ATKINSON — On a day where the course and brilliant conditions played star of the day at Atkinson Country and Resort Joe Leavitt made himself at home in Round 1 of the Joseph F. Healey Memorial Golf Championship.
The 2012 Healey champ from Atkinson carded a one-under par round of 71 to lead the Healey field into Round 2 today at Merrimack Golf in Methuen.
“It was hot but I just fought through it “ said Leavitt. “The course is in great shape the best shape it’s been in a long long time. Nice to go out there and play. It was challenging.”
As the players teed it up this morning taking aim at the old-school Donald Ross gem on Howe Street in Methuen Leavitt owned a three-stroke advantage over Nick Pandelena and Nick Maccario each of whom were at 74.
Six others are knotted at 75.
“I have a three-shot lead but there’s a lot of golf left. There are some good numbers to be had out there tomorrow at Merrimack “ said Leavitt. “You can count one of the three Nicks (Pandelena Fairweather and Maccario) to put up a low score. I’m going to have to be on my game.”
Leavitt as he has done some many times assumed control of things on the Atkinson back nine with a sizzling 33 and that came with a bogey on 11.
With seven holes to play the University of Rhode Island junior stood at a pedestrian +3.
And then the barrage came.
Leavitt eagled the par-5 12th then birdied the 15th and 16th holes to dip into red numbers parring out for the 71.
“Honestly the front nine might have been the worst nine holes I’ve played all year,” he said. “I hit it down the middle on 12 and had 235 yards to go. I hit a 2-iron to about 20 feet on and made the putt. There are a few birdie holes out there on the back and you have to take advantage of it.