Merrimack’s Paulson turns in solid season at Johnson & Wales

Pat Paulson spent his summer prepping for his junior year of college with a little help from the New Hampshire Golf Association.

The Merrimack native played multiple NHGA events this year as the fall season at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., approached.

It was one July event that really tested him to the point he knew this fall would be a good one.

“The State Am was a real test,” said Paulson, who finished 55th in stroke play and fell 4 and 3 in the Round of 64 at the Golf Club of New England in Stratham. “That course is crazy. Playing the rough there was intense. It made me focus on staying in the fairways and on the greens. I had to learn to manage my game correctly.

“That tournament, that course, definitely helped my game a lot.”

Johnson & Wales wrapped up its fall season tied for 18th at the 79th annual NEIGA Championship the weekend of Oct. 27, and Paulson was leading the way. He paced the team with a tie for 40th place in a field of more than 200 golfers, shooting a 157 (74-83).

The tournament featured 38 NCAA Division I, II and III institutions and is the oldest collegiate golf tournament in the country. The Wildcats shot a 644 (318-326) while Central Connecticut had a 597 (288-309) to win the 36 hole event.

“I played alright this season,” the business management major said. “As a team we were getting better as the season went on. I think we all could have done better, but I believe it’s set us up for a really good run next season.”

This season was a solid one for Paulson.

At the 2013 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship over the weekend of Oct. 20, Paulson placed 18th with a 160 (79-81) to help Johnson & Wales to fourth place overall.

The Wildcats carded a 625 (306-319) over the 36 hole tournament. Intra-state rival Rhode Island College took home the team title with a score of 609 (305-304).

At the ECAC Division III New England Championship the weekend of Oct. 13, Paulson carded a 166 (83-83) for 27th place individually, as the Wildcats finished seventh as a team. The Wildcats shot a 657 (330-327) while Middlebury took home the team championship with a 635 (318-317).

Paulson earned Great Northeast Athletic Conference Player of the Week honors Oct. 7 after carding an even par 71 at the RIC Invitational on Oct. 4, tying him for first place. He then lost on the first playoff hole to notch a second place finish at the event. His performance helped the Wildcats shoot a team score of 301 and take home first place at the eight-team event.

“I had some good rounds,” said Paulson, who hopes to eventually use his degree for a job in the golf industry. “I’m just looking forward to the spring.”