Martel grinds out State Amateur win
Mike Martel, right, reacts to coming up short on his putt on 16 while Chris Rivard places his ball for his putt. (Bruce Taylor/Union Leader)
Chris Rivard had a 4-up lead on Martel at the midway point of Saturday's New Hampshire State Amateur championship match at the Golf Club of New England, but Martel battled back to win the tournament with a 2 and 1 victory.
"I was a lot better in the afternoon," Martel said. "I didn't feel like I hit it that bad (in the morning), but nothing was going my way. When I was 4-down I knew it was nothing. It's a long day. I had previous champions tell me, 'Don't worry if you get down. There's a lot of golf left. Just keep grinding all day.' That's what I did."
It was the second trip to the State Am championship match for the 34-year-old Rivard, who lost to Concord Country Club's Bob Mielcarz in the 2000 final. Rivard is a Hudson resident and Candia Woods member who played as a pro for six years after playing college golf at Southern New Hampshire University.
"He made some putts in the afternoon" Rivard said. "That was the difference. I think I lost three of the four holes he ended up winning to get back in the match. I think I let the lead go more than anything else."
The hole that may have caused Rivard to lose sleep last night was the par-5 15th, where each player made a double-bogey in the afternoon. Martel hit his tee shot into the woods, shanked his second shot and didn't have much of a third shot because his ball was nestled between two tree stumps.