Golf notebook: Ezold takes lead at Stockbridge Invitational

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Pioneer Valley veteran Todd Ezold, in search of his second tournament win of the summer at Stockbridge Golf Club, shot a 1-under par 70 to open up a three-shot lead in the opening round of the Stockbridge Invitational on Saturday.

Ezold matched the score he produced in early July to win the Stockbridge Classic — despite a late triple bogey — to create some breathing room over five golfers, four of which are members of Allied Association courses.

Checking in at 2-over 73 were Stockbridge's Chris Shields, Berkshire Hills Country Club's Aaron Nackoul and Bob Linn, the Links at Worthington's James Ryan along with New Yorker Michael Dwyer (Mohawk CC).

Today's final round will end with the Invitational's first individual champion since World War II in a tournament that dates back to 1896. Thought to be the country's oldest amateur invitational, the tournament started as an individual event but has been a team tournament since World War II. This year's change was made in order to follow the state's COVID-19 restrictions while also honoring the tournament's history.

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Shields, who has won an Invitational with Matt Scarafoni and captured the Stockbridge Trophy with Randy Driscoll five times in a row, has the Stockbridge resume to suggest he can rally to win while Nackoul and senior standout Linn have had recent wins. Linn took the Classic's Senior Division while Nackoul ran away with the First Flight in the recent Berkshire Singles.

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On Saturday, Ezold shot a 1-under 34 on the front nine with three birdies and one bogey. After a bogey on the par-4 13th hole, he made back-to-back birdies on the par-3 14th and the par-5 15th to get to 3 under before his triple-bogey hiccup on the risk-reward 17th. However, he did follow that up with a birdie on the difficult par-4 18th, a hole three of his closer pursuers bogeyed.

Meanwhile, in the Senior Division, Natick's Carter Fasick, who swept the Massachusetts Senior and Super Senior teams titles with his brother Jon in 2018, shot an opening 76 to open up a three-shot lead over Mike Delgrande and Glenn Stopera.

AREA ACES

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Kim Swanda, on the 89-yard sixth hole at the Links at Worthington with an 8-iron. Witnesses: Kathy Engwar and Laurie Israel.

Chris Petride, on the the 122-yard ninth hole at the Links at Worthington with an 8-iron. Witnesses: Liz Kay, Denis Kay, Jen Dobiecki.

George Ascan, on the fourth hole at Donnybrook Golf Course with a 7-iron. Witnesses: Gordy Fosser, Alan Codding, Mark Brazeau.


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