THE WINNER of this year’s New Hampshire Golf Association Amateur Championship could be the golfer who best navigates Abenaqui Country Club’s tricky greens.
The 118th State Am will be contested July 11-16 at Abenaqui, which is in Rye.
“If we don’t get too much rain, the greens are probably going to be the biggest defense of the golf course,” Abenaqui head professional Jim Schouller said. “It’s tough to read the greens. And the speed of the greens is going to be another factor. We’ll see how fast they get. Being located on the Seacoast where the temperatures are less than they are more inland, we’re able to keep the greens at a little bit faster pace, cut a little bit shorter just because it’s not as hot or humid as maybe inland.
“I’d say (the greens) are very subtle,” Schouller said. “It’s my fifth year here as the head golf professional and I’m still learning the greens. You can’t read these greens. You only can remember them. For example, our second hole here — every time I play it, I feel like the ball will break toward the water and it always breaks away from the water. I still can’t convince myself to have it break away from the water and I end up missing the putt. The greens are constantly changing.”
This is the first time the State Am has been played at Abenaqui since 1995. Concord Country Club’s Bob Mielcarz prevailed that year.
Nashua Country Club’s James Pleat will be trying to win his third straight State Am. Pleat won the 2020 State Am on his home course, and won last year’s tournament at North Conway CC. Mielcarz is the last player to win the State Am in three consecutive years (1977-79).
The State Am features 36 holes of stroke play, after which the field will be reduced to 64 golfers who advance to match play.
Spectators who attend this year’s tournament may want to position themselves around the 15th hole, which will be a drivable par 4.
“You could have a swing there right before you get down to the final couple holes,” Schouller said. “It is high-risk, high reward and probably my favorite hole out here. I’ve made eagle there and I’ve made double-digit numbers. There’s plenty of trouble. It is going to be a fun one to watch.
“The wind traditionally comes off the water — off the ocean, which blows left to right. You have to hit a draw in order to get the ball up to the green, so that means you have to work it into the wind. Typically for right-handed golfers a left-to-right wind is always gonna be their nemesis. If you pull off the shot, you definitely will get rewarded with a great chance. Laying up back to a full wedge to that green is not an easy shot. If you have a full wedge into the green and they put the flag in the back, it’s nearly impossible to get up and down unless you hole a 40-foot putt.
“If there were one place I would want to go watch a match, that would be the spot I’d go watch, even for stroke play, for that matter.”
Even if golfers stay out of trouble on No. 15, they’ll still have two challenging holes to play. Schouller called No. 17 and No. 18 “scorecard killers.” Hole No. 17 is a par-5 that measures 563 yards from the black tees. The par-4 18th hole is 420 yards.
“You may see a double bogey win one of these holes just because there’s so much trouble out there if you’re not controlling your golf ball well that day,” Schouller said. “You could see some real interesting scores coming down the stretch.
“There’s plenty of trouble to find out there, but those who succeed during the amateur are going to be the ones who are patient and try to take as many double-bogeys and bogeys off the scorecard versus try to make a lot of birdies to offset that. Pars will be good. Birdies are not going to be plentiful.”
State Am qualifiers
Those who earned their way into the State Am field through last week’s NHGA qualifiers:
Beaver Meadow Country Club: Gavin Richardson (Beaver Meadow GC), Josiah Hakala (Beaver Meadow GC), Jake Berkio (Ridgewood CC), Craig Moran (Nashua CC), Evan Desjardins (Atkinson Resort and CC), Alex Smyth (The Golf Club of NE), Thomas Hickey (Ridgewood CC), Rob Henley (Lake Sunapee CC), John Crowley (Laconia CC), Adam Godbout (Concord CC), Rob Parsi (Beaver Meadow GC), Chris Kelly (Lake Sunapee), Nathaniel Kabogoh (Windham CC), Matthew Walsh (Granite Field GC), Travis Woods (Loudon CC), Riley Reardon (Atkinson Resort and CC), Noah Leclair (Nashua CC), Josh Johnson (Ridgewood CC), Nick Tufts (Nashua CC), Ryan Blossom (Lake Sunapee CC), Branden Porter (The Overlook GC), Sean Fitzgerald (Portsmouth CC), DJ Petropulos (Nashua CC), Ryan Phinney (Concord CC), William Miele (Nashua CC), Alexander Thompson (Beaver Meadow GC), Derek Jensen (Concord CC).
Manchester Country Club: Matthew Gover (Atkinson), David Larrivee (Bedford), Griffin Barbaro (Goffstown), Daniel Joyal (Nashua), Elliot Wallace (Bedford), Kevin Doherty (Bedford), Scott Orlosk (Manchester), Dan Moquin (Bedford), Brian Schaeffer (Nashua), Barry Hammer (Auburn), Don Kossuth (Merrimack), Tyler Walsh (Hooksett), Patrick Mahan (Manchester).
Pease Golf Course: Kurt Eddins (Cochecho CC), Derek Dinwoodie (Farmington CC), Evan Rollins (Laconia CC), Dan Pleva (Windham CC), Valentino Cheek (Pease GC), Michael Giacco (The Golf Club of NE), Justin Fogarty (Candia Oaks), Will Ducharme (The Golf Club of NE), Kevin Gaynor (Souhegan Woods), Troy Joncas (Atkinson Resort and CC), Kevin Strong (Rochester CC), Nick Fairweather (Windham CC), Nate Stevens (Stonebridge CC), Peter Keilty (Portsmouth CC), Walton Cutshall (Abenaqui CC), Nicolas Fiset (Atkinson Resort and CC), Chris MacMillan (Exeter CC), Peter Wilson (Cochecho CC), Nick Schlosstein (Abenaqui CC), John Pettoruto (Atkinson Resort and CC), Nick Stone (Hoodkroft CC), Nick Stefanelli (Windham CC), Ryan Scollins (Bald Peak CC), Jeffery Sovis (Candia Oaks), Jeffrey Barnes (Pease GC).
Bretwood Golf Course (South): Ben Peters (Lake Sunapee CC), James Kinnunen (The Shattuck GC), Reese Woodbury (North Conway CC), Jonathan Douglas (Amherst), Jim Jankowski (Baker Hill GC), Jeremy Burke (Hoodkroft CC), Jake Nutter (Manchester CC), Timothy Yarosevich (Bretwood GC), Rob Zimmerman (Nashua CC), Izzy Avilez (Bretwood GC), Tyler Lizotte (Sky Meadow CC), Clifton Spinney (Sky Meadow CC), Keith Stone (Pease GC), Eric Karlson (The Shattuck), Wyatt Burbank (Youth on Course), Collin Stroshine (Bretwood GC).
Aces wild at Londonderry CCManchester resident Alan Scalingi made a hole-in-one June 13 at Londonderry Country Club. Scalingi aced the 210-yard, par-3, first hole using his driver. The shot was witnessed by his wife, Kathy.
Two days earlier Manchester’s Jeff Montembeasult used a 5-wood to make a hole-in-one on Londonderry Country Club’s par-3, 155-yard sixth hole during the East Manchester Fish and Game golf outing. Steve Cere, Lenny Pappas and Dave Tremblay witnessed the shot.
Question: During match play, a caddie is carrying both players’ bags. Before his or her stroke, Player A asks the caddie what club Player B just used from about the same location, and is given that information. What is the correct ruling?
Answer: There is no penalty.
Source: USGA Rule 10.2a
SNHU golf outing July 25
The Southern New Hampshire University department of athletics golf outing will be held July 25 at Derryfield Country Club. The event was originally scheduled for June 27, but was postponed because of bad weather.
New Hampshire golf calendar
July 5: Pick Your Partner (The Oaks Golf Links)
July 7: Junior Tour (Nippo Lake)
July 11-16: NH Amateur Championship (Abenaqui CC).
July 18-20: New England Amateur (Alpine CC)
July 18-20: Mike Ryan Memorial (Derryfield CC)
July 26-28: Junior Championship (Country Club of NH)
Aug. 1-3: Women’s State Amateur (Concord CC)
Aug. 10-12: NHGA Stroke Play Championship (Sky Meadow CC, Canterbury Woods CC and Windham CC)
Aug. 15-16: Junior All-Star Championship (Windham CC)
Aug. 17-18: Women’s Mid-Amateur (Derryfield CC)
Aug. 30: Stefanie Thomas Championship (Cochecho CC)
Sept. 6-7: Senior Championship (Keene CC)
Oct. 3-5: NHGA Mid-Amateur Championship (Owl’s Nest)