SCHENECTADY — In major men’s amateur tournaments held at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course, even when Jim Mueller isn’t playing his best, it’s often good enough.
Mueller, the defending and four-time champion, carded a 4-under-par 68 to grab a one-shot lead after the opening round of the Schenectady Senior Classic Thursday. Mueller, also an eight-time winner of the open Schenectady Classic, used a pair of eagles and a birdie to break up a round full of pars. His only bogey was on the par-5 14th hole.
Former champion Tony Cristello, who plays out of Pinehaven Country Club, posted a 69, while Ron Cohen (70), Kevin Broderick (71) and Mike Mina (71) also broke par. Sixty-eight-year-old former champion Mike Carroll shot an even-par 72.
Lefty Woody Winslow took the lead in the super senior division (age 70 and older) with a 72. Super seniors played from the gold tees.
Twenty-five players made the cut for Friday’s final round at 77 or better in the regular senior division. The top six made the cut in the super senior division.
“I didn’t hit the ball that well,” Mueller said. “Plus, I didn’t make that many putts of any length. This round was a lot like most of my rounds this year. I’m not playing well, but this tournament is from the white tees, and I can get the ball in the hole.”
Mueller rolled in a 20-foot putt on the par-5 second hole and an 8-footer on the par-5 12th for his eagles. He tacked on a birdie on the par-5 16th, but said making only a par on the short par-5 ninth was like making a bogey. He also messed up on his next par-5.
“On the 14th hole, I didn’t feel right on the tee, and I should have backed off the shot,” he said. “But I didn’t, and I ended up hitting my tee shot into the woods, resulting in a bogey.”
Like Mueller, Cristello couldn’t get his putter to warm up, but he still had an outstanding round.
“That’s as good as I can play,” he said. “If I could make some putts . . .”
Cristello birdied three par-5s: Nos. 2, 9 and 12, plus the par-4 fifth. He bogeyed the par-4 seventh hole when his tee shot found the trees on the left.
It was a surprising round for the 54-year-old Cohen, who hasn’t played that well in the Schenectady Classic events.
“I was a player back in the day, but I haven’t done much lately,” Cohen said. “I once shot a 65 when I was playing with Bryan Bigley. But I’m just starting to get back into tournaments now. I stayed steady all day and just tried to find fairways and greens. I finally made some putts, as well.”
Cohen birdied the second, ninth, 11th and 16th holes.
Mina, who started playing Schenectady Muni events as a youngster, rolled in four birdies to offset three bogeys, two of them three-putts.
“I got up-and-down from God’s country today,” Mina said.
Broderick had a terrific start, shooting 4-under-par at the turn, but his driver got him into trouble on the back side.
“I had birdies on the first, second, fifth, eighth and ninth holes to go 4-under on the front, but then I hit three bad tee shots that led to penalties on the back nine,” Broderick said. “Those tee shots ruined a very good round.”
Carroll, who plays most of his golf at Mohawk Golf Club, competed in an annual charity event put on by Price Chopper icon Neil Golub recently, and he wasn’t prepared for the speed change on the Muni greens.
“I was struggling with the speed of the greens here, but I hit just about all my fairways and had a pretty nice day,” Carroll said. He birdied the fifth, sixth and 10th holes.
Winslow leads Mario Marino (75) by three shots in the super senior division.
“I love the fact that they let the 70-year-old guys play from the gold tees. At least it gives us an outside chance to compete and hit some approach shots to the green like we used to,” Winslow said.
The highlight of Marino’s round was a chip-in eagle on the ninth hole.
Made the cut — Jim Mueller 68, Tony Cristello 69, Ron Cohen 70, Kevin Broderick 71, Mike Mina 71, Mike Carroll 72, x-Woody Winslow 72, Bob Cooper 73, Jay Taub 73, Paul Hart 73, Paul Pratico 74, Tim Bean 74, Kenny Hall 75, x-Mario Marino 75, Mike Drake 75, Rich Sniffen 75, x-Don Blaha 76, Glenn Stopera 76 x-Jim Reid 76, Kevin Dwyer 76, Mark Compton 76, x-Peter Andrikopoulos 76, Salvatore Romano 76, Dan Conway 77, Dave DeMarco 7, Dave Sutphen 77, David Smith 77, Jim Fazio 77, Mike Salvatore 77, Paul Toth 77, x-Ron Anzalone 79.
x-Super senior division.
Other scores — Johnny Bobo 78, Paul Pawlik 78, Don Bibby 79, Don Lavada 79, Glen Coons 79, Mike Pollock 79, Jim McKillip 80, Moe Mroczkowski 80, Tim Ferrara 80, Jim Brodie Sr. 81, Richard Lackey 81, Tom Higgins 81, Bill Hogan 82, Walt Peretti 82, Carl Gilbert 83, Don Dobbs 84, John Reagan 84, Gary Grimm 85, Mike Zegarelli 85, Tom Bush 85, Joe Genovesi 86, Mike Roswig 86, Tom Nasadoski 86, Bruce Martin 89, Lou Cuevas 91, Joe Lazzari 92, Armand Amedore DQ, Bob Smith WD.
7:00 — Mike Salvatore, Dan Conway; 7:08 — Paul Toth, Jim Fazio; 7:16 — Don Blaha, Jim Reid, Ron Anzalone; 7:24 — Woody Winslow, Mario Marino, Peter Andrikopoulos; 7:32 — David Smith, Dave Sutphen, Dave DeMarco; 7:40 — Rich Sniffen, Kevin Dwyer, Salvatore Romano; 7:48 — Mike Drake, Glenn Stopera, Mark Compton; 7:56 — Tim Bean, Paul Pratico, Kenny Hall; 8:04 — Jay Taub, Bob Cooper, Paul Hart; 8:12 — Kevin Broderick, Mike Mina, Mike Carroll; 8:20 — Jim Mueller, Tony Cristello, Ron Cohen.