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Athlete of the Month: Sedlar handles the pressure

By ALEX HALL
New Hampshire Union Leader

September 27. 2017 8:22PM
Chelsea Sedlar follows through on a tee shot on the 11th hole during the 2017 NHWGA Championship at Eastman Golf Links on Monday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)



Every time Chelsea Sedlar stepped onto a golf course this past summer, it was always in the back of her mind.

She wanted to win the New Hampshire Women’s Golf Association Amateur Championship for a second straight year.

Sedlar did not compete in any other major tournaments this past summer, focusing instead on preparing for Eastman Golf Links in Grantham, where this year’s amateur tournament was held.

The Merrimack resident had never played Eastman before but heard from friends it was a short course where accuracy was key. Sedlar spent the weeks leading up to the tournament playing similar courses to ready herself for the challenges she’d face at Eastman.

After winning the tournament last year at Abenaqui Country Club in Rye, the Sacred Heart University junior knew she’d be expected to be in the title hunt again.

“There was a lot of added pressure knowing people were expecting that from me,” Sedlar said. “But I also like that position and I had been in that position at school ... I was nervous but comfortable at the same time.”

Sedlar handled both the pressure and the Eastman course just fine.

The Nashua Country Club member won her second consecutive NHWGA Amateur Championship with a 12-over 222 over the three-day tournament that concluded Aug. 2.

For defending her title, Sedlar was named the August Apple Therapy Services/Bedford Ambulatory Surgical Center/Express MED Athlete of the Month by the New Hampshire Union Leader Board of Judges.

Sedlar is the first golfer to win the amateur championship in consecutive years since Dana Harrity did so in 1997 and 1998. Harrity finished as the runner-up this year with a 23-over 233.

“It’s a great honor to be paired with back-to-back winners such as Dana and putting myself up with the winners and one of the premier golfers in New Hampshire,” Sedlar said. “And mentally and internally, I came out with a goal this summer and I accomplished that goal.”

A Sedlar repeat victory was hardly ever in doubt throughout the tournament.

Sedlar had a four-stroke lead entering the final day of the tournament and created even more distance between herself and the rest of the field with her 1-under 36 on the front nine to open the final round. She birdied on the second hole and parred the other eight.

Sedlar, who finished with a 1-over 71 in the final round, credited her performance throughout the tournament to the mindset she carries whenever she competes. Sedlar’s strategy is to stay within herself, play her own game and not worry about what her competitors are doing.

“Coming into being a freshman in college, I always focused on the others I was playing with ... it took me a couple years of collegiate play (to realize) it’s me against the course,” Sedlar said.

The amateur tourney helps prepare Sedlar for the college season and she considers it the premier event of the summer. Sedlar, who has competed in the last four amateur tournaments, enjoys the fun but competitive atmosphere of the event.

“There’s a sense of pressure that comes with it,” Sedlar said. “When I’m at school, I get the same pressure. I like the feeling of having pressure and controlling my nerves and it’s something I’m getting used to.”

Other athletes considered for the August honor were Brewster Whitecaps Cape Cod Baseball League baseball player Mickey Gasper, Goffstown Little League player Aiden O’Connell, Hopkinton High School boys’ soccer player Gerry Donahue and Southern New Hampshire University golfer Garret Olivar.

Gasper batted .293 (12-for-41) with four runs scored, seven RBIs and eight walks last month, helping Brewster capture the 2017 Cape league championship.

O’Connell batted .583 (7-for-12) with eight runs scored, one RBI and two walks at the plate and pitched 6 ⅔ innings over two victories for Goffstown in the 11-12-year-old Little League New England Regional last month.

Donahue logged three goals and two assists over Hopkinton’s 2-0 start to the season.

Olivar, a sophomore from Manchester, shared individual medalist honors with classmate Drew Kane en route to the Penmen’s 286-304 season-opening triumph over St. Anselm College Aug. 31 at Lake Sunapee Country Club.

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Previous 2017 winners: January, Natalie Giraldi, Bedford (swimming); February, Devin Gilligan, Amherst (basketball); March, Joey Glynn, Portsmouth (basketball); April, Rob Hart, Londonderry (lacrosse); May, Brennen Oxford, Durham (baseball); June, Cody Morissette, Exeter (baseball); July, Mike Martel, New Ipswich (golf).

ahall@unionleader.com .

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.

Athlete of the Month recipients are honored at the annual Leaders: A Celebration of Sports Champions event held in February.


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