Tee to Green: Puleri has round to remember at Berkshire Hills Country Club
The long-hitting Puleri opened with a stunning five-hole stretch of 3, 3, 2, 4, 2 that would have been 1-under par on a par-3 course. But this round was at the Hills, a challenging A.W. Tillinghast-designed gem. For those not familiar with the par-72 layout, that's a birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie, birdie start.
For most golfers not on the PGA Tour, a start like that would likely lead to some kind of letdown, but Puleri followed it with four solid pars — he said he had a 360-degree lip-out for birdie on the par-4 eighth hole — to finish with a 6-under 29, which is believed to be a new course record for the front nine.
"I've started eagle, birdie before but I hadn't done anything like this [at Berkshire Hills]," said Puleri, who is the assistant athletic director for communications at MCLA.
He started his run by making a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-4 first hole and then eagled the 560-yard, par-5 second by sinking another 15-footer after scorching a 3-wood to reach the green in two. Did I mention he's a long hitter?
"I made that putt and then I got hot," Puleri said.
Puleri hit his tee shot to within 4 feet on the par-3 third and made that putt. He followed that up by sinking a 15-footer for birdie on the par-5 fourth and a 10-footer on the par-3 fifth.
After turning at 6 under, he birdied the par-5 10th and short par-4 11th to reach 8 under. The closest he came to suffering a bogey came on the par-3 13th but his red-hot putting saved him when he drained a 30-foot par-save effort.
The course record of 10-under 62, held by longtime Berkshire Hills member Steve Magargal, was in jeopardy, but a three-putt par on the 474-yard, par 5 15th hole took away some momentum and Puleri "settled" for pars the rest of the way for a bogey-free, 8-under 64 that matched a score posted by James Ryan while partnering with Magargal in a past Pewter Cup.
Magargal said he has had a "bunch of 30s" on the front nine but never a 29. A member at the Hills since the 1980s, he had a late run of pars similar to Puleri's when he shot his 62 with nines of 30 and 32.
"I had 10 birdies and eight pars but I didn't birdie either 15 or 18," said Magargal, referring to a pair of par 5s that low-handicap players consider birdie holes. "I got nervous thinking about shooting a 59. I got in my own way."
With the athletic season having started at MCLA, September is a month when Puleri doesn't normally expect to shoot low numbers.
"It is ironic that this happened in September," Puleri said. "It's the month (during the Berkshires golf season) where I play the least amount."
Puleri was playing with and against some strong company with four of Wyantenuck Golf Club's best players traveling north to play with four of Berkshire Hills' best. Puleri was in a foursome with fellow Hills member Ralph Dastoli and Wyantenuck's Ben and Mike Schopp. The other foursome featured the Hills' Bob Linn and Steve Sykes along with Wyantenuck's Brian Cunningham and Jeff Alosi.
"The best part was doing it while playing with a lot of guys, some of whom I haven't played with, who can really play," said Puleri, who is the club president at Berkshire Hills.
While Linn wasn't in the same foursome, it marked the second time in a couple of weeks that the senior standout has come up short against his younger friend and foe.
"I missed from 5 feet on 18 and settled for 68 and got waxed," said Linn in an email, who added that Puleri's performance was a "perfect example of someone gaining confidence from a win."
Perhaps one of the reasons Puleri was able to keep it together all day after his amazing start was a previous round that no doubt was in his memory bank as the day unfolded.
"I have the course record at Greenock (Country Club) with a 62," said Puleri, a longtime member at the Lee club. "That's a par-70 course, so this equals that score in relation to par."
The brother and sister combination of Curt and Mace Foehl combined for a 1-over 71 to capture the Allied Mixed Scotch Championship last Sunday at Wyantenuck Country Club.
The Foehls prevailed by two shots in what was the final Allied Association tournament of the 2017 golf season. Two teams — Wahconah Country Club men's club champion Tom Czelusniak and fellow Wahconah member Sue Vigeant along with Matt Ortega (Stockbridge Golf Club) and Janice Barry (Berkshire Hills CC) — finished with rounds of 73.
The Forest Park team of Stan Misiuk and women's club champion June Blake finished fourth with a round of 74.
The Egremont Country Club pairing of Joe Soudant and Jennifer Otte took low net honors by four shots with a 56. Skyline Country Club's Chris Hoffstedt and Chris Codey finished second.
Waubeeka Golf Links will host another American Junior Golf Association Junior Golf Hub Preview Series event next May after successfully hosting the nation's top junior circuit this past spring.
As was the case last May, Waubeeka will be awarded two local exemptions into the 78-player field. The Williamstown course will host a qualifying tournament on Saturday, Oct. 28 with the top two finishers, boys and/or girls, earning those spots.
According to the AJGA's website, the series is designed specifically for AJGA members who have not yet played or been accepted into an AJGA tournament. The series offers these new and returning members the opportunity to start building Performance Based Entry status before application deadlines arrive for summer Open and ACDS Junior All-Star Series events.
Many current PGA Tour players got their start in the Junior Golf Hub Preview Series. Among the series alumni are 2014 FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel, reigning U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, Harris English, Bud Cauley, Morgan Hoffmann, Patrick Reed and Smylie Kaufman.
Last year's tournament at Waubeeka, which unfortunately was hampered by brutal weather conditions, featured a 63-player boys' division and a 15-player girls' division.
Sudbury's Brendon Frain and Walpole's Matthew Conti tied for top honors in the boys' division with 36-hole totals of 10-over par 152. Lee High School's Thomas Fraser tied for sixth with a 157 total. The girls winner was Paula-Daniela Gomez-Arevalo with a 151 total. The champion was one of two golfers in the girls' division who traveled all the way from Colombia to compete.
The fields for both the boys and girls featured golfers from Canada in addition to golfers from all over the Northeast and as far away as St. Louis.
For more information about the qualifying tournament at Waubeeka, call the pro shop at 413-458-8355. To learn more about the AJGA go to their website at www.ajga.org.
The team of Ralph Dastoli, perhaps inspired watching Puleri during his 64 on Sunday, and Keith Dapper shot a two-man scramble score of 8-under 63 to easily capture top honors in the Blue Division in Wednesday's Berkshire County Fall Series tournament at Cranwell Spa and Golf Resort.
The Berkshire Hills Country Club duo's impressive round in the younger of the two age divisions was five shots better than the runner-up Wahconah CC pairing of Paul Briggs and Ron Carver.
Pete Manzolini and Arthur Holmes fired a 5-under 66 to tie with Mark Gilligan and Bob Chiaretta in the Green Division. Manzolini and Holmes took top honors in a match of cards.
The low net winners were Bob Massetti and Mike Fletcher, with a 63, in the Blue Division and the team of Pat King and Ray Lamoreaux, with a 59, in the Green Division.
This week's event, another two-man scramble, is set for a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start on Wednesday at Berkshire Hills. The following week's tournament will be the series' lone singles event. It will be held on Sept. 27 at Greenock Country Club. Golfers are encouraged to sign up for that tournament by this Friday by calling the Lee club at 413-243-3323. Late sign-ups will be accepted until Tuesday if open spots remain past Friday.
Reach Richard Lord at 413-286-2226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mixed Scotch Tournament
1. Curt and Mace Foehl, Taconic GC, 71. 2. Tom Czelusniak-Sue Vigeant, Wahconah CC, 73. 3. Matt Ortega and Janice Barry, Stockbridge GC and Berkshire Hills CC. 4. Stan Misiuk-June Blake, Forest Park CC, 74. 5. John Dahrouge and Patty Peltier, Berkshire Hills CC and Wahconah CC, 75. 6. W. Bassett and Jen Race, 75.
1. Joe Soudant and Jennifer Otte, Egremont CC, 56. 2. Chris Hoffstedt and Chris Codey, Skyline CC, 60. Leo and Anne Romanos, Forest Park CC, 61. 4. Greg and Barbara Frost, Berkshire Hills CC and GEAA, 61. 5. Adam and Marilyn Kirby, CC of Pittsfield, 62.
Berkshire County Senior Fall Series
At Cranwell Spa and Golf Resort
---1. Ralph Dastoli and Keith Dapper, 63. 2. Paul Briggs and Ron Carver, 68. 3. Tony Salvatore and Dick Peretti, 70. 4. Bill Gates and Steve Terpak, 71.
1. Bob Massetti and Mike Fletcher, 63. 2. Steve Wood and Mike Fitzgerald, 65. Bob Messer and Paul Traversa, 65. 4. Walt Pitrowski and Tony Simonelli, 70.
1. Pete Manzolini and Arthur Holmes, 66. 2. Mark Gilligan and Bob Chiaretta, 66. 3. Pat O'Donnell and J. Kaminski, 67. --4, Dick Rivers and Fred Goerlach, 67.
1. Pat King and Ray Lamoreaux, 59. 2. John Rybka and Wayne Shutts, 61. 3. Dick Syriac and Stan Seger, 62. 4. Dean Pope and Joe Consoli, 63.
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