On a day when almost everyone agreed that Wolferts Roost Country Club was there for the taking, only one player delivered.
Brandon Haase of Mohawk Golf Club rolled in four birdies and survived a three-hole stretch of poor weather to shoot a two-under-par 68 in the opening round of the Capital Region Amateur Golf Association Stroke Play Championship Friday afternoon.
Haase, 39, leads former champion Dan Russo of Rolling Hills at Antlers Country Club by three shots. Defending champion Jim Welch of Olde Kinderhook, former Troy Invitational and Tri-County Match Play titlist Steve Quillinan Jr. of Colonie Golf & Country Club and former Albany County Amateur champion Jim Bologna are another shot back with 72.
The final round will be today, with tee times between noon and 2 p.m.
A steady downpour Thursday night and early Friday morning softened up the Roost layout and made shooting at the pins a lot easier. But another late storm at about 4 p.m. caused a half-hour delay and affected the scoring.
“I was lucky,” said Haase, a multiple Mohawk Member-Guest champion. “The storm hit me for only about three holes, and I was able to go even-par through that stretch. “The greens held up and were in great shape. Plus, I know this course extremely well. The greens were almost too receptive, because you weren’t sure how much spin you were going to get.”
Haase began the day with a key up-and-down par on the second hole. He also saved par from out of the bunker on No. 5.
“The weather hit us on about the sixth hole, and that’s when I made my first birdie,” said Haase. “My only three-putt was on the seventh hole, and I parred the eighth hole. That stretch didn’t hurt me that much.”
Haase also birdied the ninth hole, the 10th hole and the 17th hole. His only other bogey was on the 11th hole, when he chunked his uphill approach shot.
“It was a very good round,” said Haase, who is attempting to win his first major area championship. “I hit the ball well today, and I putted pretty well, too. I just had that one three-putt.”
The weather affected some players more than others, despending on their tee times.
“It was crappy weather,” said the 55-year-old Russo. “It was a junky day for everybody. It always slows things down when you have that much rain.”
Russo did most of his scoring damage early with three consecutive birdies on the third, fourth and fifth holes. He suffered a double-bogey on the sixth hole when he hit his wedge out of bounds. His bogey on the 12th hole was caused by an errant tee shot which landed under a tree.
“The greens were soft, and there were a lot of back pins that were hard to get to,” said Russo.
Quillinan’s only birdie of the day was a chip-in on the 14th hole. He had three bogeys.
“My putting was lousy,” he said. “I hit a few good shots, but I didn’t make any putts. I thought the course played easy and soft. There should be some good scores out here.”
Welch had his share of birdies, but he was inconsistent with his driver.
The three-time Troy Invitational champion and former New York State Mid-Amateur titlist birdied the ninth, 12th, 13th and 18th holes. But he started off his round with a bogey on the opening hole and also bogeyed the eighth and 15th holes. An approach shot into a bunker resulted in a double-bogey on the 16th hole.
Brandon Haase 68, Dan Russo 71, Jim Welch 72, Steve Quillinan Jr. 72, Jim Bologna 72, Dave Hayes 73, Kevin Broderick 74, Justin McCarthy 75, Mike Wheeler 76, Chad Stoffer 76, Tanner Donovan 76, Hunter Donovan 76, Jim Gifford 77, Louis Walsh 77, Justin Farrell 77, Mike Altobello 77, Dave Huestis 78, Tom Salmon 78, Davis Jensen 78, Dave Mooradian 79, Bryan Barach 79, Joe Quillinan 80, Mike McCarroll 81, Matt Panneton 82, Andrew Petroff 82, Adam Bunkoff 83, Chris Lyons 83, Greg Bennett 85, Joe Kilmartin 86, Thomas Cassidy 87, Mike Java 87, Peter Jorgensen 88, Jonathon Squires 88, Matt Arnold 88, Liam Baynes 89, Jack Sneeringer 89, Chris Jenkins 91, Steve Quillinan 91.