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NH State Am Day 4: Concord CC’s Paradis and Sokul advance to quarterfinal match; Cilley’s run ends in playoff

  • Fletcher Sokul, who plays out of Concord Country club, watches his pitch from the fairway head towards the green during his Round of 16 match on Wednesday at the state am against Breakfast Hill Golf Club member Ryan Quinn at Hanover Country Club. Sokul won, 4-and-2. RICH MIYARA / NHSportsPhotography.com

  • Fletcher Sokul walks off the 16th green after defeating his opponent while his caddie, Jake Meilcarz, follows Wednesday at the New Hampshire Amateur Championship. RICH MIYARA / NHSportsPhotography.com

  • Belmont’s Jim Cilley blasts out of the bunker on No. 18 on his way to winning his Round of 32 match on Wednesday at the state am. RICH MIYARA / NHSportsPhotography.com

  • Matt Paradis, who plays out of Concord Country Club, hits out of the bunker on No. 18 on the way to a birdie to win his match against David Larrivee Wednesday at the state am. RICH MIYARA / NHSportsPhotography.com

  • Fletcher Sokul, who plays out of Concord Country club, watches his pitch from the fairway head towards the green during his Round of 16 match on Wednesday at the state am against Breakfast Hill Golf Club member Ryan Quinn at Hanover Country Club. Sokul won, 4-and-2. RICH MIYARA / NHSportsPhotography.com

  • Matt Paradis, who plays out of Concord Country Club, hits out of the bunker on No. 18 on the way to a birdie to win his match against David Larrivee Wednesday at the state am. RICH MIYARA / NHSportsPhotography.com



Monitor staff
Wednesday, July 11, 2018

HANOVER – One of the quarterfinal matches scheduled for Thursday morning at the New Hampshire Amateur Championship will cause some chatter in the clubhouse at Concord Country Club.

Two Concord CC members, Fletcher Sokul and Matthew Paradis, will square off for 18 holes beginning at 8:20 a.m., with the winner advancing to a 12:15 p.m. semifinal match. 

Both won morning and afternoon matches on Wednesday as the field was cut from 32 players to 16 to eight at the 115th edition of the tournament, held this year at Hanover Country Club. 

Sokul advanced to the Round of 16 by way of a 2-and-1 win over Brennan Hughes (Stonebridge Country Club). The 25-year-old Concord native and Bishop Brady graduate went on to dispatch Breakfast Hill Golf Club member Ryan Quinn, 4-and-2.

Paradis, meanwhile, earned a 5-and-3 win over Garret Olivar of Canterbury Woods Country Club. He then survived a late push by David Larrivee (Manchester CC) in the Round of 16, holding on for the win at 1-up. 

Shortly after walking off the 18th green as the day wound down, Paradis saw Sokul and gave him a playful slap on the back. 

It turns out Sokul saw this day coming. 

“Ever since he committed to playing a bunch of amateur tournaments this year, he’s said he’s coming for me in the am,” said Paradis, the tournament’s runner-up in 2016 and 2017. “I give it to him, I dish it right back, so we’ve got a little rivalry battle going. It will be fun to see who gets it.”

Sokul grew up across the street from Concord CC while Paradis joined the club just a few years ago. The two have played several matches against one another, but none have carried the weight of Thursday’s duel on the hilly and challenging course in Hanover.

“Matty is a great kid, and I was really looking forward to getting him in this event,” Sokul said. “He’s obviously one of the favorites in this. He made it to the finals the last two years and hasn’t been able to get the job done, but he’s a hell of a player and this is what you dream of and work toward, so I’m excited to see what happens.”

Paradis was 1-up over Larrivee in the Round of 16 as they teed off on the par-5 17th, but Larrivee evened the score with his birdie putt after choosing to lay up on his second shot. 

Paradis, comfortable with his lead, went for it on his second strike. His ball narrowly missed a bunker on the left and it landed in a dip in the rough before the green, about 50 yards ahead of Larrivee. But Larrivee’s wedge from the fairway landed closer to the pin than Paradis’s chip from the rough, leading to his birdie that put them square going to 18.

“I just went for it and tried to make sure to keep it out to the right, and I actually pulled it 15 or 20 yards and just got lucky,” Paradis said. “Didn’t get up and down, didn’t make the best chip. He made a good birdie there.”

Paradis got it back on the par-5 18th. Although his approach hit a bunker to the left and under the green, he made a nice escape that placed the ball about five feet from the cup for birdie.

Larrivee’s approach didn’t go as well. His shot from the fairway sailed over the green and out of bounds, leading to a bogey and the end of his run. 

Larrivee finished the round with at 71 for par, while Paradis carded a 2-under-par 69.

“He made that nice birdie, so coming all square into 18 was a little nerve-wracking,” Paradis said. “He got a little unlucky there, caught a fly or lie down wind and it flew the green.”

Sokul carded three birdies on his way to edging Quinn in 16 holes. Quinn, who recently wrapped his freshman season with the RPI golf team, bogeyed the 16th hole while Sokul made par to end the match.

After back-to-back bogeys on 12 and 13, Sokul birdied 14 and 15 to stay in front.

“That’s a good feeling to win holes with birdies here because the greens are relatively small and hitting the green – if you put it on the green you’re going to have a good look,” said Sokul, who has advanced past the Round of 32 for the first time. “Ryan was a great player. We really put pressure on each other. Not many holes were won with pars.”

Cilley bows out

Tilton resident and Belmont basketball coach Jim Cilley advanced to the Round of 16 by winning a one-hole playoff against Richard Moreau (Sky Meadow) in the morning, but his day ended with a loss to Ryan Tombs (Manchester CC) in a two-hole playoff in the afternoon.

Cilley was 4-up after five holes, but Tombs – who tied Paradis for second in stroke play earlier in the week – came back with four birdies on the back nine. 

Cilley said his best shot of the tournament came off the 18th tee, but his approach clipped the edge of the bunker and rolled in. Tombs, meanwhile, hit a nice approach to make the green in two and putted for birdie, forcing extra holes.

“That’s the hole that’s going to bug me because I thought I hit the perfect second shot in there,” he said.

Both parred the first playoff hole and Tombs birdied the second hole to win. Cilley missed his birdie putt on the second hole as the ball rolled through the downhill break and missed the cup’s right edge.

“I had it just outside the hole on the right,” Cilley said. “He made his so I had to be aggressive and I didn’t adjust the line on it.”

Cilley, the 2011 champion, was disappointed to see his run in the tournament end despite shooting 2-under-par 69 through 18 holes before the playoff. He birdied five holes Wednesday afternoon, including three straight to open the round.

“It’s disappointing to lose because I played my best golf today, but he had to play his best golf to beat me,” he said. “I guess you can take that out of it. I didn’t lose the match as much as he won it.”

(Nick Stoico can be reached at nstoico@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @NickStoico.)