HAVERHILL – With all the college players atop the Joseph F. Healey Memorial Golf Championships, you had to wonder if they played for their tuition bills yesterday at Crystal Lake Golf Club.
URI’s Nick Fairweather and BC’s Nick Pandelena set the tone early with 2-under par rounds of 70, while Mars Hills College’s Nick Caruso and St. Anselm’s Nick Maccario were right behind at 71.
Last year’s senior runner-up Colin Ahern looks to crash this fairway frat party, thanks to his opening even par round of 72, leaving him alone in fifth. Meanwhile, Fairweather’s soon-to-be teammate at URI, defending Healey champ Joe Leavitt, has some work to do, after a first-round 41-34 — 75 left him back tied in 13th.
Round 2 is today at Haverhill Country Club.
For Fairweather and Pandelena, yesterday was all about positioning.
“You know, I played OK. I had a couple loose bogeys, but I have to be happy with four birdies and an eagle on the day,” said Atkinson’s Pandelena, who just completed his freshman year at Boston College. “I think it’s pretty impressive, looking at that leaderboard. It kind of shows the young golfers that are coming up. It would be nice to see a couple of us in that final group Saturday at Atkinson, too.”
Windham’s Fairweather relentlessly attacked the greens and fairways. He was even par headed to the par-5 18th, where he struck the first of only two eagles all day on that hole.
“I’m feeling it. I was hitting a lot of greens, pretty much 20 feet-and-in for birdie on nearly every hole,” said Fairweather. “It just flowed.”
Both leaders agreed that the college atmosphere among the top guns was expected.
“I think there’s just a lot of young talent in the group,” said Fairweather.