Field Whittled Down to Eight; Top Seeds Remain at New Hampshire Amateur

Bedford, NH – Thursday of the New Hampshire Amateur can be one of the longest days of golf, add the summer heat on top of it and winning matches becomes a true challenge.  The Round of 32 and Round of 16 are now complete at the 120th New Hampshire Amateur Championship presented by Wedü with support from Irving Oil.  The top two seeds, Mat Gover and Ryan Brown, remain but it does not get easier from here on out.  With the Quarterfinal matches on deck for the morning, the golf is sure to heat up with the weather.
Mat Gover, the #1 seed in match play, went up against a tough competitor in the Round of 64 who brought him all the way to the 18th hole.  Today, however, was a completely different story as he didn’t play past the 14th hole at Manchester Country Club, closing his matches out early. 
Gover started out his day by going 1 down to David Sherborne after the first hole in his Round of 32 match.  While the bogey he made to lose the first hole was disappointing, he went on to win six consecutive holes to get himself to 5up over Sherborne before making the turn.  Sherborne needed to start winning holes to extend the match further into the course, but instead halved the remaining holes of the match for Gover to win 5&4 for a spot into the Round of 16.
Moving on, Gover faced Stephen Goodridge who defeated Jake Nutter in 19 holes in the Round of 32.  Gover talked about his thoughts on his opponent after the match saying, “I’ve played with him before, he’s a really good putter so I knew this match would be tough.”
In a match that he thought would be challenging, he did not allow Goodridge to win any of the holes on the front nine.  Gover won six of the holes to get to 6up after 9 holes and never looked back.  While Goodridge did claim two of the holes on the back nine, Gover closed out the match on the par-3, 13th hole with a birdie to win 6&5.
“In all honesty, on the front nine I started to hit some shots really close and make some putts finally”, commented Gover.  “His putter went cold, and my putter got hot, so that was the difference.”
With the top seed still in the championship, any golfer going up against him will need to prepare for a challenging match.  The next player to face Gover will be Evan Rollins who confidently defeated defending champion, Brandon Gillis, in 19 holes to advance to the Quarterfinal round.
Rollins’ Round of 32 match against Ryan Blossom was back and forth for much of the match.  Rollins was able to work his way up in the match slow and steady, closing out Blossom 3&2 to advance and face Brandon Gillis, a competitor who has been in the final match the previous two years and who won the New Hampshire Amateur last year.
“He’s a tough opponent, I played with him in the Stroke Play portion of this, so I was familiar with him”, stated Rollins.  “He won last year and he’s a super good player so I knew it would be a hard match up.”
Having played great golf all week, Rollins had momentum on his side and with his father, Todd, on the bag for him throughout the week, he had a sense of comfort regardless of who he would face.  Out of the 18 holes played, Rollins and Gillis halved 12 of them, but Rollins made a statement to Gillis by getting to 2up after 5 holes.  Gillis didn’t let that phase him though, he won the next holes to get back to tied in the match.
Halving the next six holes, Gillis was able to win the 14th hole to pull ahead in the match for the first time.  Rollins did not back down, he won the 17th hole and the two tied the 18th hole to need extra holes to decide who would advance.  Heading down Manchester’s first hole, Rollins and Gillis put their tee shots perfectly in the fairway and landed in similar spots on the green.  With Rollins away, he putted first and confidently rolled in his birdie putt, forcing Gillis to make his putt to advance.  Unfortunately for Gillis, he just missed, giving Rollins the win and spot in the Quarterfinals.
“The nerves weren’t too bad really, I thought they would be worse but stepping up, it actually wasn’t too bad”, commented Rollins after his afternoon win.
Rollins now moves on to face Mat Gover, who seems to be settling into Manchester Country Club very well.
With the field now narrowed to eight golfers, just one past champion remains.  James Pleat survived both of his matches to earn a spot into the Quarterfinals.  Pleat had a tough match up in the Round of 32, facing fellow New Hampshire Amateur past champion, Mark Stevens.  The two battled it out across all 18 holes at Manchester, with Pleat gaining the edge on the 17th hole by draining his birdie putt to go 1up.  He moved on to face Jack Kelley in the afternoon.
For Kelley, he was thrilled to advance to the Round of 16, but it seemed the heat and amount of golf weighed heavy on him as he struggled against Pleat in the afternoon.  Pleat was able to close out that match, 5&4 for his spot into the Quarterfinals.
Ryan Brown, the #2 seed and only golfer remaining with an extensive amount of course knowledge, will also be teeing it up in the Quarterfinals.  He defeated Thomas Hickey and Evan Desjardins on his road in the Round of 32 and Round of 16.  Hickey put up a strong fight, but Brown’s knowledge of the course and overall strong play was too much for him, he won 3&1.  Brown’s afternoon match against Desjardins ended early, Brown defeating him 7&6.
The Quarterfinal round is set to begin at 7am on Friday, July 14th.  Those winning in the morning, will play their Semifinal match in the afternoon.
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