Late birdies save Mielcarz at state am

Monitor staff
Published: 7/7/2020 9:47:20 PM

Nine-time champ Bob Mielcarz birdied two of his last four holes on Tuesday to escape stroke play and earn the No. 62 seed in the 64-man match play portion of the New Hampshire Golf Association’s 117th Amateur Championship.

The 70-year-old Mielcarz faced an uphill climb after shooting a 78 in Monday’s first round at the Nashua Country Club. He was still on the outside looking in after playing 14 holes on Tuesday, but he birdied the par-3 sixth hole (he started the day on No. 10) and did it again on the par-3 eighth hole to finish with a 74. He was one of nine golfers to card a two-day total of 152 and round out the field of 64.

Mielcarz first stepped away from the state am after playing it on his home course, Concord Country Club, in 2012. He played again in the 2015 event and decided to give it another go this year at Nashua CC, a shorter course where he won the title in 1979.

Nashua is the home course for James Pleat, who backed up his first-round 65 with a second-round 64 on Tuesday to earn stroke play medalist honors with a 13-under 129. Pleat, a 2013 Dartmouth College graduate, was also the stroke play medalist in 2011, which was the last time the state am was held at Nashua CC, and he reached the semifinals in that event.

“Ultimately, the goal is to win, that’s always the goal. I was stroke play medalist last time it was here, so I had that in the back of my mind,” Pleat told the NHGA. “For this tournament especially, you like to have those stroke play rounds under your belt but it all resets for match play. I’m just trying to make a deep run and see what happens the rest of the week.”

Pleat finished five stroked ahead of 18-year-old William Huang, who earned the No. 2 seed with a after shooting a 66 on Monday and a 68 on Tuesday for a 134. Dustin Moreault from Derryfield Country Club is the No. 3 seed after shooting a 67 on Tuesday for a two-day total of 137, and he will face Mielcarz in the first round, tee time scheduled for 11:30 a.m.

Kearsarge High graduate Bobby Williams carded a 69 on Tuesday to wind up with a 142 total and tied for 11th with two other golfers, including 2008 champ Mark Stevens who is now playing out of Beaver Meadow Golf Course. Stevens shot 71 on both days of stroke play.

Williams birdied three of his first seven holes on Tuesday and needed just 32 strokes to get through his first nine holes, which were 10-18. He also birdied the second hole of his back nine before finishing his round with two bogeys and five pars in the final seven holes for his 69.

Concord High grad Kurt Eddins, who plays out of Cocheco Country Club, wound up tied for 14th after shooting a 73 on Tuesday for a 143. One of the golfers he tied with was Bishop Brady grad Fletcher Sokul (Abenaqui Country Club), who shot a 70 on Tuesday.

Belmont’s Jim Cilley, the 2011 state am champ who is also playing out of Beaver Meadow this year, carded a 71 on Tuesday to finish with a 145 and the No. 26 seed. Bow’s Doug Champagne, who plays out of Concord CC, was one stroke behind with a 146 after shooting 72 on Tuesday. Champagne is the No. 29 seed and will face two-time champion Craig Steckowych in the first round of match play.

The other local golfers who made the cut are Jake Nutter (Concord CC, tied-44, 150), Scott Underhill (Canterbury Woods Country Club, t-56, 152) and Will McLaughlin (Concord CC, t-56, 152).

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