The Allied Golf Association's season begins Saturday at Stockbridge Golf Club with the Allied Four-Ball Championship. With 103 two-man teams entered, it's obvious that the county's golfers are anxious for tournament competition.
There will be shotgun starts at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. to accommodate the huge field as they attempt to avoid the ever-present Housatonic River and go low on the challenging par-71 course.
The field includes more than a dozen teams that could be in the title chase including the defending champions, Skyline Country Club's father-and-son team of Paul and Matt Gilardi, who will play in the afternoon.
One thing is virtually certain — this year's finish is unlikely to match the somewhat bizarre scenario that unfolded on the Gilardi duo's home course last year.
When the scores were posted, Paul and Matt had tied the Berkshire Hills Country Club team of Jeff Puleri and Steve Sykes with a best-ball 4-under 67, forcing a playoff. Unfortunately, Puleri had to leave to attend to his job as MCLA's sports information director with the Trailblazers softball team playing an NCAA Division III tournament game. That left Sykes to take on the Gilardis in a one-hole playoff -— Sykes also had an appointment that meant he would also have to depart, so if the teams tied on the hole there would be co-champions. The Gilardi team, however, prevailed with a par.
But the saga didn't end there. It was discovered after the playoff that Paul and Matt had actually shot a 66, which meant a playoff hadn't even been necessary. In some cases, an incorrect scorecard leads to a disqualification, but not in this case because the hole-by-hole scores were correct.
"The score on every hole has to be correct," Skyline head professional Jim Mitus said at the time. "There is no penalty for bad addition."
Mitus called the winners on the phone and confirmed the hole-by-hole score to make it official.
Puleri and Sykes will get another chance on Saturday when they tee off in the afternoon wave.
One standout foursome in the morning wave features two teams with the ability to set a target score for the afternoon — Berkshire Hills' Bob Linn and Randy Driscoll along with past champions Matt Ortega (Stockbridge GC) and John Dahrouge (Berkshire Hills).
Other top teams teeing off early include Torrington Country Club's Dick Weigold and Ray Underwood as well as Wahconah Country Club's Paul Briggs and Matt Morrison.
In the afternoon wave, the Country Club of Pittsfield's Matt Scarafoni, who is capable of making plenty of birdies on his own, will be paired with his father, Gary. They have combined for 17 club championships with Matt winning 13 and his dad capturing four.
Teams to look out for in the afternoon include Greenock Country Club's brother duo of Tom Jr. and Matt Keenan, the Berkshire Hills pairing of Ralph Dastoli and Steve Magargal. Wyantenuck Country Club's Mike Kinna and Brian Cunningham, as well as the team of Chris Shields (Stockbridge) and Adam Kirby (CC of Pittsfield).
To contact Richard Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-281-2226.