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Cilley's Back Nine Propels Him to Top of Mid-Amateur Leaderboard

October 3rd, 2022

Thornton, NH – Fall weather has officially moved in as the New Hampshire Mid-Amateur Championship got underway at Owl’s Nest Resort with a 90-minute frost delay to kick things off.  Despite the delay, red numbers were still in play for many golfers, including round one leader Jim Cilley (Laconia CC) who fired a three-under par, 69.  Cilley is followed close by several strong competitors, including Craig Steckowych (Portsmouth CC) and Will McLaughlin (Concord CC) who both sit one shot back of Cilley.
 
Many playing in this tournament have a few Owl’s Nest rounds under their belt already this season as the New Hampshire Four Ball Championship was hosted by Owl’s Nest in the spring.  Cilley is one of those golfers and Cilley found success in the spring like he is finding success in the New Hampshire Mid-Amateur.  Much like the Four Ball, his round started out mediocre in the Mid-Amateur where he made bogey on his opening hole and another bogey on the 6th hole, making the turn at two-over par.
 
“I just didn’t get the speed right for the whole front nine, I kept leaving putts short”, commented Cilley after the round and he was determined to fix that on the back nine.
 
Two-over par after nine holes put him a few places down the leaderboard as a few golfers were making the turn in the red.  Cilley, however, had other plans for the back nine.  He started it out by rolling in a birdie putt on the par-3, 10th hole which kicked off a very strong back nine.  From there, he went on to pour in four more birdie putts to shoot 31 (-5) on the back nine at Owl’s Nest and finish up the day with a 69 (-3) which is good enough to grab the lead by one stroke with 36 holes left to play.
 
Owl’s Nest seems to fit Cilley’s game well and having played the course many times, Cilley knows where he needs to be more cautious with his game and where he can take advantage of some holes.  He stated, “I just feel like I have played so much here, the golf course is comfortable.”
 
“I figure if I can manage the holes that I don’t typically play well and make some pars, a bogey here and there isn’t going to kill you, and just take advantage of the holes you hit good ones on”, continued Cilley.
 
While a three-under par round is good enough to put him at the top, Cilley now has a target on his back as players look to keep him in their sights.  Will McLaughlin and Craig Steckowych are just one shot back of him, both carding 70 (-2) in their first round of the New Hampshire Mid-Amateur.
 
Just like Cilley, McLaughlin began he round making bogey on the 1st hole at Owl’s Nest.  With a little laugh, he stated, “I started off falling into a bunker on the first hole.  That was a great way to start.”
 
“I played really well from there on, I just kind of settled in and made a bunch of birdies on the front nine”, continued McLaughlin.
 
He made the turn at two-under par and went on to make two bogeys and two birdies on the back nine to keep himself at the two-under par position.  At the time he finished, two-under par led the way, but Cilley came in one shot lower.
 
Being among the leaders, McLaughlin commented on what was working for his game saying, “My irons are great, the par 3’s I was always putting for birdie; I had a lot of birdie putts.  Like everybody could say, I could have been a couple better, but I could have been a couple worse.”
 
Steckowych had a steady and consistent opening round of the tournament.  He carded six-straight pars to start his round before rolling in his first birdie putt.  He made back-to-back birdies on the front to make the turn at two-under par, matching McLaughlin on the front nine.  He also made two bogeys and two birdies on the back nine to maintain his two-under par round, sitting in a comfortable position for Round 2. 
 
Like many other golfers, both Cilley, McLaughlin and Steckowych share the same sentiment in looking to continue what they were doing in Round 1 into Round 2 of the tournament.  There is plenty of golf left to play with a strong field of competitors at the top of the leaderboard.
 
Round 1 | Leaderboard
Round 2 | Pairings & Tee Times