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Cilley Captures His First NHGA Title in 10 Years with Stroke Play Win

August 12th, 2021

Keene, NH – It has been a long time coming for Jim Cilley, but he has finally sealed the deal to capture his fourth NHGA championship title and first win in the Stroke Play Championship.  Cilley was the only player to come in with an under-par score in the final at Keene Country Club, which helped him jump into the lead and take home this year’s trophy.  He finished the 54-hole tournament at one-over par, 217, and leaves Keene feeling proud of his accomplishment as this has been a goal of his for a long time.
 
To begin the final round, Cilley was two shots back of the leader, Cam Sheedy, but in contention among a number of other strong competitors.  He knew it would take a low round to be able to capture the title.  He did not start the day the way he had hoped, he made bogey on the opening hole at Keene Country Club, but luckily for him, he gained a shot on Sheedy as Sheedy made double bogey to start the round.
 
“Cam [Sheedy] made a couple mistakes early in the round and kind of allowed me to get into the lead”, commented Cilley after his win.  “I looked at the scoreboard that was going around and it didn’t look like anyone else was doing too much, so I just kept trying to make pars and grind it out and play.”
 
Cilley did not have anymore blemishes on his card on the front, in fact, he made birdie on the 5th, 8th and 9th holes at Keene to make the turn at two-under par.  While he was doing that, he noticed Sheedy slipping down the leaderboard as Sheedy added some big numbers to his card that kept him away from the top.
 
On the back nine, Cilley added one additional birdie to his round on the par-3, 10th hole and went on to play steady, consistent golf.  He did make two bogeys on the back nine, but at that point, it was not anything that was going to keep him away from walking away with the trophy.  He finished off his round at one-under par, which was good enough to win the tournament by three strokes.
 
Reflecting back on the final round, Cilley said, “I had a nice stretch around the middle part of the round and when I was doing that it looked like a couple bogeys were being made by the guys that were chasing me, so I felt like I had a pretty reasonable lead.  And I just kept hitting solid golf shots after that.”
 
Among the players chasing down Cilley in the final round was Craig Steckowych, who had an up and down final round finishing the day at two-over par, 74 and the tournament at four-over par for a second-place finish.  Austin Fox was also in the mix in the final round and looked to have a great round going as he made the turn at one-under par.  But he did not card any birdies on the back nine and closed out the day with a double bogey to finish in third place overall.
 
When Cilley saw that he had a multiple stroke lead, especially on the back nine, he managed to change his mindset and game plan.  He said, “I was pretty proud of myself because I managed to change my game plan, play conservatively so I wasn’t bringing a big number into play, and I executed the shots that I had to execute.”
 
He was never in danger of losing two shots, even with a couple three-putts out there.  Cilley managed to keep his composure on the course and adapt to the situations that came up.
 
Now Cilley adds this victory to his three other New Hampshire Golf Association championship titles he has claimed, including the 2011 New Hampshire Amateur title, which is the last time he was in the first-place position for a tournament.
 
With tear-filled eyes, Cilley stated, “It feels really good.  I’ve been talking about this with my family and I how I wanted to win one for them.  This feels really good to be able to do this.”
 
The New Hampshire Golf Association would like to thank Keene Country Club for the hospitality this week and for the hard work they put in to get the course ready for this championship.
 
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