Ballo has slim lead after first round of Connecticut Open

Former Trinity Catholic standout Mike Ballo Jr. has a one-stroke lead after Monday's opening round  of the 80th annual Connecticut Open Championship at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton.

The 25-year-old Ballo shot a two-under par 68 to lead three players — Jason Caron, John Flaherty and Brian Gaffney — by one stroke heading into Tuesday's second round. Those three players and Ballo were the only golfers in the field of 150 to break par.

Ballo, who played collegiately at St. John's, was three under through 13 holes but then bogeyed the next two holes. He closed the round with a birdie and two pars

Among golfers representing Rolling Hills, Ray Ford, the head pro at the club, had the best score with a five-over 75. Ford is one of 22 players tied for 39th place after the first round.

Conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association, the Connecticut Open is the only CSGA championship that is open to both amateurs and professionals. The tournament tests the state’s top golfers over three rounds of stroke play and has a total purse of $50,000, with the professional champion capturing a winner’s check of $12,500.