While it was cool and windy Saturday for the first day of The Mackel, the New Orleans area’s amateur golf championship, participants made the best of the conditions at Oak Hollow Golf Club in Slidell.

Leading the open division of the 36-hole event was Jack Abney, who shot a 72. Behind him were defending champion Buck Williams, Scott Sterbcow and Todd McPherson, all at 74.

Abney, Williams and Sterbcow will tee off at 10:28 a.m. Sunday.

Bert Donier paced the senior division with a 74 and Andy Bower had 75. Ed Malone, Ricky Salvaggio and Dana Sutton all had a 76 to lead the super senior division.

Saturday’s leaders had different ways of dealing with the windy weather.

“Just to hit it solid. That was my goal from the first tee,” Abney said. “With the weather being the way it was going to be, just hit it solid and let the cards fall where they may. “

Abney said this was first time in 10 years playing in The Mackel.

Still, he is no stranger to the course at Oak Hollow.

“I grew up playing here,” he said. “I kind of know about every acre of it.”

He said one key to playing at the course is patience in dealing with the slow greens.

Williams said the windy conditions caused him to think more.

“I guess it makes you think a little more, which is good for me,” Williams said. “It kind of evens the field out as far as ball-striking. It’s more about decision making and hitting the ball.

“The wind was really tricky today. You’ve just got to hit it straight off the tee and judge distance right on the iron shots. It was plain tough out there.”

For Sterbcow, the wind forced him to take a different approach.

“You have to hit some different shots that you’re not used to playing,” he said. “You’re not used to doing that in normal conditions.”