Pepin's Performance Awe-Inspiring: Newly Crowned State Amateur Championship
Bedford, NH – In one of the most exciting final match performances from both competitors, Jack Pepin captures his first New Hampshire Amateur title in 37 holes over Rob Henley. At various times throughout the 37-hole final of the 120th New Hampshire Amateur Championship presented by Wedü with support from Irving Oil, both golfers claimed the lead, but Pepin stood over putts with nerves of steel and drained the necessary ones to force extra holes to claim the title. Henley’s performance is not to be overlooked, with eight birdies throughout the day he held on when Pepin was playing some of his best golf.
Pepin got off to an excellent start, winning three of the first four holes. He said, “Off the start I was making a few good putts and hitting some good shots.”
One of the more awe-inspiring shots and putts came early on the par-3, 3rd hole in the first lap around Manchester Country Club. The hole, playing 255 yards, seemed to be no match for Pepin, making birdie each time. He said, “It was setup nice for me today. The driving iron I have goes pretty much goes that exact distance. I was lucky enough to hit two good shots into there today.”
Not only did he hit two great shots, he rolled in a 40-foot putt in the first round to get to 2up after three holes. He went on to win the 4th hole to get himself to 3up, making a statement. The 4th hole would end up being his last winning hole for the next nine holes, with Henley claiming seven of those nine to get himself back in it and 4up after 13 holes played. While they exchanged a few more holes before finishing up their first round, it seemed that Henley was going to run away with it as Pepin’s driver was not working for him.
“I don’t think I hit a fairway in regulation on that entire first round”, commented Pepin. “I was 45 to 50 yards of the fairway every time with the driver.”
After the first 18 holes, the two took a 15-minute break and Pepin headed straight to the driving range to try to work things out. He said, “I went to hit 5 or 6 balls to figure it out. I kind of got a good feel for it and it worked out well for me.”
Pepin stepped up to the first tee for their second lap around and hit a perfect drive down the middle of the fairway, proving he was able to figure it out. He said, “I started hitting the ball better, especially the driver. It just gave me a little bit more confidence and put me in better positions.”
Henley did not win a hole on the front nine the second time around and Pepin slowly chipped away at Henley’s lead. By the 7th hole, the match’s 25th hole, the match was back to being tied. Pepin got himself to 1up as they headed to the back nine for the second time.
“As more people showed up, that when I got little more nervous”, commented Pepin. “I struggled a little bit at the end there and Rob got a few back.”
Henley put up a fight, the two exchanged holes on the back nine with birdies and pars, but it wasn’t until the 15th hole when Henley went on a streak of winning three-straight holes to reclaim the lead. Coming down the 18th hole, Pepin needed to win the hole to extend the match into extra holes. With Henley in with a two-putt par, Pepin stood over his birdie putt with a full crowd of people on the edge of their seats. He drained the putt and the crowd went wild, excited that the match was headed to extra holes.
“I think the pressure of the moment just brought out the putt in me”, stated Pepin.
Heading down 10 for the 37th hole of the match, Henley’s tee shot went right into the rough, while Pepin perfectly placed his in the middle of the fairway. Unfortunately for Henley, his second shot landed in the bunker and he was not able to get up and down for par. Pepin’s second shot hit the green and he two-putted his way to a victory.
“I’m definitely exhausted, it was a long week”, commented Pepin. “I haven’t played six days in a row at the same tournament. It feels good, I’m speechless.”
As the emotions washed over Pepin next to the 10th green, it obvious to the crowd following, that this win means a lot to him. Pepin is the 10th golfer in New Hampshire golf history to win the New Hampshire Junior and New Hampshire Amateur Championship.
Manchester Country Club was in incredible shape all week long and was truly a test of golf for all competitors who stepped up to the tee.
NH Amateur | Match Play Bracket