PITTSFIELD — If winning a third-straight Berkshire County Allied Association Four-Ball Championship wasn't enough motivation, Berkshire Hills Country Club's Jeff Puleri and Steve Sykes set out to defend their home course.
The duo shot a five-under 67 at Berkshire Hills on Saturday afternoon to claim the Four-Ball Championship, the association's opening event, and its first since 2019.
"The Allied is kind of the unofficial kick-off to the golf season and its been fun," said Puleri, who is the Berkshire Hills president. "[The tournament] is a little sense of fun and relief from the everyday grind that has been COVID. It is nice to see so many people playing."
The field consisted of 80 pairs and featured nine teams finishing with a gross-score under par.
One of the region’s biggest golf casualties in 2020 from COVID-19 was the cancellation of th…
"We wanted to win on our home course," Sykes said. "It was a little bit of a struggle early, but we were able to hang in there."
The duo was 1-over after eight holes, but turned it on down the stretch, birdieing four of the final five holes.
"Steve hit a great shot on the ninth hole that got us going," Puleri said. "He hit some really good shots for us on the back and once one starts going you can build off it.
"We know the back-nine so well and once you get rolling it is easy to go downhill and that is kind of what happened."
Four teams finished just behind Puleri and Sykes with a four-under 68. Country Club of Pittsfield's Chad Alibozek and Taconic Golf Club's Pete Baran remained in the hunt for most of the afternoon, maintaining a score of two-under heading into the 18th hole. They finished on the right foot, needing just three shots on the par five, good for the eagle.
"We were fortunate because there are a lot of really strong players in the field," Puleri said. "We knew we would have to birdie the last hole to have a chance and Steve knocked that down too."
Aaron Nackoul (Berkshire Hills) and Josh Shepard (Country Club of Pittsfield), David Bond (CCoP) and Matthew Scarafoni (Taconic), along with George Smith and Steve Owens of Taconic are the other three pairs to finish the outing four-under.
The day featured two waves of start times. Half of the pairs began at 8 a.m. and the rest hit the course at 1 p.m. While Puleri and Sykes were in the second group, they didn't spend too much time watching the scoreboard.
"We figured if we had a five-under or six-under we would have a really good chance," Puleri said. "You're playing the golf course and can picture all the numbers you want, but still have to get the ball in the hole."
Berkshire Hills Country Club is also the home of the pair that captured the lowest net score. Jason Meaney and Matt Davella shot an eight-under 64, holding down the top-spot. Meanwhile, Wahconah Country Club's Chip Moore and Leo Kruczkowski finished seven-under 65 to take silver by more than a stroke.
Seven more events are slated on the Allied Association's schedule and next up is the Father-Son Championship at Greenock Country Club, which will take place on June 20.