New York duo Welch and Pallas take lead after Day 2 of Pewter Cup

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Jim Welch and Dave Pallas, two of the New York Capital Region's top amateurs, didn't let a little rain stop them from taking charge in the second round of the 38th Pewter Cup best-ball tournament at Berkshire Hills Country Club on Saturday.

Welch and Pallas combined for a 6-under par 66 to take a three-shot lead over two duos, defending champions Joe Wilson and Michael Mertes along with the Country Club of Pittsfield's Matt Scarafoni and Chad Alibozek. The New Yorkers have a 36-hole total of 134. Wilson and Mertes, who led by one shot after an opening-round 66, settled for a 1-under 71 on Saturday while Scarafoni and Alibozek shot a bogey-free 69.

Three teams are tied for fourth place at 138 -- Bob Linn and Jim Patterson (68-70); 2018 champions Steve Sykes and Andy Dastoli (67-71); along with Justin McKennon and Adam Trivilino (68-70).

Considering the opening-round scores, building a three-shot cushion was a remarkable accomplishment for Welch, a four-time New York Mid-Amateur champion, and Pallas, the 2019 Saratoga County Amateur champion, after the opening round featured 11 players bunched within three shots of the lead.

The new leaders did what you need to do to score over the A.W. Tillinghast layout -- make no bogeys while taking advantage of the course's five par-5 holes. They were 4 under on the par 5s while Scarafoni and Alibozek had only one birdie (on No. 2 by Scarafoni) in five tries. Wilson and Mertes had a roller-coaster ride to their 71 with four birdies and three bogeys.

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"You have to birdie 15 and 18 and we didn't," said Scarafoni, who said the rain "made things a little tricky" over the final dozen holes or so.

Still, there were still some smile-producing moments on the back nine that kept the long-hitting duo within striking range including an 18-foot par-save putt on No. 10 by Scarafoni, an 18-foot birdie putt by Alibozek on No. 12 and what Scarafoni called "as perfectly played a hole as I have seen in a long time" on the par-4 16th

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hole.

The final round will by played today with champions being crowned in eight flights. The Championship Flight leaders will tee off at around 2 p.m.

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While the Country Club of Pittsfield annually holds a food drive to benefit the Elizabeth Freeman Center and the Pittsfield Christian Center that is always welcome and appreciated, it seems even more of a blessing for those organizations given what 2020 has represented so far.

Every club member who tees off on Tuesday for this year's drive -- and head professional Eric Mabee is promising a full tee sheet -- will contribute a bag of non-perishable food items and golfers are encouraged to make monetary donations as well.

"We had 161 golfers last Tuesday and we will pack the tee sheet with members again this Tuesday," Mabee said. "We raised $5,200 last year and we should raise more this year. Given what is going on with unemployment and everything right now in the Berkshires, its a time when we can make a difference. ...We feel like we are Pittsfield's country club and we want to give back to our community."

Tee times are still available for members and they will be allowed to bring guests. There will be special games set up around the course for those who tee it up.

Mabee said food purchased from the donations filled up two pick-up trucks last year and hopes there will be even more for the Freeman and Christian centers to distribute in this time of need.


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