Three teams shot even-par rounds of 71 in wet conditions at Taconic Golf Club to finish in a three-way tie in Allied Four-Ball Championship, the opening event of the Allied season.

With darkness closing in, the teams agreed to share the title instead of going to a playoff. Sharing top honors were the teams of Gary Wood and Bill Palko, (Taconic Golf Club), Paul Briggs and Matt Morrison (Wahconah Country Club) and James and John Ryan (Worthington Golf Club).

The Briggs-Morrison team was in good shape to avoid the tie before bogeying Nos. 16 and 17, two of Taconic's toughest tests.

Until then, Briggs said he and Morrison, the former head football coach at Wahconah Regional High School, "Mutt-and-Jeffed it really good."

Briggs said that the course was in great shape, but that it paid off hit it in the fairway.

"With the wetness, the rough was tough," Briggs said. "If you hit it there you were penalized."

It drizzled on and off and there were several few downpours during the round.

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A field of 47 golfers, including seven from Berkshire County, will be seeking berths in this year's Massachusetts Open in a qualifying tournament at the Country Club of Pittsfield on Thursday.

Three of the locals, Wahconah CC assistant professional Milton Torres Jr,, Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club Director of Golf David Strawn and Stockbridge Golf Club head pro Steve Mazzariello will be seeking return trips to the Massachusetts Golf Association's premier event.


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Torres will be trying to make it for the third year in a row. He qualified at Berkshire Hills Country Club the past two years. The move south to the CC of Pittsfield should be no problem for Torres, who worked at the club for 15 years before heading to Dalton.

"That's where I started working on my game, so I know the course well," said Torres of the 6,395-yard track that places an emphasis on accuracy over power. "There are blind shots and there are some dogleg rights that slope left that make it tricky to fit the ball in the fairway. It's all about position and if you don't know the course, it can eat you alive."

Strawn qualified for last year's tournament in the qualifier at the Hills while Mazzariello earned his spot by winning the 2011 Berkshire County Pro Championship. Wyantenuck Country Club head professional Tom Sullivan earned the county's automatic berth for this year's event by winning the county championship last fall.

The other four locals entered are amateurs Davis Mullany of Wyantenuck, Berkshire Hills' Hayden Jarck, Wahconah Country Club's Aaron Klimchuk and Taconic Golf Club's Matt Frietag.

CC of Pittsfield head pro Brad Benson said the course is in great early-season shape.

"The fairways are as good as I have ever seen them and the rough is lush," Benson said. "It will be a good test."

The top eight and ties will advance to the Massachusetts Open at the Woodland Country Club in Auburndale.

Starting times will run from 8 and 9:03 a.m. There is no admission for those wanting to watch some quality golf.

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Welcome to a pair of new lead assistant pros at local clubs.

Joining new Berkshire Hills head pro Mike Hillman, who took over when his cousin, Josh Hillman, moved on to Taconic Golf Club, is 31-year-old Ryan Butterick of Atlanta. Butterick worked with Mike at the Wanderers Club in Wellington, Fla.

Andy Treen, also 31, is the the new top assistant at Taconic. He had been working at Sankaty Head Country Club on Cape Cod. With head pro Josh Hillman serving as golf coach for the Williams men, having an exerpienced lead assistant is important.

Also joining Hillman is former MCLA golfer Shane Ortega, who worked for him at Berkshire Hills.

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Jon Farrell, the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Calderella of Pittsfield, finished second in the 12-14 age division of the Western Mass. Junior Classic held last weekend at the Crumpin-Fox Club in Bernardston and the Country Club of Pittsfield.

Farrell, who lives in the Springfield area but competes in some the Berkshire Monday Junior Series events, had two rounds of 89.