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State Amateur Presented by Audi Nashua Title Up For Grabs As Tournament Heads to Porstmouth Country Club

July 3rd, 2019

Concord, NH – As the New Hampshire Golf Association (NHGA) prepares for the Granite State’s premier amateur golf tournament, take a look into this year’s field and venue for the 116th New Hampshire Amateur Championship presented by Audi Nashua.  The championship is headed to Portsmouth Country Club July 8-13 to crown the state’s top amateur golfer.
Each year, the competition is strong and that is no different with the 2019 field. A wide open group of 156 players will looks to advance to the final match on Saturday, July 13th.

There are a number of competitors who could take the title this year. More than 25 players competing are past NHGA champions, including seven past New Hampshire Amateur champions. There is plenty of winning experience in this year’s field. 

Among the players to keep an eye on are Brandon Gillis, Eric Evans and Craig Steckowych.  Gillis, who plays out of Souhegan Woods GC, has been a talented golfer for many years, winning the New Hampshire Boys Junior Championship in 2015 and currently plays for the University of Rhode Island men’s golf team.  Last year, Gillis advanced to the Semifinal Round of the New Hampshire Amateur, losing to Pat Pelletier 2 & 1; he looks to make another run at the title this year.

Evans and Steckowych, both Portsmouth Country Club members, have home course advantage on their side.  Evans, a University of Hartford men’s golf team member, already has an NHGA win this season, taking the NHGA Four-Ball title with his partner, Nick Hampoian.  Evans’ golf resume includes a win in the 2018 Seacoast Amateur Golf Championship, which draws the top amateurs from seacoast courses in New Hampshire and Maine.  Steckowych has two State Amateur titles under his belt, winning in 1990 and 1998, and has continued to prove his skill throughout the years among the long hitters he will be up against. 

Along with Steckowych, there are six additional players who have experience winning the 36-hole final match of the New Hampshire Amateur.  Matt Burroughs (2006), Danny Arvanitis (2001), Phil Pleat (1981, 1985, 1997), Jim Cilley (2011), Mike Flynn (1992, 1994), and Jared Lamothe (1999) will all be teeing it up at Portsmouth CC on Monday, July 8. 

Another notable player in the field is Bob Kearney, a player who has seen much success down in Texas, having won the 1998 Texas Mid-Amateur and the 2001 Texas Amateur Championship.  In 2015, Golfweek ranked Kearney as the top senior player in the country.  Kearney brings that drive to New Hampshire as he recently finished as the Low Amateur in the 2019 New Hampshire Open held in June.  At the age of 63, he is one of the older competitors in the field but has shown he can compete among the top golfers in any state.

On the other end of the age gamut, there are numerous younger golfers who have qualified to play at Portsmouth next week.  The youngest is Noah LeClair at 13 years old who earned his spot at the Stonebridge CC qualifier.  15-year old Jack Pepin will continue his impressive golf as he earned medalist honors at the Pease GC qualifier with a five-under par 66.  LeClair and Pepin are two of 18 golfers in the field that are under the age of 18 and looking to make their mark on the New Hampshire Amateur.

Portsmouth Country Club has a long history of hosting the New Hampshire Amateur Championship, dating back to 1905.  As the second course to host this tournament, they have been the host site seven previous times, with 2019 marking the eighth time it will host.  The last time the State Amateur was contested at Portsmouth, Austin Eaton III won and then went on to win the 2004 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. 

At its longest, Portsmouth CC is just over 7,100 yards but the 156 players competing for the 64 match play spots will play it at a little under 7,000 yards.  The Robert Trent Jones designed course is closely bordered by Great Bay, which provides some great views and challenges for the golfers along the way.  With no clear front runner in the field, the 2019 title is up for grabs.

Play will begin with 36 holes of stroke play qualifying on Monday and Tuesday, July 8 and 9, followed by a 64-player match play bracket. The first round of match play will be contested on Wednesday, July 10, and two rounds of matches will be played on both Thursday and Friday, July 11 and 12. The New Hampshire Amateur Champion will be named following a 36-hole final match on Saturday, July 13.

The New Hampshire Golf Association would like to thank Audi Nashua for their continued support of this Championship.

First and Second round pairings and tee times can be found here:  https://nhgaregister.golfgenius.com/pages/1730298