Scott Spence maintained home-field advantage Wednesday at the 25th annual Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open.
Cooperstown native Spence, who played two seasons of golf for Oneonta High, shot a 6-under-par 65 on the opening day of the three-round professional tournament at the Leatherstocking Golf Course in Cooperstown for a two-stroke lead over Roger Stern.
Spence, 51, followed a 32 on the front nine with a 33 on the back nine to take the first-round lead in his inaugural Seniors Open appearance. A resident of Portsmouth, N.H., Spence’s 32 marked the lowest front-nine total in the field of 124 pros vying for the $20,000 top prize.
Stern, who lives in Bethlehem, Pa., shot a 36 on the front nine but pulled within two strokes of the lead with a 31 on the back nine, the lowest nine-hole total of the tournament thus far.
Defending champion Bobby Heins (Purchase) matched Roy Vucininch (Moon Township, Pa.) at 68 as both shot 34s on the front and back nines for a share of third place.
National Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, who is competing in the Seniors Open for the second time, is in a three-way tie for fifth. He shot 35-34 for a 2-under-par 69 and is deadlocked with Don Brigham (Jersey City, N.J.) and Joe Clark Jr. (Holderness, N.H.).
Windham Country Club pro Brian Lowe is nine shots off the lead. He shot a 36-38_74 to earn a share of 43rd place.
Schmidt will tee off at 8:18 a.m. today during the second round. Three of the 127 senior pros withdrew from the $100,000 tournament, which concludes Friday.
Leaders Wednesday from the first round of the 25th annual Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open at the par-71 Leatherstocking Golf Course in Cooperstown.
Player Front-Back_Tot Par
Scott M. Spence 32-33_65 -6
Roger Stern 36-31_67 -4
Bobby Heins 34-34_68 -3
Roy Vucininch 34-34_68 -3
Don Brigham 34-35_69 -2
Joe Clark Jr. 33-36_69 -2
Mike Schmidt 35-34_69 -2
Bill Britton 37-33_70 -1
Chuck Antonuccio 34-36_70 -1
Darrell Kestner 33-37_70 -1
Edward Whitman 36-34_70 -1
Gary Lockie 33-37_70 -1
Gary Ostrega 36-34_70 -1
John DeForest 35-35_70 -1
Mike Burke Jr. 35-35_70 -1
Peter Busch 36-34_70 -1
Rob Schaal 38-32_70 -1
Bruce Young 33-38_71 E
Joe Bostic 33-38_71 E
John Traub 36-35_71 E
Kevin Morris 35-36_71 E
Mo Guttman 35-36_71 E
T43, Brian Lowe 36-38_74 +3
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