RYE, New Hampshire. – On a cool late September day, John Hickson (Cape Neddick CC) and Shawn Warren (Falmouth CC) each carded a two-under 70 at Abenaqui CC after day one of the New England National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship. 

The Country Club’s Nick Hallowell, Oyster Harbors Club’s Peter Ruymann, Mt. Pleasant GC’s Christopher Gentle, Boothbay Harbor’s Greg Martin and Portland CC’s Patrick Kowker all sit in third with a one-round score 71.

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Hickson did not waste any time and started his round one-under after his first four holes going par, par, birdie, par.  He followed this by making two more, back-to-back birdies on holes 5 and 6 and found himself three-under heading to the par-four 7th.

Hickson would par that hole but finish the front side bogey, par to shoot 34 (-2). The bogey on 8 would be the only bogey of the round as Hickson would par every hole on the back to shoot 36 (E) for his total two-under 70.

After the round, Assistant Tournament Director, Christopher Clayton caught up with Hickson to ask about the round. “I drove it really poorly on the front but recovered with some pretty tasty iron shots and made a couple of good putts,” said Hickson.

When asked about his game plan for the final round tomorrow Hickson admitted, “I don’t really have a game plan to be honest with you. It’s about getting some rest tonight, showing up and hitting some iron shots as good as today and maybe just driving it a touch better.”

Warren, who has won this event four times (2011, 2016, 2017, 2020) entered today’s round calm and focused. His focus carried over into the beginning of his round after he found himself two-under after five, making birdies on holes 2 and 5. Warren would struggle on the par-four number 6 but quickly recovered with back-to-back birdies and a par to shoot (-3) 33.

He started his back nine with four par’s and a birdie to get to four-under but couldn’t stay there after making a bogey on the par-four 15. Two par’s and a bogey would conclude the round with Warren ending up with (+1) 37 on the back and (-2) 70 total.

Again we caught up with our co-leader and asked how the day went. “I played pretty well on the front, hit a lot of greens. Hopefully tomorrow I can make a few more putts,” Warren explained. Even with the rain in the forecast for tomorrow’s final round, Warren’s mindset has not shifted. “I’m going to stick to the same game plan, just try and hit a lot of fairways, get the ball in play off the tee.” He continued by stating, “the greens are small enough where if you can just hit greens that’s really important.”

All five players tied for third place will be battling for a chance to overtake leaders Hickson and Warren in the final round tomorrow. In total, 60 players finished today’s round with 41 at or below the +8 (80). The top 8 finishers are all within three shots of the lead. This event is a qualifier for the PGA of America’s National Assistants Championship. The top 6 non-exempt finishers in the NEPGA Assistants Championship will gain entry into the National Championship at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, FL. on November 11-14, 2021

Tee times begin at 8 a.m. tomorrow at Abenaqui CC. 

A tremendous thank you goes out to host professional Jim Schouller, superintendent Patrick Kelley and the entire Abenaqui CC staff for serving as host of the Championship.

The National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship is presented by National Car Rental, Vineyard Vines, John Deere, Srixon, Cleveland, XXIO and ASICS.