MANCHESTER — Old friends may meet again today in the Mike Ryan Memorial Championship.
Russell Hamel and Bryce Zimmerman, both of whom are representing Nashua Country Club, each advanced to today’s semifinals in the Eagle Division (ages 16-18) Championship Flight by winning quarterfinal-round matches at Derryfield Country Club on Tuesday. Hamel defeated Cameron Leppert of Candia Woods 5 and 3, and Zimmerman moved on with a 6-and-4 victory over Manchester CC’s Matthew Simmons.
Zimmerman beat Hamel in the championship match of this tournament’s Junior Division (ages 14-15) last year.
“We met through golf,” Zimmerman said. “We’re pretty close and have been close for a lot of years. We don’t play a lot of competitive matches, so if we play (Wednesday) that would be nice.”
The event was formerly known as the Red Ryan CYO Tournament, but is now part of the New Hampshire Golf Association’s Junior Tour. It is named in honor of Mike Ryan, the longtime Derryfield golf pro who died last November.
Hamel, who will be a sophomore at Pelham High School in the fall, started slow in his match against Leppert, but won five straight holes to go 4-up heading to the 11th tee. He made three pars and two birdies during that five-hole stretch.
“I couldn’t make any putts on the first six holes,” Hamel said. “The greens are tough here. I got things going in the middle of the round.”
There will be two rounds of match play in each division today. Hamel will have to beat Stonebridge CC’s Nate Stevens to earn a rematch against Zimmerman in today’s championship match. Stevens defeated Cochecho CC’s Owen Himmer 3 and 2 in the quarterfinals.
Zimmerman, who will be a junior at Nashua North, will face Hanover CC’s Jack Meehan in today’s semifinals. Meehan beat The Maplewood CC’s Spenser Stevens 8 and 6 in the quarterfinals.
Today’s other semifinal-round matches at Derryfield CC:
Eagle Division (First Flight): Kyle Raspuzzi (unattached) vs. Jake Mielcarz (Concord CC); and Nicholas Tufts (unattached) vs. Jack Poitras (The Oaks).
Junior Division (Championship Flight): Ben Dougherty (North Conway CC) vs. Elliot Wallace (Manchester CC); and Noah Leclair (Nashua CC) vs. Evan Rollins (Laconia CC).
Junior Division (First Flight): Sean McCaffrey (unattached) vs. Sam Hopkins (Candia Woods); and Ace Chancey (unattached) vs Rouen Pelletier (Stonebridge).
Birdie Division (Championship Flight): Jack Steele (Concord CC) vs. Sean Guerrette (Intervale CC); and Joel Collins (Manchester CC) vs. Brady Cuneo (Windham CC).
Hamel and Zimmerman both advanced to match play in last week’s New Hampshire Amateur Championship at Portsmouth Country Club. The Stattuck’s Cameron Salo beat Hamel in the Round of 64, and then eliminated Zimmerman in the Round of 32.
Hamel, who is 14 — two years younger than Zimmerman — requested to play against older golfers in this event.
“He called (the NHGA) and asked to play up because he wanted to play me,” Zimmerman said. “That’s what he told me anyway.”