Max Kirsch

Golfer Max Kirsch

Max Kirsch started strong in the City Golf Championship, making a pair of birdies, a combination that enabled the Central Cambria High School graduate to hold a one-stroke advantage on Friday at Berkley Hills Golf Course.

“I got pretty comfortable off the tees,” Kirsch said after shooting a 2-under-par 69. “I made a couple putts early. I wasn’t really putting it in the woods. It’s tight here. It gets bouncy, so if I just keep it in the fairway I do all right.”

Defending champion Tom Facciani, who also won the event in 2012, is second entering Saturday’s second round with a 1-under 70.

Tony Orlandi and A.J. Corle are tied for third at even-par 71.

Stori Snider and Kurtis Straw, the 2015 city champion, are tied for fifth at 1-over 72. Derek Hayes, who won the city title in 2018 and 2017, is in seventh with a 73.

“It got real windy on the back,” said Kirsch, a four-time All-Atlantic Region and All-PSAC player at Indiana (Pa.). “I made double (bogey) on 18. It is what it is. I started putting better. My speed was good all day. I didn’t have any 3-putts.”

Facciani shot a 34 on the front nine, with an eagle on the par-5 No. 2 hole.

“I just came in and played with my friends Dave Murgas and Derek Hayes,” Facciani said. “I had a little shaky start, but on No. 2 I hit a good tee shot. It was downwind. I hit a nice wedge to 3 feet and made the putt for eagle.”

Facciani had birdies on 6, 8 and 11. He had double bogeys on 7 and 12.

“To come in with a low round you need to take care of the par 3s,” Facciani said. “Don’t make too many bogeys. I had two doubles (bogeys) which was challenging. Hopefully I don’t have any (Saturday).”

The second round will begin at 8:40 a.m. on Saturday.

“Just one shot at a time,” said Kirsch, a graduate assistant coach at St. Francis University. “That’s all you can do.” 

Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5083. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.

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