MERIDEN – The Meriden City Open teed off at Hunter Golf Club on Saturday. The golfers were broken up into three flights based on handicap. It was a wet and humid morning as the participants played a competitive first round.
After one day of play, Wallingford resident Chuck Stupakevich holds first place with a gross score of 73. Nipping at his heels is a three way tie for second place between Chad Boudreau, Ralph Giansanti, and Steve Mandeville who all scored a 74. The trio of golfers sit two strokes off the pace with 75’s including Joe Diaz, who birdied twice, Larry Michaud and Rich Pasinski.
Stupakevich had a strong start, making par or birdie on each hole of the front nine. He struggled on the back half, with four bogey’s. He took first place after two holes with a pair of birdies on the final two holes.
Stupakevich said he liked what he produced on the course on Saturday.
“My short game was pretty good today,” Stupakevich said. “I putted pretty well and that is what saved me today. I did not hit it that well, but good enough to keep me in it...Today I tried to not make too many mistakes. I was hoping I would have a chance for tomorrow because tomorrow is what it is all about.”
Stupakevich said the heat and humidity took a toll on him.
“First two holes, I had a hard time even holding the club,” Stupakevich said. “I was forced to use rain gloves, which I do not like to do but I had to.”
As for Sunday, Stupakevich wants to see himself get a few more birdie putts.
Right behind Stupakevich is Mandeville, the leader for Meriden residents, was excited about his group and play on Saturday.
“I had a wonderful time out there,” Mandeville said. “I had a great group and all the guys were easy to play with.”
Mandeville had a steady front nine, getting a birdie on No. 3 but carded four bogeys. He came back strong on the final nine holes. Mandeville birdied on three holes with two of them back to back on No. 12 and No. 13.
“When I made a couple bogeys, I made a couple birdies which really helped me out,” Mandeville said. “I stayed calmed and kept a straight face the whole way.”
Unlike Stupakevich, Mandeville said he thrives in the heat.
“I love the hot weather,” he said. “Hot is better for me. I love it because I am loose and I can swing the club better.”
As for Sunday, he plans on taking it one shot at a time and will try to stay in the moment as long as he can.
The final round will continue Sunday with a shotgun start starting the play at 7:45 a.m. with the leaders teeing off last. The Meriden Open Women’s Championship will be decided Sunday at the same time. After 18 holes of play, the Men’s and Women’s champion will be decided.
The tournament is sponsored by Meriden Hyundai.