Through Whipping Winds, Bowker Maintains a Hold of Stroke Play Lead with 18 Holes Left to Play
Moultonborough, NH – The weather completely shifted for the second round of the NH Stroke Play Championship at Ridgewood Country Club. While the rain went away, the winds certainly picked up, making golf arguably more difficult as the field was fighting to make the cut to the final round being played at Atkinson Resort & Country Club. Despite the challenges with the weather, Joe Bowker heads to the final 18 holes with a one-shot lead after carding a one-over par 73 in his second round. He has Rob Henley trailing by one stroke after Henley shot even-par, 72. 41 golfers at +18 or better are moving forward in the championship.
Starting out the day going bogey-bogey on Ridgewood’s 10th and 11th holes, Bowker seemed to be on a path to a higher number, but he quickly turned it around with back-to-back birdies on the next two holes. He only carded one more bogey on his first nine of the day to make the turn at one-over par.
Heading to the front nine at Ridgewood, Bowker made two more bogeys without another birdie on his card and was sitting at three-over par on the day after playing 14 holes. While it looked like he might not have a hold of the lead after the round, he went on to birdie his last two holes to get back to one-over par on the day and four-under par for the tournament.
Henley was able to get one stroke closer to Bowker on the leaderboard with an even-par round of 72 in the second round. He bogeyed the short, par-4 1st hole at Ridgewood, made seven consecutive pars and bogeyed the 9th hole to make the turn at two-over par. Similar to his final match of the New Hampshire Amateur, he grabbed a hot dog at the turn and started to play better.
Making birdies on the 12th and 15th holes, he got himself back to even-par on the day with three holes left, not realizing that Bowker was having just as difficult of a time. Henley went bogey-birdie on his final two holes of the round, finishing at three-under par across the 36 holes played and just one shot back of Bowker at the end of the day.
Sitting in third place with the lowest round of the day is Eric Emeneau who fired a one-under par 71 and sits at one-under par for the tournament after an even-par first round. Emeneau carded an impressive four birdies and just three bogeys throughout the second round and finds himself in third place as everyone heads to the final round.
“I drove the ball well, my irons were okay, and I putted really well on the greens”, stated Emeneau. “I didn’t get into too much trouble so there’s nothing real remarkable.”
While he claims there wasn’t anything truly remarkable about his round, he managed the challenging, gusty winds throughout the round better than anyone else. He said, “The course allows you to play away from the trouble, so it made it a little easier off the tee.”
Emeneau managed the winds and the golf course well to sit three shots back of Bowker with the final round at Atkinson ahead of them. This is the first time Emeneau finds himself in the final pairings for an NHGA championship. With his goal of earning an exemption into next year’s State Amateur with a top 15 finish, he sits comfortably within that position and plans to play a similar game plan at Atkinson to maintain his leaderboard position.
The second-round winds caused struggles for everyone out there in the Stroke Play Championship but those managing 162 (+18) or better are moving on to Atkinson Resort & CC for the final round of the championship. Bowker continues to have a target on his back and has just a one-shot lead for the final 18 holes.
NH Stroke Play | Leaderboard