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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Atkinson’s Nick Pandelena, New Ipswich’s Damon Salo lead State Am golf

GOFFSTOWN – Nick Pandelena and Damon Salo met on the putting green between morning and afternoon tee-time sessions.

New Ipswich’s Salo, the former Mascenic Regional High School star, Johnson and Wales University golfer and Bretwood Golf Course member, was headed to the clubhouse with the score to beat, having walked off the 18th green with a five-under par 67. During their brief conversation, Salo must have handed Pandelena the magic club. ...

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GOFFSTOWN – Nick Pandelena and Damon Salo met on the putting green between morning and afternoon tee-time sessions.

New Ipswich’s Salo, the former Mascenic Regional High School star, Johnson and Wales University golfer and Bretwood Golf Course member, was headed to the clubhouse with the score to beat, having walked off the 18th green with a five-under par 67. During their brief conversation, Salo must have handed Pandelena the magic club.

Atkinson’s Pandelena, a Boston College golfer who plays out of Atkinson Resort and Country Club, took Salo’s lead and dominated the Stonebridge Country Club course. He heads into Tuesday’s second round of 36-hole qualfying with a one-stroke lead over Salo and two strokes ahead of Crotched Mountain’s Josh Chamberlain, a Merrimack native, in the New Hampshire Golf Association’s 111th State Amateur Championship.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Pandelena said. “I was hitting the ball real well, and I was making my putts.

“We’ve got a lot of golf still to play. I’m just going to wake up tomorrow, come to the club and keep plugging away.”

Pandelena finished the opening round with a six-under 66, courtesy of five birdies, just one bogey (10th hole) and an eagle on the par-5 14th hole. Salo’s round consisted of seven birdies and two bogeys (sixth and 10th holes). Impressive considering he hasn’t played a round of golf in three weeks, having been out west for a wedding.

“I’m real excited about today’s round,” Salo said. “I wasn’t expecting a whole lot of great things to happen today, considering the layoff, but I putted real well.

“My main focus is hitting the greens. If you’re making your putts you won’t bogey very often.”

Sitting in third place, Chamberlain opened with a strong effort.

He birdied the first three holes of his day, hit for par on the fourth and then bogeyed the fifth.

He made par the rest of the way until the turn, when he bogeyed two more times (12th and 18th holes), sandwiched around three more birdies.

“Just this last couple of weeks I’ve started hitting the ball really good,” Chamberlain said.

“It’s the first time in a couple of years that I’m starting to feel really good about my game, and I played well. I kept it in play, hit my shots and when you do that, you can put up a good number.”

Defending champion Michael Martel, of New Ipswich, isn’t far behind. The Crotched Mountain golfer also put up a decent number.

He’s sitting in a four-way tie for seventh with a one-under 71.

Feeling a little pressure as the defending champion, Martel needed to get the first hole under his belt before settling in.

“I felt a little jumpy at the first tee,” Martel said, “but I felt good after that.’’

Other locals in the top 20 include Nashua Country Club father and son, Phil and James Pleat, who are in a nine-way tie for 11th with fellow NCC member Ryan Brogan and The Overlook’s Ryan Friel.

They all finished Round One with even 72s.