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Potsdam leads Massena after first day at NNY Six-Man Tournament

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MASSENA - The 76th annual Northern New York Six-Man Golf Championship became a two-team race on Friday.

“The course conditions were great and our guys from top to bottom had a very good day,” said Bill Coates, captain of the Potsdam Town and Country Club team which closed out the first day of the tournament atop the leaderboard.

The trio of Rick Gilchrist, Ryan Williams and Nick Miller all carded two-over par rounds of 73 at the Massena Country Club to anchor Potsdam’s team total of 455, three strokes ahead of the host team at 458.

“We’re excited to be where we are but we know Massena will come ready to play tomorrow, especially with them being on their home course,” said Coates. “I’m sure our guys will go out and do the best they can.”

Potsdam, which won the inaugural NNY Six-Man tournament in 1934 and has since captured a total of nine team titles, will enter today’s second round looking to end a championship drought that dates back to 1980. Massena, meanwhile, has won the tournament 13 times, most-recently in 2005.

“The tees were back and some of the pins were in some interesting spots but our guys played good, steady rounds and we’re right there near the top,” said Massena captain Max Pelifian. “Potsdam put up some nice scores today. Hopefully, we can play just as steady again tomorrow and take off a couple of shots here and there to make up the difference.”

The host team produced the individual leader as Tom Post fired an even-par 71 that consisted of four birdies, four bogeys and 10 pars.

“We’re all amateur golfers here and on any given day we can have our good game or maybe not have our good game. Today, my good game showed up,” said Post. “I was pretty relaxed the whole round and if I stay loose, who knows what can happen tomorrow.”

“More importantly, I want to help our team win and I know I can if I stay in the same mind-set that I had today,” he added. “We all had solid rounds today and we’re playing on our home course. Hopefully, we can take advantage of that.”

Rounding out the scoring for Potsdam were Bob Sassone with a 75, Rick Berkman with a 78 and Geoff Brown with an 83. Following Post for Massena were Justin Tyo with a 74, Matt Supernault and Anthony Viskovich with 76’s, Pelifian with a 79 and Lenny Garrow with an 82.

Tied for third in the team standings at 471 were St. Lawrence Golf Course of Canton and Carlowden Country Club.

Defending team champion Ives Hill Country Club of Watertown only had one golfer on this year’s team who was part of last summer’s record-setting performance at the Watertown Golf Club.

“We usually have 20 guys or so for our qualifier and this year we only had six so that was our team,” said captain Steve Ahlgrim, who shot an 80 along with Todd Weller as Ives Hill sat tied for last place with Tupper Lake with a team score of 491.

“Our course is up for sale and there are a lot of things that are up in the air right now,” he added. “Ives Hill has won this tournament 30 times and we would need a miracle to win it this year. It’s very possible that last year could be the last time we win this.”

Rounding out the team standings on Friday were Watertown Golf Club at 477, Malone Country Club at 479 and Gouverneur Country Club at 488.

Brushton-Moira sophomore Devin Delisle, the reigning Section 10 champion, moved into good position to defend his NNY Junior Division title after carding a 74 on Friday, four strokes ahead of Massena’s Hunter Francis at 78. In the Super Senior Division, defending champion Bill Ford led the way with a 72 followed by St. Lawrence’s Sam LaMacchia at 76. The Senior Division leader after the first day is Massena’s Don LaBaff, who shot a 74 to take a six stroke lead over Phil Hunter of Carlowden into the second day.

The tournament resumes this morning at 8 a.m. The lead group of Post, Gilchrist and Jason Rennie of Carlowden is slated to hit off the first tee at 10:20 a.m.

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