PITTSFIELD -- A strong field of 47 golfers from six states and two foreign countries will challenge Berkshire Hills Country Club on Monday in an effort to qualify for the United States Mid-Amateur Championship.
The U.S. Golf Association qualifying event field will also include five members of local Allied Association courses including two -- James Ryan and Steve Sykes -- from the host club.
The other Allied golfers in the field are Wahconah Country Club’s Paul Briggs, Worthington Golf Club’s Jim Patterson and Taconic Golf Club’s William Hadden.
Several of the local players are coming off strong weeks.
Ryan, a longtime Worthington Golf Club member before joining Berkshire Hills this year, and his son, Sean, won the Massachusetts Father & Son Championship on Wednesday. That came after Ryan and longtime friend Steve Magargal finished strong (a final-round 67) to capture the First Division in the Little Brown Jug at Wahconah Country Club last weekend.
Briggs and long-hitting partner Aaron Klimchuck shot a final-round 66 in the Jug to finish second in the Championship Division, just a shot behind the winning team of A.J. Oleksak and Pete Alminas. Oleksak, a member at Longmeadow Country Club, is also in Monday’s field.
Ryan and Sykes should know how the A.W. Tillinghast course is playing -- fast and firm is the word from head professional Mike Hillman -- after playing in this weekend’s 54-hole club championship.
"The greens are rolling quick and smooth," Hillman said. "It should be a good test for everyone."
"I’ll probably shoot an 80," joked Ryan about perhaps having a home course advantage because he’s playing the course all weekend. "But, of course, it should help to know just how the course is playing."
The biggest name in the field is nine-time Massachusetts Golf Association Player of the Year Frank Vana Jr. Other top players from around the state making the trip west include Pat Pio III, Paul Nunez and Scott Congdon.
The field includes three players from New Hampshire, two from Vermont, and single entrants from Maine, Tennessee and Louisiana.
The foreign visitors include two players from the Quebec province in Canada and one, Zdenek Jehlicka, from Prague, Czech Republic.
Only the top two finishers will advance to the main event, so it is likely that many will adopt an aggressive game plan in an effort to produce a winning score.
There is no admission to come out and watch some high-level amateurs trying to go low.
MONDAY’S STARTING TIMES
7:30 a.m. -- Steve Sykes, Ajay Beniwal; 7:40 -- Decarlo Rodriguez, Ben Reese; 7:50 -- Kurt Flionis, David Anderson, Jeff Lindo; 8:00 -- Kurt Wuenschel, Brad Hartz, Richard Delisle; 8:10 -- Tommy Brennan, Cort Duda, Damon Lusk; 8:20 -- T.J. Vose, John Geraci, Richard Rousseau; 8:30 -- Paul Nunez, Bill Foley Jr., William Hadden; 8:40 -- Scott Congdon, A.J. Oleksak, Michael Walker; 8:50 -- James Ryan, Paul Briggs, Timothy Bush.
9:00 -- Judd Parsons, Mark Waskiewicz, James Patterson; 9:10 -- Craig Steckowych, Pat Pio III, J.C. Guthrie; 9:20 -- Michael Mertes, Frank Vana Jr., Shawn Scott; 9:30 -- Michael Philipp, Arnold Cunningham, Greg Sutcliffe; 9:40 -- Jeffrey Pudlinski, David Sullivan, James Daley; 9:50 -- Jim Hosey, Craig Stevens, Frankie Sanborn; 10:00 -- Justin Kumpulanian, Zdenek Jehlicka, Chris Dinardi.