Golf: Lien, Dichard lead Nashua Cities after one round

Richard Dichard has fond memories of his many years participating in the Nashua Cities Golf Tournament. Following Saturday’s first round of the 58th tourney, Dichard is hoping this year’s memory is of him becoming a permanent fixture of the event’s history.

Dichard’s opening round even par of 72 leaves him one shot behind leader Cameron Lien heading into Sunday’s final round at Souhegan Woods Golf Club in Amherst.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been relevant in any kind of tournament play,” said Dichard, a Souhegan Woods member, who along with Nashua Country Club’s Lien will be joined in the final group by Brennen Gillis (74, 2-over), a member at Stonebridge Country Club in Goffstown, and Amherst Country Club member Mike Cole (75, 3-over). “I’ve finished sixth and seventh before. Actually, I was fourth once, but that was 12 or 13 years ago. It’s nice to be in this position.”

Dichard birdied the eighth and 15th holes on his way up the leaderboard. Not bad, considering he hasn’t picked up a golf club in two weeks.

The Manchester West High School principal simplified his game Saturday on a course players claimed was unusually fast with some tough pin placements.

“I didn’t let the 6 inches between the two temples bother me much,” said Dichard, who earned $60 in skins for his birdie on eight. “I didn’t overthink anything. I just went out there and played golf.”

Lien recorded four birdies (holes 1, 4, 9 and 10) and an eagle (18) on his way to the top spot.

The NCC member’s birdie on one and eagle earned him $120 in skins. He likes the position as the 11:12 a.m. tee time approaches for his foursome.

“I played it pretty conservative out there,” Lien said. “The course was playing tough and the greens were fast. I didn’t really hit the driver off the tee that much, and that’s the plan for the final round, too.”

Lien had a couple bogeys courtesy of poor wedge shots, but he’s planning on improving his position on the course Sunday to erase the potential for the same mistakes.

“The pin locations made it tough to play onto the greens if you hit a long drive,” Lien said. “I’m trying to leave 100 yards to the hole to have some green to hit on your approach shot.”

Gillis birdied three holes (4, 12, 18) to assist him in securing a top three finish after Round 1.

Just like Lien, Gillis played more conservative than normal to overcome the fast greens and pin placement.

“The pins were positioned on some really tough slopes,” Gillis said. “It was tough out there today. I got through it and now I’m excited to be playing in the final group.”

Not as excited as an emotional Dichard was Saturday afternoon.

“I’d be lying if I said I’m not a little choked up right now,” Dichard said. “For someone like me, who loves this game as much as I do. This is going to be great. It’s something special.

“I just hope I have a respectable round. To actually win it – to think about that – really would mean so much to me. All these years, the amazing golfers that have won this tournament, to be in the history books with those people would truly mean so much to me.”