from Connecticut but now living in Schenectady, was the surprise first-round leader with a bogey-free 4-under-par 68 to grab the first-round lead in the Schenectady Senior Classic Thursday at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
The 56-year-old hospital ICU technician used a new driver to set up his four birdies, and he pulled out an old putter to close the deal. He leads perennial Schenectady Senior Classic contenders Mike Mina of Shaker Ridge CC and Jay Taub, a recently retired heart-and-lung machine operator at Ellis Hospital, by four shots.
Longtime Schenectady Municipal tournament regular Mario Marino of Marino’s Flying Pizza shot a 1-under-par 71 to lead the Super Senior Division by one stroke over lefty Woody Winslow. The Super Senior Division, for players 70-years-old and older, played from the forward tees.
Twenty three players made the cut at 81 in the Senior Division, while 10 players made the cut at 77 and lower in the Super Senior Division.
“I couldn’t wait for this year’s tournament after missing last year’s event,” Sirois said. “Last year, I missed a lot of golf because of the infection. I’ve been playing great lately after I just got a new driver. I’ve added 20 yards off the tee. It’s a Callaway Epic, and it’s amazing when I hit it right. I also putted a lot better today with one of my old putters.”
Sirois said he’s finished in the top-10 a couple of times in Schenectady Muni tournaments over the last couple of years. He’s hoping to keep the momentum he gained after rolling in birdies on the seventh, 10th, 14th and 16th holes without making a bogey all day.
Taub, 64, a consistent cut maker in all the Muni tournaments, used a hot putter to put himself in contention for his first major victory.
“I finished second one year in the Seniors here,” he recalled. “My putter was working really well today, and I also hit my irons pretty good, except for the 18th hole. I must have hit 13 or 14 greens in regulation.”
Taub birdied the fourth, seventh, ninth and 10th holes to offset bogeys on the second, sixth, 11th and 18th holes.
Mina, who also regularly competes in most major tournaments at Muni despite a longtime membership at Shaker Ridge CC, also put himself in contention in the final group with four birdies and four bogeys. He birdied the seventh, ninth, 12th and 16th holes while giving up strokes on the second, fifth, eighth and 14th holes.
Paul Pratico, the heavy favorite after winning the regular Schenectady Classic here at age 60 back in June, had trouble adjusting to the speed of the greens despite hitting his usual high percentage of greens in regulation. He two-putted from the fringe for a birdie on the par-5 second hole and sank a five-foot birdie on the par-13th hole. He gave up strokes on the fifth, sixth and 15th holes.
“The pins were tricky,” said Pratico, who has won eight Schenectady Classic titles, four Schenectady Senior Classic crowns and a NYS Senior Amateur Championship. “I couldn’t get too aggressive with my putts. The greens were a little slower than they were back in June. Maybe I was a little too cautious with the tees being moved up. Maybe I’ve got to be more aggressive with my driver [Friday].”
Ronny Cohen and Andy Bennett, two more Muni regulars, shot 74 in the Senior Division. Carl Gilbert (74), David Sutphen (75), Neil Chambers (75) and Jim Reid (75) are the other leaders in the Super Senior Division.
Tee times begin at 7:15 a.m. for the Super Senior Division, and they start at 7:55 a.m. for the Senior Division.
Made cut — Lucas Sirois 68, Mike Mina 72, Jay Taub 72, Paul Pratico 73, Ronny Cohen 74, Andy Bennett 74, Michael Salvatore 75, Bruce Coons 75, Mike Drake 76, Tony Cristello 76, Mike Carroll 76, Kevin Halburian 76, Dave Demarco 77, Paul Hart 78, Paul Pawlik 78, Paul Toth 79, Jeff Barringer 79, Glenn Coons 79, Mike Pollock 80, Jim Ryan 81, Kevin Dwyer 81, Mark Compton 81, Mark Noe 81, Bill Douglas 81.
Other scores — David Smith 82, Dave Bintz 82, Jim Fazio 83, Gary Grimm 84, Darren Curtis 84, Dan Stopera 86, David Stopera 86, Donald Dobbs 86, Bob Guelzow 87, Robert Rogers 87, Joe Delorenzo 86, Dale Wotherspoon 88, William Harkins 88, Peter Davis 89, Moe Mroczkowski 89, Mike Digiloramo 90, Teddy Celestine 91, Johnny Bobo WD.
Super Senior Division
Made cut — Mario Marino 71, Woody Winslow 72, Carl Gilbert 74, David Sutphen 75, Neil Chambers 75, James Reid 75, Bob Norton 76, Tony Delgado 77, Rit Lackey 77, Ron Anzalone 77.
Other scores — Don Bibby 78, Peter Andrikopoulos 79, James Brodie 80, Don Blaha 81, Peter Maioriello 85, James Gorman 88, Joe Lazzari 89, Bill Perry 98.
Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected]
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