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November 26. 2012 8:29PM

Keene golfer Chelso Barrett gets nod as October Athlete of the Month


Chelso Barrett of Keene follows his tee shot during the 65th U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at The Gof Club of New England in Stratham on Tuesday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
Sustained excellence sometimes can be taken for granted.

Take Chelso Barrett, for example.

Barrett, a senior at Keene High School, has carved out a reputation as one of the best junior golfers in the country. He reached the finals of the U.S. Junior Amateur at the age of 16 and committed to playing for Texas Christian University during his junior year of high school.

So, in an almost quiet way, he set history in October by becoming only the fourth player in NHIAA history and the first in the large-school division since the creation of Class L/Division I in 1993 to win at least three individual state titles.

He was so good at so young an age that now anything he accomplishes in the state is almost expected. And while that may be so, it would be a mistake to take such excellence for granted.

Barrett was named the October Athlete of the Month as voted on by the New Hampshire Union Leader Board of Judges after winning the Division I championship by a whopping seven strokes over the field. He was the only player to record a sub-par round in the competition and the only one to match par for the tournament by stringing together rounds of 68-74 at Cochecho Country Club in Dover.

Barrett, who helped Keene to a runner-up finish in the team competition, ended his career with three individual titles and led Keene to two team titles.

"It's a real high achievement when you win the state (individual) title, but I was always more focused on the team title. To win that is pretty cool because you have to have a solid team," Barrett said.

Barrett prepped for his final year of high school golf with another full summer of amateur tournaments. He won the state junior title for the second time, qualified for match play at the U.S. Publinx and competed in the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Amateur.

After winning the high school tournament, Barrett capped off October by winning the U.S. Junior Challenge Cup Invitational at the Pinehills Golf Course in Plymouth, Mass. He shot rounds of 69-67 to top a field of 54 golfers from the Northeast by five strokes.

"That was probably the best golf I played all year," Barrett said.

To submit a nomination for future Athlete of the Month consideration, email the Union Leader Sports Department at sports@unionleader.com and enter "Athlete of the Month" in the subject line.

Previous 2012 winners: January, Drew Ledwith, Keene (swimming); February, Zach Bridson, Sandown (wrestling); March, Curtis Arsenault, Berlin (basketball); April, Peter Williamson, Hanover (golf); May, Morgan Andrews, Milford (soccer); June, Hillary Holmes, Exeter (track); July, Lauren Thibodeau, Hampstead (golf); August, Sarah Groff, Hanover (triathlon); September, Victoria Arlen, Exeter (swimming).

jfennell@unionleader.com

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