Greenwich Men’s Town Golf Tournament A tie at the top
GREENWICH — Jason Morilla and David Peng are in familiar territory following the first round of the Greenwich Men’s Town Golf Tournament, while John Zukauskas is in an unfamiliar situation at the event.
Morilla and Peng, both of whom have captured the tournament’s Townwide flight titles in past years, are separated by just one stroke, while Zukauskas, who said he “usually doesn’t fare too well here,” is in a first-place tie with Morilla.
Zukauskas and Morilla each shot a 1-over-par 72 to share the lead in the Townwide flight after Saturday’s opening round at Griffith E. Harris Golf Course. Peng is one shot off the pace at 2-over-par 73.
The annual 36-hole tournament concludes Sunday at Griffith E. Harris Golf Course, which proved to be a stern test for the more than 70 competitors.
Morilla, who won the Townwide championship in 2017 after finishing second four consecutive years, made the turn at 2-under-par and was also 2-under through 15 holes.
“I bogeyed, 16, 17 and 18, but I still take a lot of positives out of today,” said Morilla, a Greenwich High School graduate. “I hit the ball pretty well and putted pretty well also, so I’m happy with my round.”
His older brother David, also a GHS graduate, was in town from Texas and served as Jason’s caddie on Saturday. Rolling birdie putts on Nos. 3, 8, 9 and 12 moved Morilla’s round along.
“My putter saved me,” Morilla said. “I also had so many par putts. Hopefully, I can shoot another 72 in the second round, that would be pretty strong.”
Peng, the 2016 and 2017 champion, posted an impressive score, despite not sinking any birdie putts
“I missed some putts and had no birdies, usually good I’m good for two, three or four,” Peng said. “Today I couldn’t get them to drop. A lot of my putts lipped out. If I can hole some putts tomorrow (Sunday), I’ll be okay.”
Zukauskas was consistent throughout en route to his round of 72.
“I tried to focus on starting out strong and I made some pars,” Zukauskas said. “I made a few good up-and-downs on the first and second hole and I made a couple of birdies on the front. The back was good too, I just had one blow up hole, but made pars and birdies.
I’m happy, I usually put a lot of pressure on myself and I usually don’t fare well here, so I have to stay loose.”
Michael Gallagher is five shots back in the Townwide flight with a 77, while 2014 champion William Lanzoni, is six strokes off the pace (78).
“I started with a double bogey on 1 and it kind of snowballed from there,” Lanzoni said. “The front nine I shot a 41, but I put it together on the back nine and started stringing a few good holes together. The next round I have to play a little more aggressive, go for broke and fire at a lot of pins.”
Joe Nethercott and Dario Orlando each carded an 80, while Ben Ropiak, who was the leader following the opening round a year ago, shot an 82.
“I hit a lot of greens, but I couldn’t make anything throughout the day,” said Ropiak, a rising Greenwich High senior. “The pin placements were tough, so you really had to focus on anything. Tomorrow, I’m just going to try to shoot as low as possible.”
TOWNWIDE A FLIGHT
Phil Zulli is the leader of the flight with an 83, while Bob Klingel is two shots back with an 85. Eric Jozwiak shot an 87 and John Byrne finished with an 88.
Four players are within two strokes in the Senior flight. Christopher Brown is atop the leaderboard with a 79.
“I played the back nine very solidly and after dropping a couple of shots in the beginning, I was fine,” Brown said. “The course was in great shape. I play here every day and it seemed to be a bit faster than normal.”
Scott Gaulocher and Bob Eskierski each finished with an 80, while Mike Thornton and Dan Agro posted an 81 and 82, respectively.
“I was consistent today, I hit the ball solid and didn’t make any bad mistakes,” Gaulocher said. “I didn’t have any penalties and I hit my irons well. If I can putt better the next round, I’ll have a chance.”
Al Major’s round of 79 has him at the top of the leaderboard. Bud Pironti fired an 81 and Paul Pacent finished with an 82.
“I didn’t miss any putts, I made every single one of my four and five foot-putts,” said Major, who birdied the 16th hole. “I haven’t even played well this year, but it’s just starting to come back so I’m happy. The course is immaculate, the greens are fast for a public course and the rough is standard.”
Michael Ward is in the lead after shooting a 92. Don Lovelace shot a 95, while Will Barnum posted a 96.
“This is a tournament that I always look forward to playing in,” Barnum said. “Everyone is collegial and everyone pulls for one another. We have a lot of fun and there is great comraderie out there.”
GREENWICH MEN’S TOWN TOURNAMENT
First round results
Jason Morilla 72; John Zukauskas 72; David Peng 73; Michael Gallagher 77; William Lanzoni 78; Joe Nethercott 80; Dario Orlando 80; Ben Ropiak 82; Brett Taylor 83; Dan Bodson 84; Alex Dunn 85; Jake Moses 85; Phillip McDonough 85; Matthew Grund 87; Kevin Kruper 88; Augustus Sciulla 93.
Christopher Brown 79; Scott Gaulocher 80; Bob Eskierski 80; Mike Thornton 81; Dan Agro 82; Brien Kelley 83; Vidar Perskaas 85; Ken Strasnick 86; Manny Morilla 87; Sergio Saichin 87; Matt Johnson 88; Armando Olivieri 88; Randy Rabenhorst 89; Hal Rudy 89; John Collins 90; Paul D’Amico 90; Juan Ferrara 91; Rick Wellington 96; Sal Mutone 104
Super Senior flight
Alred Major 79; Bud Pironti 81; Paul Pacent 82; Gary Lynch 83; Craig Lanzoni 85; Bill Tomaselli 85; Daley Myer 87; Tony Meringolo 90; Tony D’Andrea 91; Bruce Willey 92; Dev Panigrahi 97; John Hartwell 102; Mark Fox 105; Jack Rosemarin 105; William Tischler 109
Townwide A flight
Phil Zulli 83; Bob Klingel 85; Eric Jozwiak 87; John Byrne 88; Graeme Fattedad 88; Andy Herr 89; Jason Herrmann 92; Anthony Gangi 92; Robbie Nelson 94; Nicolas Steinbach 94; Matthew Fletcher 95; Peter Low 95; Tim Gregor 96; Stephen Hohl 96; Mike Moran 96; Keith Kelly 99; Willem Venema 108
Senior A flight
Michael Ward 92; Don Lovelace 95; Will Barnum 96; John Donohoe 99; Mark Kaicher 101; Mark McKeefry104