Kohler conquers Green Meadow in Stroke Play tourney

HUDSON – The Ryan Kohler legend continues to grow.

The 28-year-old Spofford golfer, who didn’t take up the sport until four years ago and has never had a lesson, gave one Wednesday, shooting a 6-under 66 in the second round of the Stroke Play Championship at Green Meadow Golf Club.

Coupled with his opening round 69 on Monday, Kohler is 9-under going into Thursday’s 36-hole final.

Nobody knows how well Kohler is playing this week better than Nashua’s James Pleat, who was in the same threesome as Kohler in both rounds and played nearly as well.

On Wednesday he watched Kohler make eight birdies, including a stretch of five birdies in six holes.

“I think he had three or four tap in birdies today,’’ said Pleat, whose rounds of 71 and 69 have him in second place. “It was fun to watch.

“He doesn’t make mistakes. He hit great drives all day. And he putted great. He said he wasn’t much of a putter, but you could have fooled me.’’

It became a mutual admiration between two golfers who reached the semifinals of the 2011 State Am, but have never played together before.

“I think playing with him makes me play better,’’ Kohler said of Pleat. “He has a gorgeous golf swing. I would love it if I could play with him all the time.’’

Kohler, who is playing as well as he ever has, wasn’t on top of his game coming into the tournament.

“I’ve been playing pretty bad for the last month,’’ Kohler said. “Ever since I went out to Utah for the (U.S.) Public Links I’ve been struggling.

“I went out to the driving range the night before the tournament started and the 12-time club champion at Brattleboro (Vt.) straightened me out. I felt awkward over the ball for both of these rounds, which means I was doing it right.’’

Pleat, who can’t remember life before golf, marveled at how quickly Kohler became a top amateur.

“I’m always impressed by people who just pick it up and four years later they’re playing in tournaments,’’ Pleat said. “I grew up with it, played a long time and know how tough it is to get to be decent.’’

The two will play all 72 holes of the tournament with one another, going out as a pair for Thursday’s final 36 holes.

They’ll be tough to catch, but just six off the lead and only one shot behind Pleat is Jake Nutter of Bedford (72-69-141). Chris Rivard of Candia Woods, the 2006 winner, who just regained his amateur status last week, is at 142.

State Am runner-up D.J. Lantz of New London is at 143 and Amherst’s Josh Chamberlain put back-to-back 72s together and is currently sixth at 144.

Nashua’s Jon Warneke had a hole in one on Wednesday, using a six iron to ace the 192-yard fourth hole. His even par 72, coupled with Tuesday’s 79, left him at 151.

Other local players who made the cut were: Jeff Sullivan of Sky Meadow (147), John DeVito of the Overlook (148), Phil Pleat of Nashua Country Club (148), Josh Kibbe of Green Meadow (149), Ryan Friel of the Overlook (149), Justin Jennings of Souhegan Woods (150), Steve Lane of Green Meadow (150), Griffin Brown of the Overlook (152), Chase Dembisky of Souhegan Woods (153), Greg Sutcliffe of Nashua (153), Bob Grassetti of Nashua (154) and Randy Bragg of Nashua (154).