SCHENECTADY — On a day when challenging pin positions, gusting winds and several rain showers made playing difficult, Lance Hope flourished during the opening round of the Schenectady Classic Friday at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Hope, a 44-year-old two-time runner-up in this event, carded a 3-under-par 69 to grab a three-stroke lead over three others in the 82-player men’s division. The full field plays another round Saturday, with the top 30 and ties advancing to Sunday’s final round.
Two-time defending champion Nancy Kroll posted a 78 to secure a four-shot lead in the women’s division, which wraps up play Saturday.
After several years of bad luck here, Hope finally secured his first Capital Region major championship by winning the Troy Invitational last summer. He lost in the playoffs to Mike Wheeler in 2016, and to eight-time champion Jim Mueller in 2017.
“I managed the course and stayed out of trouble,” Hope said simply about why he was able to score so well in such demanding conditions. “I hit 13 greens and made some putts. Now I’ve got to keep it going.”
Hope birdied the third, fifth, ninth, 15th and 16th holes. His birdie on 15 was on a chip-in. He three-putted for bogeys on the fourth and sixth holes.
Jim Gifford, making his tournament debut, Niskayuna grad Tyler Gregory and Kyle Adams each shot even-par 72.
“There were a lot of good pins to protect the course here,” said Gifford, a Shenendehowa High School and Siena College graduate whose previous tournament wins include five Saratoga County Amateur titles and several wins in such events as the Edison Invitational and Tri-County Match Play.
“It was the kind of round where I was getting the rust off my game. I haven’t played much,” he said.
Gifford rolled in seven birdies, but suffered a double bogey on the 12th hole when he lost a ball.
Gregory, who plays out of Mohawk Golf Club and is headed to Marist in the fall, birdied the first, second, sixth, ninth, 13th and 18th holes to offset a double bogey on the fourth hole and four bogeys.
“It got very breezy on the back nine,” he said.
Adams, one of twin brothers who plays out of The Edison Club, was a little frustrated with himself after making a few mistakes following a strong start, but he still rolled in three birdies and is right in thick of the hunt.
Mueller and fellow multiple former champion Bob Cooper each shot 73, as did Mark Chylinski. Cooper birdied the ninth and eagled the 12th hole, but had trouble judging the right club on several of the par-3s in the gusting winds.
Former Capital Region Amateur Golf Association Stroke Play champion Joe Fitzsimmons, perennial contender Glenn Stopera, former champ Aaron Simone and former Gazette N.I.E. Junior champion Seth Adams, Kyle’s older brother, each shot 74. Fitzimmons had 16 pars and two bogeys.
Defending champion Paul Pratico had two birdies but shot 77. He suffered a double bogey on the par-3 13th hole and also hit two trees that led to a pair of unforced errors.
In the women’s division, Kroll, a seven-time NEWGA champion and former NYS Women’s Senior Amateur titlist, took a step toward winning her third straight title in this event. She birdied the fifth and ninth holes but also had double bogeys on the first and eighth holes.
“I started off very badly. I was very nervous on the first tee, and I’m not sure why,” she said. “I had a double bogey on that hole and also had a double on the eighth hole.”
Lance Hope 69, Jim Gifford 72, Kyle Adams 72, Tyler Gregory 72, Bob Cooper 73, Jim Mueller 73, Mark Chylinski 73, Aaron Simone 74, Glenn Stopera 74, Joe Fitzsimmons 74, Seth Adams 74, Ben Bates 75, Chad Stoffer 75, Chris Gilbert 75, Michael Dwyer 75, Alex Olbrych 76, Andrew Weise 76, Greg Bennett 76, Kevin Broderick 76, Nick Braman 76, Tom Salmon 76, Tom Salmon 76, Carter Flanigan 77, Michael Kelly 77, Paul Pratico 77, Rob Bigley Jr. 77, Mike Wheeler 78, Connor Adams 79, Eric Wasserbach 79, Mike Stopera 79, Nicholas Roney 79, Ryan Tatlock 79, Todd Czepiel 79, Walt Peretti 79, Jim Welch 80, Joshua Powers 80, Mike Drake 80, Rich Duff 80, Brian Schlansker 81, Drew Smith 81, Matthew McCaffrey 81, Ross Lackey 81, Jim Gardy 81, Mike Mina 82, Tim Bean 82, Tim Potter 82, Tony Cristello 82, Dan Ireland 83, Greg Wyman 83, Jay Taub 83, Jerry Brescia 83, Adam Cahill 84, Joe Cimmino 84, Mark Compton 84, Matthew Rentz 84, Mike Pollock 84, Brandon Alois 86, Dan Giovannangelo 86, John Courter 86, Paul Hart 86, Carl Gilbert 87, Ron Cohen 87, Jason Nagel 88, John Mendrysa 88, Tim Flanigan 88, Andy Bennett 89, Jim Fazio 89, Paul Carnevale 89, Peter Davis 90, Chris DiCocco 91, Jason Hoch 92, Salem Jacobsen 92, Patrick Thornton 93, Shaun Miller 93, Mike DiGiloramo 94, Chris Stopera 95, Brandon Roberts 98, Matthew Wilgocki 98, Don Dobbs 100, Eric Borden 100, Steven Caiazza 102, Brandon Hasse DQ.
Gross: Nancy Kroll 78, Mary Scatena 82, Rachel Barrette 82, Anne Poulin 87, Kathy Duguay 88, Kathy Canestrini 89, Mary Ann Keeler 89, Deb DiMaggio 92, Mary Corrigan 94, Cherie Bramley 97, Noreen Leonard 99, Carol Aiello 101. Net: Keeler 69, Kroll 70, Barlette 73, Poulin 73, Scatena 74, Canestini 76, DiMaggio 76, Corrigan 76.
7:02 — Alex Olbrych, Walt Peretti, Todd Czepiel.
7:10 — Joshua Powers, Bob Cooper, Jim Gifford.
7:20 — Jim Fazio, Jason Nagel, Peter Davis.
7:30 — Shaun Miller, Ben Bates, Chris DiCocco.
7:40 — Brian Schlansker, Greg Wyman, Seth Adams.
8:50 — Nicholas Roney, Brandon Roberts, David Smith.
9:00 — Andrew Weise, Patrick Thornton, Joe Cimmino.
9:10 — Mark Compton, Glenn Stopera, Chris Stopera.
9:20 — Brandon Alois, Jerry Brescia, Mike Pollock.
9:30 — Adam Cahill, Jason Hoch, Salem Jacobsen.
9:40 — Tony Cristello, Paul Hart, Ross Lackey.
9:50 — Kyle Adams, Eric Borden, Michael Kelly.
10:00 — Jim Welch, Tim Potter, Matt Wilgocki.
10:10 — Mike Drake, Eric Wasserbach, Mike Stopera.
10:20 — Joe Fitzsimmons, Matt McCaffrey, Jim Gardy.
10:30 — John Courter, Dan Giovannangelo, Tim Bean
10:40 — Mike Mina, Greg Bennett, John Mendrysa.
10:50 — Paul Pratico, Jay Taub, Ron Cohen.
11:00 — Nick Braman, Rob Bigley Jr.
11:10 — Don Dobbs, Carl Gilbert, Chris Gilbert.
11:20 — Mike Wheeler, Tom Salmon, Andy Bennett.
11:30 — Kevin Broderick, Jim Mueller, Mark Chylinski.
11:40 — Aaron Simone, Lance Hope.
11:50 — Rich Duff, Steven Caiazza, Dan Ireland.
12:00 — Carter Flanigan, Chad Stoffer, Michael Dwyer.
12:10 — Ryan Tatlock, Tim Flanigan, Paul Carnevale.
12:20 — Sean Mallia, Matt Rentz.
12:30 — Tyler Gregory, Mike DiGiloramo, Connor Adams.
8:00 — Cherie Bramley, Noreen Leonard, Carol Aiello.
8:10 — Mary Ann Keeler, Deb DiMaggio, Mary Corrigan.
8:20 — Kathy Canestrini, Kathy Duguay, Anne Poulin.
8:30 — Mary Scatena, Rachel Barlette, Nancy Kroll.