Looking to defend his title, Newington's Tim Welles tied for lead after first round of Herald City Championship

Published on Sunday, 23 July 2017 22:44


NEW BRITAIN - Tim Welles came into Sunday’s opening round of the Herald City Championship looking to defend his title.

Despite a tough start over his first four holes of the morning that saw him shoot a 4-over, the Newington native set himself up to do just that after a strong finish on the back nine at Stanley Golf Course.

Welles took a strategic approach and over his final nine holes, birdied once and made par on five of the last six. He capped off his round with a par putt from about five feet away on the 18th hole for a share of the lead at 77.

“I’m feeling pretty good about it,” Welles said of his opening round. “It took a little while to get started, but once I got in the groove of things, I started playing well.”

Joining him at the top of the leaderboard were Ted Kieltyka and John Autunno. Both also shot a 77, creating a three-way tie for the final round of the tournament set to take place next Sunday.

Kieltyka finished with four birdies, but was hurt by a five-over on the 5th hole, while Autunno hit par on all but two holes on the back nine of his round. A triple bogey on the 13th hole hurt him after the first-day standings.

They had a one-shot lead over last year’s runner-up John Bertola and defending club champion Nick Hudyma on a day where the wind became a factor and the course playing a little harder than in years past.

“I think the story of this round was the wind and the rough,” said Hudyma, who came away with two birdies, including one on a short par-3 11. “Our maintenance staff has the course in great shape and it’s healthy and they let the rough grow a little bit, so it was a little thick. Finding the fairway was a premium with the wind blowing. It was harder than what we’re used to and it was a different type of wind. Some of the carries you’re used to, it was a different club today. It wasn’t carryable or you’re hitting a little farther than what you’re used to hitting. It was pretty interesting.”

Even with the course playing more difficult than usual, the top 13 were separated by five strokes with seven within two of one another.

The key to Welles’ round was not to get overly aggressive, particularly on the course’s back nine, where a player can make up ground depending on how much of a risk he is willing to take.

“I like to play relatively conservative,” Welles said. “I try to stay out of trouble as much as possible. It limits some of those higher scores on the scorecards. It’s nice playing it that way.”

And with another week until the final round that will determine the Herald City Championship, allowing players to make some adjustments, the field is still wide open.

“It’s what you do next Sunday that matters,” Bertola said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Brian Pollack and Justin Henry both shot a 79 for a share of sixth place and top of the B-Flight. Patrick Moore and Richard Reed share a tie in C-flight after an 84, while Richard Condo shot an 86 to lead D-flight.

David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or dglovach@newbritainherald.com

On Twitter: @DavidGlovach

Posted in New Britain Herald, General Sports, Newington on Sunday, 23 July 2017 22:44. Updated: Sunday, 23 July 2017 22:46.