WOODSTOCK, Vt. – Paul Parajeckas (Pleasant Valley CC) rode three birdies and an eagle all the way to the top of the leaderboard after the first round of the New England PGA Senior Championship on Tuesday at Woodstock Country Club.
Parajeckas, who won the Senior Championship in 2004, ’05 and ’06, made just one bogey Tuesday and posted 4-under 66. He played the four Par-5s in 4-under par, making birdies on the 1st and 6th, and an eagle on the 10th. He also birdied the Par-4 8th and was five-under par before making his only bogey of the day at the Par-3 13th.
John Paesani, Webb Heintzelman and Jeff Seavey took very different paths but all wound up at the same spot, tied for second two strokes behind Parajeckas with matching 68s.
Paesani (Bay Club at Mattapoisett) posted the most stress-free 68 of the group, as he opened with nine consecutive pars before making an eagle on the Par-5 10th. His lone blemish came at the 12th, but he made up for it with a birdie at the 17th before finishing with a par on 18, his 15th par of the round.
Henitzelman’s (Turner Hill Golf & Racquet) round was a tale of two sides. He made back-to-back bogeys on the third and fourth holes and was 2-over at the turn. He more than bounced back on the back nine, carding five birdies to shoot 31 on the back and finish the day at 2-under par.
Seavey (Samoset Resort) set himself back early with a bogey on the third and a double-bogey on the fifth. After making par on the Par-5 sixth, Seavey closed the front nine with three consecutive birdies to get back to even-par at the turn. A fourth straight birdie on the 10th put him into red figures for the day, and he closed a run of five birdies in a seven-hole stretch with a birdie on the Par-3 13th to get to 2-under for the day.
Despite four rounds under par, it was Dave Johnson (Newport National) who was the talk of the clubhouse on Tuesday. Johnson aced the Par-3 11th hole, his first career ace, en route to a 3-over 73.
“I just hit a nice smooth 9-iron,” Johnson recalled, detailing the hole-in-one. “It was looking good the whole way and it hit, and it trickled, and it went in. I looked at John Rainone and said ‘You’ve got to be kidding me, did that just go in?’ and he started laughing and said ‘Yeah, it did.’
“We were all in shock,” Johnson continued. “It was my first one, I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t going to jump around, I was too tired at the time.”
Rick Karbowski (Auburn Driving Range), Bill Andrews (Portsmouth CC) and Thomas Tobey (Sandwich Hollows GC) are tied for fifth at even-par.
The final round of the 36-hole tournament will be Wednesday at Woodstock CC. Six players from the Championship will qualify for the PGA Senior National Championship, joining Kirk Hanefeld (Salem CC) who is already exempt into the tournament.
The New England PGA thanks Woodstock CC and their staff, led by PGA Professional Matt Closter, for hosting the Championship, and partners Cadillac, John Deere, Golf Channel, R.J. Shepherd, and the PGA Tour for their support.