FAIRFIELD, Conn. (July 25, 2011) -- One hundred twenty-eight players, including seventy-one of the region’s top professionals, began the day with hopes of capturing the 77th Connecticut Open Championship. At the conclusion of round one, David Pastore, an amateur from eClub of Fairfield, finds himself in the lead.
Pastore, a Greenwich native and 2009 Connecticut Public Links Champion, shot a five-under par round of 66 to take an early two shot lead. Pastore had only one bogey on the day to go with four birdies and an eagle which came on the uphill 463-yard par five eighth hole. Pastore is looking to become the first amateur to win the Open since Jeff Hedden from Black Hall Club took home the trophy at Round Hill Club in 2008. Hedden, who won the New England Amateur last week, is also in the field and is six shots back after an opening round 72.
With nine past Connecticut Open champions in the field Frank Bensel from Danbury, Conn. had the low round of the day with a three-under par 68. Bensel, who won his title in 2009 at Hartford Golf Club, is tied for second place with Evan Beirne from New Haven Country Club. This is Beirne’s first Connecticut Open as a professional having earned an exemption into this year’s Championship by finishing runner-up as an amateur last year. Several other former champions are near the top of the leaderboard including Jim St. Pierre from Redding Country Club (71), Kevin Giancola from Canton, Conn. (71), Steve Sokol from Orange Hills Country Club (74) and defending champion Kyle Gallo from Kensington, Conn. (74).
Kyle Gallo’s record in the Connecticut Open over the past fourteen years has been nothing less than remarkable. In that time Gallo has claimed four Open titles and finished second another four times. With a repeat this year Gallo, who is coming off a victory in the Massachusetts Open earlier this month, would become the first player to win this championship five times surpassing a record set by John Golden seventy-six years ago.
Play will resume tomorrow morning at 7:00am with tee times running until 2:20pm. Following the conclusion of the second round, the field will be cut to the low forty players including ties for the final round on Wednesday.
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