PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (Jan. 30, 2017) – Reigning PGA Professional Player of the Year Rich Berberian Jr. made nine birdies Monday as he and partner Rob Corcoran took the first-round lead in the PGA Four-Ball Stableford Team Championship at PGA Golf Club.
Berberian and Corcoran, who would have shot a best-ball 59 on the Dye Course under usual scoring, scored 26 points to lead by nine. Corcoran made a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole for the 13th of their round.
“I don’t think Rob was thinking about it, but I was,” Berberian said of the 59. “I don’t make nine birdies all the time, but it’s easier to do that when I have a partner who hits every fairway, who hits every green. I can just have fun.
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“This is a birdie fest. You have to make birdies, and that’s what we did today.”
Mark Mielke eagled the seventh hole of the Dye Course as he and partner Steve Schneiter tied for second place at 17 points with the teams of Craig Thomas of White Plains, N.Y. and Jessica Carafiello of Old Greenwich, Ct.; and Matt Sita and Anthony Aruta of Glen Cove, N.Y.
“I hit a 3-wood from 245 yards to 6 feet and made it,” Mielke said. “In this system, an eagle changes a lot because it’s worth five points. You have to play super aggressive on the par-5s.”
After opening with a bogey, Thomas-Carafiello combined to birdie six of the next seven holes. Sita had six of his team’s eight birdies.
Former PGA Tour player Jason Caron and Sean Quinlivan of Huntington, N.Y. are alone in fifth with 16 points.
This is the first year for the Four-Ball Stableford Team Championship, where birdies are worth two points, a par zero and a bogey minus-1. This event replaced the PGA Match Play Championship.
The PGA Winter Championships are presented by GolfAdvisor.com and PrimeSport.
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