Bobby Leopold grabs early Rhode Island Mid-Amateur lead
Bobby Leopold <br>(USGA Photo)</br>
Bobby Leopold
(USGA Photo)
EAST PROVIDENCE, RI (August 15, 2016) -- Dean Parziale does not have the same history in RIGA events as Bobby Leopold, George Pirie and Brad Valois. On Monday, though, Parziale was right there battling for the lead with those other guys.

In some ways, Parziale had the most exciting day of anyone in the opening round of the association’s 23rd Mid-Am Championship at Metacomet.

Leopold, Pirie and Valois have made it a habit to put their name high on RIGA leaderboards. Rarely, though, have all three been at the top at the same time as they did Monday.

Leopold holds the lead, thanks to a bogey-free 4- under 66. Hall of Famer Pirie recorded a 67 and so did four-time Amateur champion Valois to be part of a three-way tie for second.

He needed every shot because his 67 was good enough for only a tie for the Senior Division lead with the day’s surprise star, Parziale. Parziale turned in perhaps the most impressive performance of all. Playing from the blue, rather than the black tees, Parziale carded a 67 that included eagles on the only two par-5s on the course.

Parziale, who stands in second place to Paul Quigley in the association’s Senior Player of the Year race, got home on the par-5 second hole with a four hybrid and canned a 15-footer for eagle. Then, on the par-5 ninth, he hit a seven iron within three feet for another eagle. He also had birds of 4, 14 and 16 so that even with four bogeys he posted a 3-under total on the day.

As it is, the 56-year-old Parziale has only a share of the Senior Division lead because Pirie is in that division too, even though he is playing from the back tees. Seniors who play from the back tees are eligible to compete on both the overall and the Senior Division competition.

Pirie had a memorable day of his own with four birdies and only one bogey (on the third hole) playing from the back, which is 6,501-yards. At age 66, he came within one stroke of shooting his age. He refuses to take advantage of the policy the RIGA instituted two years ago allowing players 55 and older to play from shorter tees.

"I won’t be doing that any time soon," he said of teeing it forward. Pirie won this event in 2000, when it was held at Valley, his home course.

The overall leader, Leopold, did not create nearly as much excitement as Pirie and Parziale did in the Senior Division. Leopold, in fact, credited the relaxed atmosphere with helping him have such a good day.

"It’s easy when you don’t think about it too much," Leopold said.

Valois shot 67 and was a bit disappointed. Playing on his home course, he went out in 4-under 32 and when he birdied the 243-yard par-3 12th, stood at 5- under. But then he doubled the par-4 14th and settled for his 67.

"I missed a five-footer on 11 and missed a six- footer on 13, then got mad and did something stupid. I’ve done it before," said Valois.

Jamie Lukowicz, who has won this event each of the last two years is not competing because of work requirements.

View results for Rhode Island Mid-Amateur Golf Championship

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