Josh Shepard is the top local finisher after Round 1 of Mid-Amateur Golf Championship

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Special to The Eagle

HAMPDEN — Brockton's Matt Parziale, the Massachusetts Golf Player of the Year for the past four years, showed why on Tuesday when he shot a 4-under par 68 to take a two-shot lead after 18 holes of the 54-hole, Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championship on Tuesday.

While the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion went low, the five golfers from Allied Association clubs in the field found the challenging Great Horse layout very difficult, with the Country Club of Pittsfield's Josh Shepard turning in a round of 7-over par 79 to lead the local contingent.

Standing a shot behind Shepard after shooting 80 are Wyantenuck Country Club's Davis Mullany and The Links at Worthington's Jim Patterson. The Country Club of Pittsfield's Adam Brickle got off to a rough start and never recovered, shooting an 88, while Wahconah Country Club's Paul Briggs settled for an 89. He withdrew following Tuesday's round.

The field will be cut to the low 30 and ties after today's second round and it would appear that despite their difficult days, Mullany and Patterson have an outside chance to make it. The top 28 and ties were at 5 over on Tuesday, suggesting the cut could come between 8 and 10 over par.

Parziale, a two-time Mass. Mid-Amateur champion, made six birdies and was only one of three to break par. Standing in second place is Worcester Country Club's Brandon Parker, who shot a 2-under 70, while Cranberry Valley's Arthur Zalmeti is third after shooting a 71.

Defending champion Nick Maccario (Bradford Country Club), who opened last year's tournament with a 64, got off to a rough start but finished with an birdie and eight consecutive pars to salvage a 2-over 74 to stay in the title hunt.

The tournament is open to golfers 25-and-over and will conclude on Thursday

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