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Damon Salo of The Shattuck Golf Club lines up a putt during the State Amateur Championship at the Golf Club of New England on Monday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

State Am starts

Pleat (the younger) starts strong in State Am

Phil Pleat and his son, James, enjoyed a special moment in Cherry Hills Village, Colo., last summer when they became the third father-son duo in history to compete in the United States Amateur Championship.

Closer to home on Monday at the Golf Club of New England in Stratham, James Pleat got off to a solid start toward doing something his father has already done three times: winning the New Hampshire Golf Association State Amateur Championship.

Pleat of Nashua CC shot a two-under 70 to lead the field of 144 after the first round of medal play. Today’s second round will determine the field of 64 who will advance to match play beginning on Wednesday.Pleat takes a one-shot lead into today’s round over Jamie Ferullo of Rochester CC. Trailing Pleat by two strokes with an even par 72 are Joe Cooper of Portsmouth CC, newly crowned NHGA Juniors champion Tom Hixon of Rye and Damon Salo of the Shattuck Golf Club.

Pleat did not bogey a single hole on Monday. He registered a birdie on a par 4 ninth hole and went two-under with his second birdie on the par 3 14th hole.

Ferullo on the other hand had a topsy-turvy round.

He was five-over on the front nine despite making an eagle on the par 5, third hole. But bogeys on holes two, six, and nine coupled with double bogeys on holes five and seven cost him.

However it was a far different story on the back side. He eagled the par 5 10th hole and then ran the table for four straight birdies on holes 14 through 17 before parring out on 18.

Cooper was two-over after the first nine and managed to break even with four birdies on the back nine.

Salo was two-under after nine and hit the skids, bogeying 10 and 11 and carding a double bogey on hole 15.

Hixon has been hot of late, winning the NHGA Junior Championship at Campbell’s Scottish Highlands in Salem, besting Matthew Paradis of Manchester Central, a solid player out of Derryfield CC. Hixon birdied holes 15, 16 and 17 to pull even for a shot at medalist today.

Jim Cilley of Canterbury Woods, the 2011 champ, sits in a six-way tie for 12th place with a 76.

Defending champ Joe Leavitt of Atkinson finished the day with a six-over 78. Phil Pleat, the three-time champ, is at seven-over 79 while two-time champ Craig Steckowych of Portsmouth is at 80. Dan Arvanitis of Derryfield, the 2001 champ, faired better with a 78.

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