LINCOLN, Rhode Island – It was a hot and humid late summer day in Rhode Island at Kirkbrae Country Club and Agawam Hunt. Rich Berberian, PGA (Vesper Country Club), persevered through the heat to not only take first place through round 1 but also set a New England PGA and Agawam Hunt record of 59 (-10). He carded an outstanding 8 birdies, 1 eagle, and an incredible up-down on the last to maintain his sub-60 round.


Berberian started his hot streak early with 3 birdies and 1 eagle on the first hole, setting the tone for the rest of his play.

“Every time I read a putt, it did what I wanted it to… Play safe and play smart, I tried to do that today, I didn’t hit a lot of drivers and normally I do,” said Berberian when talking about his approach in the first round.

Following close behind Breberian was Eric Barlow, PGA (Winchester Country Club), carding 4 under with a score of 65 to lock in second place through the opening 18. Barlow’s front 9 featured 5 of his 6 birdies, giving him a comfortable lead from the start. Despite 2 bogeys and 1 birdie on the back 9, he was still able to claim the second-place spot.

Not too far behind Barlow, tied for third place is David Bennet, PGA (Country Club of Vermont), and Matt Arvanitis, PGA (Southern New Hampshire University). Bennet carded a 3-under 66 with a combination of 5 birdies, 6 pars, and 1 eagle. Arvantis ended the round with an outstanding 7 birdies. Both players completed round 1 carding a 3-under 66.

Several professionals are tied for fourth place including Frank Leja, PGA (The Club at New Seabury), Kirk Hanefeld, PGA (Salem Country Club), Jeff Seavey, PGA (Goose River Country Club), Patrick Beahn, PGA (Blackstone National Golf Course), and Rico Riciputi, PGA (Wentworth by the Sea Country Club).

After round 1 of the NEPGA Women’s Section Championship, Seul-Ki Hawley, PGA (Winchester Country Club) is the front-runner. Hawley remained at par until hole 8 when she landed a birdie on a par 3. Hawley’s back 9 consisted of 5 bogeys, leaving her to card a 4-over 73.

Not far behind Hawley follows reigning champion Shawn Durocher, PGA (Cyprian Keyes Golf Club) shooting a 5-over 74. Durocher won both Women’s Section Championships in 2021 and 2022 and is now close to claiming her third. Durocher’s round included 4 birdies, 3 bogeys, and 2 double bogeys.

The other 4 women’s players competing for the Section Championship title are Allison Mitzel, PGA (Laconia Country Club), Susan Fasoldt, PGA (Dorset Field Club), Jen Hudson, PGA (Sankaty Head Golf Club), and Maddy Belden, PGA (Salem Country Club).

The top 60 players plus ties following tomorrow’s round will play in the final round at Kirkbrae Country Club on Thursday, September 7th.