Former Cincinnati Reds catcher Johnny Bench, a 1989 inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame, played in Tuesday's Otesaga Hotel Pro-Am on the eve of the three-day Seniors Open at the par-72 Leatherstocking Golf Course in Cooperstown.

Twenty-eight pros joined amateur partners and raised more than $50,000 to benefit the Scholarship Fund of Pathfinder Village, a residential community in Edmeston for those with Down syndrome.

"Coming back to Cooperstown for this post-Labor Day event helps support an outstanding community in Pathfinder Village while bringing together some of the top senior pros from throughout the United States," Bench said in a media release sent by the Hall of Fame. "Today's event is very meaningful."

Professional Bob Kurtz of Cullman, Ala, helped partners William Cole, Steve Fossaceca, John Griffin and Victor Pepin to a first-place finish.

Defending Seniors Open champion and Cooperstown native Scott Spence led his team to a second-place finish. Jim Bugonian, Jim Potts, Peter Severud and Andrew Vilacky played with Spence, who earned $20,000 for his victory in the 2010 Seniors Open.

Last year, Spence shot rounds of 65-73-68 to beat runner-up Roy Vucinich by one stroke.

Spence will be among 106 pros who'll tee it up in the 29th annual event that has a $75,000 purse.

Play begins at 8 this morning. The tournament concludes Friday.

"This year's field of senior pros is truly outstanding," said Dan Spooner, tournament co-chair and director of golf at Leatherstocking Golf Course. "This is by far our best field of pro participants, which should make for a great tournament this week in Cooperstown."

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