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Gillis Goes the Distance in His Second State Amateur Final Appearance, Take Home NH Amateur Title

July 16th, 2022

Rye Beach, NH – 35 holes were played in the final match of the 119th New Hampshire Amateur Championship presented by Smuttynose Brewing Company as Brandon Gillis (Sky Meadow CC) defeated Jim Cilley (Laconia CC) 3&1 to take home his first State Amateur title.  This is the second-straight year that Gillis has worked his way to the final match, this year he was able to go the distance to take home the title.
Going into the match, there are always nerves stepping up to the first tee.  For Gillis, there was some added pressure as he knew he had been in this position just one year prior but fell short to James Pleat in the final match.  This year, however, Gillis had a different feeling.
“When I first stepped on property here, I had a feeling about this week”, stated Gillis.  “I have been playing really well and it’s crazy to say that because there are so many good players in this field, and you have to take down so many good players.”
Among the players Gillis had to defeat on his way to the finals was two-time defending champion, James Pleat.  The two met in the Round of 16 and everyone knew it was going to be a great rematch battle.  Gillis closed it out on the 16th hole at Abenaqui Country Club to face Mat Gover in the Quarterfinal round.  Gover also has some history advancing far into the championship, having made it all the way the Semifinals in 2019 at Portsmouth Country Club.  Finally, Gillis faced Ryan Kohler, a strong competitor who has had a great track record of golf recently.  Regardless of who he faced, it was clear that Gillis was not to be beat this week.
“I started pretty well, how I have been starting the rest of my matches”, commented Gillis.  He got to 2up in the first two holes of the match, but Cilley worked his way back.  Gillis won a few more holes to make the turn in the morning at 3up and never let go of the lead.  At one point, he earned his way to 4up, but let Cilley back in a little.  After the morning 18 holes, Gillis was 2up on Cilley.
Cilley continued to put the pressure on to keep it as a close match, but Gillis responded every time.  He chipped in twice in three holes to continue to add pressure to Cilley’s game.  Gillis said, “He put a lot of pressure on me, he played some really good golf and did not make it easy on me.”
Clinging to the 2up lead he had, the two played down the 15th and 16th holes at Abenaqui, knowing that at any point someone could make a long putt or stick it close for a birdie.  Finally, the match came to the 17th hole where Cilley needed to win the hole to keep the match going.  Unfortunately for Cilley, his layup shot put him behind a tree where he needed to punch out, hitting his fourth shot into the green.
Gillis hit his third shot just over the back side of the 17th green and chipped it close.  Cilley needed to make his putt for par and force Gillis to make his putt, but just missing it, Gillis took the win 3&1.
While Gillis has experience winning in New Hampshire golf events, including the New Hampshire Boys Junior Championship and the New Hampshire Four Ball Championship, but the New Hampshire Amateur has been one where he came close, but fell short of the win.  This year, he was able to accomplish his goal of winning the tournament.
“It means so much”, stated Gillis.  “This tournament has meant the world to me the last five or six years that I’ve played in it.  I have come close a couple times, but I never really got over the hump, so this means the world to me.”
Gillis now goes down in history alongside Jim Cilley and numerous other competitors as a New Hampshire Amateur champion.  As a member of the University of Rhode Island (URI) Golf Team, Gillis is now the third player from the school to win the New Hampshire Amateur since 2008, joining Mark Stevens (2008) and Joe Leavitt (2012 and 2014).  With this win under his belt, Gillis will return for one last year at URI.
The New Hampshire Golf Association would like to thank the staff and members of Abenaqui Country Club for giving up time on their golf course for the state’s premier amateur golf championship.  The course was impeccable the entire week.
NH Amateur | Match Play Bracket