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Past Champions Stevens and Hunnewell Lead Respective Divisions of Players Invitational

June 5th, 2021

Newbury, NH – Past champions, Mark Stevens (Beaver Meadow GC) and Andy Hunnewell (Carter CC), lead the way after the first round of the Players Invitational being held at Baker Hill Golf Club.  Stevens, who last played the course when he won the Players Invitational in 2009, fired an even par, 72, while Hunnewell held off the Senior Division with a 76 (+4).  Both divisions are close as both players have their lead by just one stroke.
Stevens got himself off to a strong start making birdie on the opening hole after a great tee shot and putting his second shot to within three or four feet of the hole.  From there, Stevens describes it as challenging.
“I kind of struggled the rest of the day,” commented Stevens.  “Baker Hill is a challenging course if you’re not controlling your golf ball and it was that way for me today.”
Though he may have struggled a little, he did make the turn at even-par, after making two bogeys and adding another birdie to his card on the front nine.  His back nine was a similar story with two birdies and bogeys on the card, finishing the day at even-par.
He has winning experience at Baker Hill, having won the Players Invitational back in 2009.  Stevens stated, “It’s been 12 years and I haven’t played the golf course since then.  It does look very familiar; I feel like its playing pretty similarly.  It was a little breezy back then as it was today from what I remember.”
Looking to draw on his experience in 2009 and experiences in recent tournaments, Stevens heads to the final round looking to play a solid, consistent round and not get too far out of his comfort zone.  Last year, he worked his way to a five-shot lead heading into the final round of the New Hampshire Stroke Play Championship, but unfortunately did not play his best golf in the final round and gave up that lead. 
Stevens reflected back on the Stroke Play saying, “Last year was a great learning experience for me going in and having the lead.  Whether it’s one shot, five shots or ten shots, it’s never easy sleeping on a lead.”
He will look to change the outcome this year and take home another win at Baker Hill, but he will need to hold off strong competitors like Josh Farmer (Stonebridge CC Online) and Stephen Goodridge (Eastman GL) who sit one and two shots back, respectively.  Farmer started off his round with two bogeys in three holes, but poured in a birdie on the 6th hole to make the turn at just one-over par.  On the back side, he made two bogeys but followed those up with two birdies to finish his day at one-over and one shot back of Stevens.
Goodridge did much of the same that Stevens and Farmer did with a few bogeys and some birdies on the card.  For Goodridge, he kept it to one over par on each nine to finish at just two-over par, 74, on a breezy day at the course.  Farmer and Goodridge will look to keep Stevens in their sight in the final round of the tournament.
In the Senior Division of the tournament, the leaderboard is crowded as six players are within two shots of leader, Andy Hunnewell.  Hunnewell, who has won the Senior Division of the Players Invitational the last two years, knows what he has to do to come out with a win. 
Hunnewell’s front nine was not as strong as he would have liked it to be as he added two bogeys and one double bogey to the card to make the turn at four-over par.  At the turn, Tony Fournier (Portsmouth CC) had the lead at two-over par, but finished his day at six-over par.  Hunnewell headed to the back nine looking to improve and he did just that.  He made two birdies and despite the double bogey on the 14th hole, he kept his total score to 76 (+4) which ended up being good enough for the lead.
Hunnewell is trailed closely by many talented competitors including Bob Landy (Loudon CC) who sits one shot back after a 77 (+5) in his first round.  Baker Hill GC members John Gilbert and Jim Jankowski are among the golfers who sit two shots back of Hunnewell and will look to use local knowledge to gain on him in the final round.  Bill Everett (Laconia CC) won the Senior Division in 2018 and also sits two shots back with Fournier and Danny Arvanitis (Derryfield CC). 

It is a strong field in each division that will look to chase down the leaders in the final round of the Players Invitational.
Round 1 Results: CLICK HERE
Round 2 Starting Time:  CLICK HERE