Conn. Palmer Cup: Paladino leads early
WATERBURY, Conn. (May 21, 2013) -- Cody Paladino of Wethersfield Country Club fired a 2-under par round of 67 to grab the first round lead at the 10th Russell C. Palmer Cup. He leads by a single shot over Dave Szewczul of Tunxis Plantation CC, John Flaherty of TPC River Highlands, and defending Champion Sam Bernstein of the Course at Yale.

Conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association, the Russell C. Palmer Cup is a 54-hole stroke play competition being played at the Country Club of Waterbury on Monday and Tuesday, May 20th and 21st. Named for former Executive Director of the CSGA and Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame Member Russell C. Palmer, the event features Connecticut's top amateur golfers who are vying for the state's amateur stroke play title. The par-69 Donald Ross layout was originally founded in 1899 and is set up to play at a total of 6,539 yards for the competitors.

Paladino's round of 2-under par 67 featured only a single bogey on the par-4 7th hole, which was offset by a birdie on #3 and an eagle on #9. Paladino, the 2006 CSGA Player of the Year, played steady the entire day and avoided the thick rough that caused havoc for many of the players.

"I played pretty well all day and two putted from a lot of tough spots," Paladino said. "I like my chances for tomorrow and I don't think I'm going change anything in terms of strategy. The course is a par-69, so as long as you keep shooting in the 60's you should always have a chance."

While Paladino holds the overnight lead, he is being closely chased by a host of players, including the 2012 defending Champion Sam Bernstein, who recorded a 1-under par round of 68. His title defense started off strong, which included birdies on holes #6 and #7 and an eagle on #9. Although he struggled toward the end of his round, Bernstein finds himself only one shot back and in great position heading into the 36-hole finale tomorrow. "It feels good to be back here as the defending champion, a lot better than not being the defending champion," said Bernstein with a laugh. "We'll see how tomorrow goes. I'm happy to be in a position to have a chance at winning, so it should be a lot fun."

Also tied for second is the 2012 CSGA Player of the Year Dave Szewczul, who used a back-nine score of 33, including birdies at #16 and #18, to leap into the final group with Bernstein and Paladino. "All in all it was a solid round, I didn't really get ahead of myself," said Szewczul. "Anytime you're up around the lead you feel like you have as good a shot as anyone." Rounding out the group at 68 is John Flaherty, currently a freshman at the University of Connecticut, who also finished strong with a back-nine 31 to finish at 68.

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