Locals move on at State Am tourney

>Amherst CC’s Nowak reaches match play

LACONIA – On a day when there was barely any hint of a breeze at La­conia Country Club, Ryan Tombs blew away the field during the second day of stroke play qualifying in the 113th State Amateur Championship.

The Bedford resident and Manchester Country Club member shot a 7-un­der par 65 on Tuesday to grab the top seed heading into Wednesday’s Round of 64. His two-day total of 9-under 135 was six strokes better than Jim Cilley (70-71-141, 3-under), of Tilton and Ridgewood Country Club.

Amherst Country Club’s Brian Nowak was tied for 13th in qualifying with two-day total of 3-over af­ter carding an even-par round on the first day. He played Troy Demers, of Pembroke Pines Country Club, in the first round of match play on Wednesday, but results were not avail­able by Cabinet press time.

Day 1 leader Austin Fox, of Hooksett and Leg­ends Golf NH, fell into a three-way tie for fourth at 1-under 143 along with host-club favorite Chris Houston, of Gilford, and Concord Country Club’s Matt Paradis, of Hooksett. Junior cham­pion James McKee, of Windham and Windham Country Club, quali­fied for the third seed with a 2-un­der 142.

The top qualifier from Greater Nashua was Josh Kibbe. The Nash­ua resident and Green Meadow Golf Club member, who opened with a 1-over par 75 on Tuesday, shot a 3-under 69 on Wednesday to finish in a three-way tie for seventh with an even-par 144. His two-day total equaled that of defending champi­on Connor Greenleaf, of Windham and Windham Country Club, and Damon Salo, of New Ipswich and Bretwood Golf Club.

"Both days were a little scrappy for me," Kibbe said. "I got lucky on Day 1, after double bogeying the ninth hole, I was able to close out with two of my three birdies and save the round."

Tuesday, Kibbe had three more birdies and no bogeys to earn him­self one of the top seeds heading into match play.

"I tend to be fairly erratic," Kibbe said of his play on the links. "I can be way off on a hole, and then follow it up with a few straight birdies. So the­oretically, match play works well for me since it’s hole-to-hole scoring."

Other locals in the top 25 were Nashua’s Phil Pleat, who tied for 17th at 5-over 149 (74-75); Nashua Country Club member Michael Martel, of New Ipswich, who tied for 19th at 6-over 150 (75-75); and Nashua’s John DeVito, a member of Litchfield’s Passaconaway Coun­try Club, who tied for 22nd at 7-over 151 (70-81).

"Obviously I didn’t play too good today," DeVito said after Wednes­day’s second round of qualifying. "I had a bad front nine, but got it together on the back nine. As long as I’m in match play, anything can happen."

That’s the mentality of all 64 qualifiers heading into Wednesday, which included a few more locals.

Joining Kibbe, Pleat, Martel and DeVito in the field of 64 are Green Meadow member Jeff Monahan (8- over 152, tied for 30th), The Over­look Golf Club’s Ryan Friel (11-over 155, tied for 50th) and Merrimack native Josh Chamberlain (13-over 157, 64th), a member at Goffstown’s Stonebridge Country Club, who marched his way into match play after eight playoff holes.

After six playoff holes the four-way field was cut to two, leaving Chamberlain against Keene’s Mike Blair, who missed his 5-foot putt for par on the 18th green (eighth play­off hole) setting up Chamberlain for the win from 3 feet away. He sank his putt to set up a 7 a.m. Wednes­day tee time with Tombs.

"I hit the ball better in this play­off than I had all week," Chamber­lain said. "I wanted to keep going. I didn’t want to stop because I was hitting so well."

Pairings, results and tee times can be found at nhgolfassociation. org.