Henley & Cilley Go Low to Grab Lead After Round One of NH Mid-Amateur

Rochester, NH – Blue skies and ideal temperatures allowed for three players to find red numbers in the first round of the New Hampshire Mid-Amateur Championship at Rochester Country Club.  Rob Henley and Jim Cilley both fired three-under par, 69 to find themselves in a tie for the lead with plenty more golf to be played.  The two are trailed by defending New Hampshire Mid-Amateur champion, James Pleat who shot 70 (-2) in his first round at Rochester.  As the summer temperatures roll in for the remainder of the tournament, everyone looks to keep their eyes on the leaders heading into Round 2.
Rob Henley, who already has two runner-up finishes this season, is hoping to break that streak this week and is certainly off to a strong start.  He began his day on the back nine at Rochester Country Club and made his first birdie on the par-5, 11th hole.  Although he followed it up with a bogey, he rolled in another birdie putt on the 14th hole.  Before he could close out his first nine, he made an unfortunate double bogey on the 17th hole and made the turn at one-over par with the easier side of the golf course ahead of him.
“I was hitting the ball pretty well all day and I finally started making a few short putts for birdie on the front side”, stated Henley.  “I birdied four out of five holes.”
He was able to avoid any trouble on Rochester’s front nine and rolled in four birdies accompanied by five pars to finish the day with a 69 (-3).  The difference maker? Henley commented, “I hit it a little closer, so my birdie putts were a lot shorter.”
With his first round now behind him, Henley looks forward to the coming rounds saying, “I just want to keep playing well and hopefully don’t come in second again.  If I keep playing like that and make a few putts I should be alright.”
One other player was able to match Henley’s 69, Jim Cilley.  Cilley has captured numerous NHGA championship titles, including the State Amateur and Stroke Play Championships, but has never won the New Hampshire Mid-Amateur.  He is setting himself up well to make a run at this year’s title.
Cilley also started the day on Rochester’s back nine and had a similar first nine to Henley, starting the day with a birdie on the 11th hole.  From there, Cilley made one more birdie but carded two bogeys to make the turn at a respectable even par.  Heading to the front nine of the course, he had another birdie-bogey pair of holes but rolled in three birdie putts in his last four holes to finish up at three-under par, 69.
“The putter was good and the driver”, stated Cilley.  “The driver has been so good lately.”
With a solid first round under his belt, Cilley will look to keep that momentum going into the next two rounds of the tournament.  He said, “It’s the first round of the tournament, you just try to put yourself in position and not shoot yourself out of it.” 
“I was fortunate to hit a couple good shots coming in and make a couple putts to get myself under par”, continued Cilley.
Now in a tie for the lead, Henley and Cilley will have a target on their backs with some strong competitors following close behind.  One of those players is the defending champion, James Pleat who sits just one shot back of the two.  Pleat was the only player to make the turn at one-under par, successfully navigating Rochester’s back nine.  When it seemed like he was going to have an equally impressive second nine to Henley’s after starting birdie-birdie, he made bogey on the 3rd hole and parred his way in to shoot 70 (-2).
With a lot of golf left to play, Pleat knows what it will take of the next two rounds to keep both Henley and Cilley in his sights.  As a fellow Dartmouth graduate to Henley, Pleat is familiar with his game and his capabilities of shooting low scores for the rest of the tournament.  He is also aware of how Cilley’s knowledge of the golf course could benefit him, especially when it comes to some of the trickier greens at Rochester. 
The field now heads into the second round of the championship with the low 40 golfers plus ties advancing to the final round after 36 holes.
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