BREWSTER, Mass. (Sept. 24, 2012) -- Three of the competitors atop the leaderboard at the 2012 Massachusetts Senior Amateur Championship are doing their best to show off their home-course advantage.
After all, this annual MGA Championship - which is being held this week at Cape Cod National Golf Club – is a familiar destination for Kevin Carey (Dennis Pines GC), Joe Walker (Dennis Pines GC) and Joe Keller (Oyster Harbors).
"There is a Cape advantage," said Walker who resides in Dennis and stands just one stroke back of Carey. "Kevin has probably played about 20 rounds of golf here, and I have played eight or nine and it does help you a little bit. When you hit a shot into the green it's nice to know where your uphill putt is going to be and not have to guess."
Carey – Walker's good friend and regular playing partner – concurred with that assessment after he fired a day-low score of 1-under par 71 to hold a one stroke lead over Walker and a two-stroke advantage over Keller and Ian Harrison (Marshfield CC), who both carded scores of 1-over par 73.
"I love it here," said Carey. "I used to play here a lot because I had two good friends who were members."
That local knowledge, along with a punishing driver, paid dividends today.
Carey began his round on the 510-yard, par 5 10th hole and easily reached the green in two and two putted for birdie. He made a second birdie on the 12th hole, but suffered a bogey on the 18th hole to make the turn at 1-under par 35.
"I didn't putt that well but I played good and was happy," said Carey who also managed to get up-and-down from the bunker to save par on the 15th hole.
On the course's front nine, Carey made three birdies – on the 2nd, 5th and 7th holes – and one bogey to find himself 3-under par. He had also just come off a tremendous save on the 311-yard, par 4 7th hole where his second shot found the greenside bunker.
"It was a turning point for me," said Carey. "I had a good drive right down the middle of the fairway. I had 135 yards in and I hit a fat 8 iron into the bunker and then made it out of the bunker."
Staring at a low number for the round, the unfathomable happened just two holes later. Carey sent another good-looking 3 wood off the tee and watched as the ball caught a corner tree about 230 yards out.
"It hit the top of the tree and I saw it bounce up about three feet and that was it," said Carey. "It stayed right there. I had to hit a provisional and I ended up with a 6."
Despite its unfortunate ending, Carey's round was still good enough to stand alone atop the leaderboard with just 18 holes to play on Tuesday.
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