• Golf: Amateur David Pastore of Greenwich emerged as the leader after the first round of the 77th Connecticut Open at the Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield.
Meanwhile, Darien's Mike Ballo Jr. — who plays out of — is tied for 35th with Weston's Bernie D'Amato after carding 74s.
Pastore, who plays out of the eClub of Fairfield, stole the spotlight from 71 of the area's top professionals by shooting a sizzling 5-under par 66 Monday to grab a two-shot lead.
Pastore, the 2009 Connecticut Public Links chanpion, had only one bogey on the day to go with four birdies and an eagle, which came on the uphill 463-yard par five eighth hole. Pastore is looking to become the first amateur to win the Open since Jeff Hedden from Black Hall Club took home the trophy at Round Hill Club in 2008.
Hedden, who won the New England Amateur last week, is also in the field and is six shots back after an opening round 72.
Among local players, Wilton's Brian Murphy, who plays out of Brooklawn is tied for fourth after a 2-under 69. At 71 are Redding's Jim St. Pierre, a former champion, and Norwalk's Gerry Courville. Wilton's John Murphy is tied for 49th after a 75.
Danbury's Bensel and New Haven's Evan Beirne are tied for second at 68. Other former champs near the leaderboard include Kevin Giancola from Canton (71), Steve Sokol from Orange Hills Country Club (74) and defending champion Kyle Gallo (74).
In the last 14 years, Gallo has won the Connecticut Open a record-tying four times.
Play will resume on Tuesday at at 7 a.m. with tee times running until 2:20 pm. Following the conclusion of the second round, the field will be cut to the low 40 players, including ties, for the final round on Wednesday.
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