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Local Golfers Battle At Conn. Open In Darien

DARIEN, Conn. – Stamford golfer Mike Ballo Jr. led the field after the first round of play in the 78th Connecticut Open at the Wee Burn Country Club in Darien. Ballo shot a three-under 69 in the first 18 holes of the stroke-play championship.

Ballo screamed out in front of the pack, sinking birdies on three of the first five holes. The Stamford native racked up six birdies on the day, but bogies on holes 6, 13 and 18 prevented him from pulling away.

Four other local golfers are hot on Ballo's heels, including last year's runner up, Danny Balin of Burning Tree Country Club in Greenwich (-2, 70), and defending Connecticut Open champion Frank Bensel of Shorehaven Golf Club in Norwalk (-1, 71). Dan Powers of Stamford, an amateur, sits tied for fourth place after posting an even 72 on the first day.

Ballo will be paired with Bensel in their second round, teeing off at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

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