Greatest wades way through Day 1; Gintert lowest at 67

By Greg Gulas BOARDMAN – A year ago in Greatest Golfer action, Boardman’s Bryan Kordupel birdied three of his final four holes to force a playoff with multiple Greatest champion Brandon Pluchinsky. Pluchinsky proceeded to win. On Friday, Kordupel and Brian Newell carded one-under 69’s at Mill Creek Metroparks’ golf course to take the early lead in this year’s 12th annual Farmers National Bank Greatest Golfer Tournament men’s open division. Kordupel and Newell hold a one-shot lead over Cole Christman, John Doughton III and Danny Phillips heading into today’s second-round. Pluchinsky, who carded 71, is two shots off the pace. “Mill Creek is my home course, a course that I have been playing since I was 14 years old,” Kordupel said. “I grew up on this course, rode my bike back then to play here so I am quite familiar with the course.” The shotgun start had Kordupel starting on the back nine, carding a 35 then finishing with a 34 on the front nine. “I had a little bit of everything working for me today,” he added. “My ball striking was consistent and while I had a few errant shots, I was able to recover and that was big.  While some complained about the slow conditions, I knew I just had to grind it out and knowing the greens was a big help.” Newell is a Hubbard native and like Kordupel, played golf for YSU under head coach Tony Joy.  This is his sixth Greatest tournament and only once did he fail to make Sunday’s finals cut. He posted 32 on the front nine and came back with a 37 on the back nine. “The course was in amazing shape so hats off to director Todd Franko, his staff and Brian Tolnar and his staff at Mill Creek for all of their hard work,” Newell stated.  “Despite the ups and downs of the weather, I felt good and had a great day putting.  My short game was good and driver both straight and consistent. “I had Ken Keller, Joe Cilone and Nate Mullen in my group and when you are in a solid group like that it ups your game a notch.  A great pairing keeps you focused.” In Signature Granite Ladies High Net action, Boardman’s Karen Patella carded 70 for a one stroke lead over Sandra DiMargio while Pam Porter is four shots off the pace after posting a 74. This is Patella’s first Greatest tournament. “The last couple of years, the girls that I golf with said to come out and have some fun so I thought this year that I should give it a try,” Patella noted.  “I started playing golf about 20 years ago but only became serious about my game about 10 or 12 years ago. “Everything just kind of came together for me today.  My chips were good and I only had one, three-putt so I even surprised myself.  If I expect to hold the lead, I just need to stay calm and swing like I did today.  Par is my goal but I’ll take a few birdies as well.” In Elias CPA Group Men’s 3-6 play, Paul Harris and Victor Daprile II carded 71 and hold a two-shot lead over Rex Pagani, Brandon Schmidt, Jr. and Ron Hunter, each of whom shot 73. Michael Guerrieri and Dominic Giudici carded 72 to tie for the lead in Fox Funeral Home Men’s 7-9 action, a stroke better than Jack Ferreri while in the Men’s 10-12 division, Steve Clay carded 75 to hold a one stroke lead over former YSU baseball standout Jamie Palumbo. Nick Stanton fired 77 and holds a two-shot lead over Rocky Page, Bradley Koch, Mark Brown, Jr. and Jay Moore in the Koncrete Dezign Men’s 13-15 division while in Men’s 16-19 action, Ron Bokan and Matt Bastian lead with 81, two strokes better than Dan Bradaick and Robert Vanes. In Men’s 20+ play, Dan Monaco holds the lead after authoring a 77, four strokes better than Nicholas Lamb with Andrew Bachelor five strokes off the pace while Taylor Ross’ 68 is two strokes better than Angela Tringhese in Ladies Low Net action. In the PARC Appliance Repair Seniors Open division, Fred Ginter carded 67 for a four-shot lead over Robert Gintert, Frank Santisi and Ed Sico heading to second round play today. Gary Trybus’ 72 is a shot better than Don Ferko, Jr. with Dave Tabak three shots off the pace in Men’s Senior 7-12 action, Paul Parteleno and Tim Russo each carded 75 for a one shot lead over John Dunch in Men’s Senior 13+ play, Tim Porter’s 72 is a shot better than Larry McCall and four shots better than Dennis Piper in the New York Life Insurance Legends Open  division while in Cole Valley Cadillac Men’s Legends 8+ action, Pete Bennett’s 77 is four shots better than Patrick Cannon, who carded an 81. A total of 345 players, the largest Greatest field ever, participated in this year’s event while the weather continues to play guessing games with area courses hosting this year’s event. “The weather has definitely impacted this largest ever field,” Greatest director Todd Franko said.  “Thursday night’s storm forced Mill Creek to adjust with golfers also playing at Reserve Run and Castle Hills in New Castle.  A shotgun start at 9:30 a.m. helped us beat any anticipated bad weather. “The line-up change, unfortunately, cost us about 25 golfers who were unable to make the switch.” Brian Tolnar serves as Mill Creek Metroparks’ PGA Golf & Recreation Director. “It’s always great to host the best amateur golfers from in and around the Mahoning Valley,” Tolnar added.  “Mother Nature played a little havoc yesterday but our course superintendent, Lance Bailey and his staff, worked really hard to make the course playable today. “The weather ended up cooperating and we managed to get the event in prior to any evening rain.  Todd [Franko] and his crew do such a wonderful job with the event while the MetroParks and our facility enjoy being part of the premier event in the Mahoning Valley.” Second-round action continues today at select area courses with final round play set for Sunday at the Lake Club in Poland.