HAVERHILL, Mass. – Renaissance Golf Club showed its teeth on Monday in the first round of the National Car Rental New England PGA Assistant Professional Championship, playing to an average of 11.3 strokes over par. Three-time champion (2011, ’16, ’17) Shawn Warren, PGA (Falmouth CC) was the only player to break par, shooting 3-under 69, to build a three-stroke lead heading into Tuesday’s final round.
Warren got off to a smooth start with eight pars to go with an eagle on the par-5 third hole on the front-9. He stumbled with back-to-back bogeys to open the back-9, but rebounded with birdies on three of the final six holes, including the last two, to finish 3-under.
“I just kept the ball in front of me. This is the type of golf course you can’t overpower, you just have to play where the golf course asks you to play and hit it into the fat side of the fairways,” Warren said after his round. “We’re playing in a championship this week and the pins were definitely different than a normal stroke play event. Having some of those pins a little bit more tucked. You can’t get too cute with them because you can short side yourself and make a mess.”
Liam Friedman, PGA (Nashawtuc CC) is alone in second, three strokes behind Warren, after shooting 72 on Monday. Friedman made five birdies Monday at Renaissance, where he won the 2017 NEPGA Section Championship. Jake Kramer (Bass Rocks GC) will join Warren and Friedman in the final group after shooting 2-over par 74 on Monday.
Just 19 players in the 76-player field managed to break 80 at Renaissance, where the average score was 83.3. The 419-yard par-4 8th hole played the most difficult, averaging 1.21 strokes over par.
The final round will be Tuesday at Renaissance, where one player will take home the championship, and six will earn a berth into the upcoming National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship, Nov. 12-15 at PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker Course in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Thank you to Renaissance GC and head golf professional Rhett Bishop, PGA, for hosting the Championship. The Championship would not be possible without presenting partner National Car Rental, and supporting partners Cleveland/Srixon/XXIO/Asics, Avidia Bank, John Deere, Mohegan Sun and the PGA TOUR.