MARBLEHEAD -- Mike Calef and Mark Souliotis have completed 18 holes in their 36-hole championship match at the 104th Massachusetts Amateur, with Calef taking a 1 up lead into the lunch break at Tedesco Country Club.
In a battle between players who had never reached the final match before, much less won it, Calef took the lead -- his first of the day -- when he won the 17th hole with a par. On a slightly overcast day in front of a decent-sized gallery that includes Tedesco member Mike Eruzione, nine of the 18 holes have been won: three with birdies, and one with an eagle.
Counting putts that have been conceded, Souliotis shot the equivalent of 3-over-par 73 on the first 18, while Calef had a 2-over 72.
It was Souliotis who grabbed the early lead, taking the first two holes -- No. 1 with a par when Calef three-putted, No. 2 with a 3-foot birdie. After Nos. 3 and 4 were halved with pars, Calef squared the match by winning the fifth with a par and the sixth with a birdie.
Souliotis took the lead again, despite making a bogey on the downhill, 238-yard seventh, a very challenging par-3. Both players missed the green, but after chipping on, Calef three-putted to make a double bogey.
It remained a one-hole lead for Souliotis until the 10th, when Calef drained a 15-foot eagle putt to again square the match. Souliotis re-took the lead on the next hole, when he drained a 10-footer for birdie.
The two remaining holes won were by Calef, on the 13th and 17th, both time with pars.
It was a slow initial 18 holes (4 1/2 hours), but tightly contested. Expect the players back on the course shortly.