Berliner leads PGA Assistant Championship

Scott Berliner shot a 6-under 66 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Callaway Golf PGA Assistant Championship.

The 36-year-old Berliner, a PGA assistant professional at Normanside Country Club in Delmar, N.Y., had seven birdies and a bogey on PGA Golf Club's Wanamaker Course

"The wind was down today and I think that helped us all out," Berliner said. "I started out a little nervous and had a bogey on 12, which was not the way I wanted to start.

"I regained my focus after that hiccup and I played well down the stretch. I birdied both par 3s on the front and played the par 5s 3 under. That is huge in a tournament like this."

Timothy Puetz of Hamlet Golf and Country Club in Commack, N.Y., was second.

"I got off to a nervous start but made a couple birdies and settled in," Puetz said. "I putted the ball well all day and the preparation over the past few weeks really paid off today."

Defending champion Frank Bensel of Century Country Club in Purchase N.Y., opened with a 72.

"It wasn't exactly the start I wanted but I'm not out of it by any stretch," Bensel said. "I do need to throw up some 65s or 66s over the next few days to get back into it, though, that's for sure."

Stephany Fleet, a PGA apprentice at Muskegon Country Club in Michigan, had a 76. She's the lone female player in the field.

The tournament winner will receive a spot in the PGA Professional National Championship in June, and the top 10 finishers and ties will get berths into the first stage of the 2012 PGA Tour qualifying tournament.