Josh Shepard

Josh Shepard, here at a Mass. Amateur Qualifier earlier this summer, shot a 4-under 68 to lead after Round 1 at Berkshire Hills' annual Singles Championship.

PITTSFIELD — After Day 1 of the 66th annual Singles Championship at Berkshire Hills Country Club, it is Josh Shepard leading the way.

The Country Club of Pittsfield member eagled his final hole for an opening-round 68, taking a one-stroke lead over Clinton Lange and the host club's Mike Kays.

Shepard hit the turn in 1-under 34, but picked up steam on the back nine with birdies on 10 and 15, finishing at 4-under.

Lange, who plays out of the Albany area, birdied three holes on his venture through the back nine, finishing at 3-under 69. Meanwhile, Kays, a rising senior at American International who played his high school golf at Berkshire Hills for Taconic, birdied three of his final four holes to charge into a second-place tie.

Lancelot Hope, another Albany area player, shot a 1-under 71 to stand in fourth place, with three locals at even par. Berkshire Hills' Aaron Nackoul, a reigning Pewter Cup champion, and fellow club member Jeff Puleri are tied with CCoP's Matt Gilardi in fifth.

Defending champion Andy Congdon is in the mix as well after a 1-over 73 on Friday. The leaders continue with Round 2 starting at 10 a.m. today.