It's Salo vs. Leavitt in NH Golf Association State Amateur Championship
Damon Salo approaches the 10th green during the semi final round of the Men's State Am Golf Tournament held at Stonebridge Country Club in Goffstown on Friday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
But it wasn’t quite enough.
Paradis cut the lead down to two holes, but would get no closer and Salo, who plays out of Bretwood Golf Club, ended the match with a par on the 17th for a 2 and 1 triumph to advance to his first State Am final.
“Joe’s a good buddy of mine and he’s been in this position before and won it,” Salo said. “He definitely has the edge experience-wise, but I’ve been playing well, too. We usually have good matches when we play.”
Leavitt and Salo each won a pair of Friday matches on the way to today’s title duel.
Matthew Paradis, from Derryfield Country Club, during the semi final round of the Men's State Am Golf Tournament held at Stonebridge Country Club in Goffstown on Friday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
Then he beat Jim Cilley of Penacook, the 2011 champ who plays out of Pembroke Pines, in the semifinals, 5 and 4, in the afternoon.
Well, maybe one.
Leavitt pulled his first shot of the match, lost his ball in the rough and had to take a drop. He had a bogey and lost the hole. But the slow start didn’t bother him a bit: He lost little else the rest of the day.
“I won’t be nervous at all,” Leavitt said. “I live for this stuff. But the 36-hole final is a grind.”
Salo beat Nick MacDonald, out of Hanover Country Club, 3 and 2, in his morning match.
Salo will be a senior and captain at Johnson & Wales in Miami, which finished third in the NAIA national championships in May. He had been busy at a music festival in Indiana, at a wedding and entertaining out-of-state friends and had not played for four weeks before the tournament began.
The eagle helped put a little pressure on Salo.
Paradis hit his driver on the par-5 No. 14 about 280 yards and had 255 yards to the hole. He hit his 3-wood to within two feet of the pin.
On No. 15, Paradis lipped out a 15-foot birdie putt, which would have amped up the pressure a bit more.
Salo held on for the win.