Season-Long Match Play Championship Concludes at Golf Club of New England
Stratham, NH – The Women’s, Mid-Amateur and Senior Match Play Championship began in May at Stonebridge Country Club and concluded today at Golf Club of New England where six players teed it up in hopes of being crowned this year’s Match Play champions. The Women’s and Mid-Amateur titles were decided in dominating fashion as Margaret Brenner and Mark Stevens walked away with the titles in their respective divisions. Quite the opposite, the Senior title required 25 holes for Bob Mielcarz to come out on top.
Deb Clauson (Portsmouth CC) and Margaret Brenner (Nashua CC) proudly teed it up at Golf Club of New England as the two women who survived the Women’s Match Play Championship to make it to the finals. Clauson, the top seed of the championship, was determined to take her number one seed to the end, but Brenner had other plans. Brenner came out strong winning the first four holes of the match and setting the tone for the day. While Clauson was able to halve a few holes on the front, they made the turn with Brenner at 6up.
With a strong competitor ahead of her, Clauson needed to start winning some holes to extend the match further into the back nine. Brenner was finally able to close it out on the 12th hole at Golf Club of New England, claiming the Women’s Match Play title with a 7&6 victory over Clauson. Brenner displayed true dominance the entire way through the championship as her matches never reached further than the 14th hole.
The Mid-Amateur Match Play title was also decided in a dominating performance by one player, Mark Stevens (Beaver Meadow GC). Stevens’ road to the final match was not an easy one, as he began the match play portion of the tournament with the 7 seed and had to face some challenging competitors, including Jim Cilley in the Semifinal round. Stevens was able to defeat Cilley 1up to move on to face Keith Stone (Pease GC Online), the top seed in their division of the tournament.
Like Brenner, Stevens got off to a strong start, getting himself to 3up thru 4 holes over Stone. It was clear that Stevens’ game was dialed in, and he was not going to give Stone a chance, which was clear when they made the turn with Stevens at 5up. Stone, knowing he needed to start taking chances in hopes of gaining a hole or two back on Stevens, made two attempts at reaching the short par-4, 11th hole from the tee, but ended up conceding the hole to Stevens when those attempts failed. Stevens closed it out on the 12th hole, winning the match and Mid-Amateur Match Play title 7&6.
In the Senior Match Play Championship, two decorated NHGA champions, Craig Steckowych (Porstmouth CC) and Bob Mielcarz (Concord CC) duked it out for the title in a much different result that the other two matches. If anyone were to check the online bracket updates, they would see that the match was tied for much of the day, which is exactly what happened. The two were tied thru 4 holes, thru 10 holes, thru 15 holes and ultimately tied after 18 so they headed to extra holes to determine the champion. It wasn’t surprising when the two need an additional seven holes at Golf Club of New England to determine a champion, where Steckowych left a must-make putt hanging on the edge of the hole for Mielcarz to finally be crowned this year’s champion.
The match ultimately came down to their short games, where Mielcarz excelled while Steckowych struggled with the putter. With Mielcarz claiming the title he snaps Steckowych’s four-year win streak in the Senior Match Play Championship.
The NHGA would like to extend a sincere thank you to all the courses who hosted a round of this year’s Match Play Championships, including Stonebridge CC, Beaver Meadow GC, Keene CC, Baker Hill GC and Golf Club of New England.
Women’s Match Play | Bracket
Mid-Amateur Match Play | Bracket
Senior Match Play | Bracket