Nashua’s Gillis, Zimmerman prepped for Cities, States

NASHUA – Competitors, rivals and friends … TJ Gillis and Bryce Zimmerman hope to see plenty of each other in the next 10 days.

The top guns from the Nashua South and Nashua North golf teams are each looking to close the 2018 golf season in style, first with this weekend’s Nashua City Championship, Saturday and Sunday at Souhegan Woods GC, and again next Thursday and Saturday in the NHIAA Division I State Championship meet.

Each is prepped, ready and shooting for the top.

“It’s a pretty cool time. With the Cities, we’re going to get me some tournament experience before states, and that can’t hurt,” said Gillis, a senior at South, who will be playing on his home course, Souhegan Woods Golf Club in Amherst when the action kicks off Saturday morning.

“I just want to play well, get my swing feeling good this weekend and then shoot for a top 10 or better at states.”

While it feels like Zimmerman and Gillis have been slugging it out on the golf course forever, they first played together three years ago.

“TJ and I are good friends,” said Zimmerman, who has teed it up three times this fall with Gillis in high school regular-season matches already. “We both played for Team New Hampshire this summer.

“We really got to know each other and learn about each other’s game. “He’s good competition. We both have our good days and bad days. All three matches we played together came down to the final hole.”

Each reached the final eight of the New Hampshire Junior Amateur as a lead-in to the high school season.

“Our scoring average has been pretty much the same,” said Gillis. It’s actually pretty fun. Knowing my competitor outside of school helps. We got to spend some time at the New England Juniors and that’s where we bonded. It’s relaxing knowing who my competitor is. And when we play we’re just friendly rivals.”

And just how much damage can these rivals do?

Zimmerman, just a sophomore, was runner-up to Bedford’s CJ Ladue in the NHIAA states last year. After an 11th place finish as a sophomore, Gillis struggled last year, missing the individuals a year ago.

But that’s next week. This weekend, it’s the Cities, where played solid a year ago.

Zimmerman likes the way his game is shaping up after taking 11th last year.

“There are some of the best players in the state, a lot of good players out there,” said Zimmerman. “A lot of guys could be going under par.

“Souhegan is a pretty tight course. I’ve played the front nine for high school, but I haven’t played the back in years. It’s certainly going to test my game.”

Gillis hopes his course knowledge could be an edge.

“It should help me a lot, knowing where to hit my shots and how to play the holes in general,” said Gillis, whose cousin Brandon has to be considered a favorite coming off a final four finish in the State Amateur this summer. “From what I’ve seen (from the tee assignments), it’s a very talented field.”

The field is 40 players deep with tee times in Round 1 at Souhegan Woods Saturday, starting at 10 a.m.

2018 Nashua City Championships Tee Times

Round 1 Saturday at Souhegan Woods GC

10 a.m. – Brandon Gillis, John Devito, Cameron Lien, Taylor Scott

10:08 – Jody Ruonala, Bryce Zimmerman, Brennen Gillis, Kevin Gaynor

10:16 – Cody Ashline, Rob Zimmerman, Brian Klauber, Kyle McKinley

10:24 – Noah Leclair, Richard Dichard, John Sterling, Bob Mook

10:32 – TJ Gillis, Shawn Lortie, Chris Gagnon, Dylan Lortie

10:40 – Curt Graham, Bill Sheridan, Keith Taylor, Gary Laliberte

10:48 – Mike Cole, Jeremy Sayward, Greg Zerega, Justin Benson

10:56 – Nicholas Jordan, Brian Cannon, Scott Robert, Rock Stackpole

11:04 – Larry Nuttall, Justin Gagne, Tom Gillis, Billy Klinger

11:12 – Aaron Brown, Ben Frazier, Steven Maniglia, Steve Miron