May 17, 2013

Cooke takes Masters North lead

MALONE — Tournament director Willie King wasn’t expecting scores this low during Thursday’s opening round in the 30th-Annual Masters North Golf Tournament at the Malone Golf Club’s East Course.

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Nine-time champion Graham Cooke carded a one-over-par 73 in extremely windy conditions to hold a one-stroke lead over Peter Malo and Chip Ward heading into today’s final round.

“I didn’t expect the scores to be as low like they were,” King said. “The course was set up where it was challenging, and the wind was brutal. The conditions were very difficult to play in (Thursday).

“But surprisingly, there were a lot of good scores. Graham shot a 73, and he never goes very high. That’s going to make him very tough to beat (today), especially with the conditions expected to be better.

“Shooting 74s like Peter and Chip did was also very impressive.”

At 76, three strokes back, were Troy Collins, Cody Roberts and Greg Wilson. Another stroke back, at 77, were Mike Patenaude, John Blain, Michael Jolin and Michael Roberts, who rallied on the back nine.

Fifteen golfers in the 42-player field broke 80 from the tournament tees, including defending champion David Passino Jr., who carded a 79. Matt King, a three-time Masters North runner-up, is at 78.

Passino denied Cooke his 10th green jacket last year when he won on the first playoff hole with an eagle.

Leading the Legends Field, which played from the white tees, was Gord Hanna with an 80.

Butch Plimpton was a stroke back at 81, while Phil Arsenault and two-time defending champion John Esterbrook shot 82.

Four strokes separate nine golfers in the Legends field.

“The Legends is up for grabs,” King said. “Anybody who shot 84 (Thursday) or better can still win it.”

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