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Friday, July 18, 2014

It’ll be Atkinson Day at State Am in Goffstown

By GEORGE SCIONE

GOFFSTOWN – Don’t be surprised if Stonebridge Country Club is lined with Atkinson Resort and Country Club members Friday morning. Not only do they have two high-profile members playing in the 111th State Amateur quarterfinals, longtime friends are actually squaring off in the first match of the day.

Joe Leavitt beat Nashua Country Club’s Phil Pleat in 19 holes during Thursday morning’s Round of 32. Then he disposed of Rochester Country Club’s Jamie Ferullo, 3 and 2, in the afternoon’s Round of 16. Ferullo reached the Round of 16 after knocking out qualifying medalist Ryan Kohler, of Hooper Golf Club, in 19 holes in the Round of 32. ...

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GOFFSTOWN – Don’t be surprised if Stonebridge Country Club is lined with Atkinson Resort and Country Club members Friday morning. Not only do they have two high-profile members playing in the 111th State Amateur quarterfinals, longtime friends are actually squaring off in the first match of the day.

Joe Leavitt beat Nashua Country Club’s Phil Pleat in 19 holes during Thursday morning’s Round of 32. Then he disposed of Rochester Country Club’s Jamie Ferullo, 3 and 2, in the afternoon’s Round of 16. Ferullo reached the Round of 16 after knocking out qualifying medalist Ryan Kohler, of Hooper Golf Club, in 19 holes in the Round of 32.

Pandelena, who was the low score on Day One of qualifying, opened his day with a 1-up win over Windham Country Club’s Nick Fairweather, then reached the quarters with a 1-up, afternoon victory over Stonebridge Country Club member and Merrimack native Josh Chamberlain.

“I played OK for stretches,” said Pandelena, a junior at Boston College. “The morning round I played alright, not great, we kind of had a pillow fight. The first nine of the second match I played really well. I was bogey free, three-under through the front and then a couple three-putts on the back.’’

The two square off at 8 a.m. to kick off the quarterfinal round of the New Hampshire Golf Association event. Nothing like best friends squaring off in the Granite State’s premier amateur event.

“We go out every day and play and just kind of mess around and stuff,” said Leavitt, a junior at the University of Rhode Island. “We’ve always been close, but it’s never been to this magnitude.”

They have faced off in tournaments before. Dating all the way back to the 2011 Massachusetts Division I High School Championship. Pandelena, playing for St. John’s Prep in Danvers, won the title in a three-way playoff that included Leavitt, who was playing for Central Catholic High School in Lawrence. Leavitt rebounded from that defeat by winning the 2012 State Am and then beating Pandelena in the last two Club Championships at Atkinson.

Perhaps the 20-year-old college stars, who became best friends as 10-year-old Atkinson Little Leaguers, won’t be chatting it up in the quarterfinals.

Pandelena is ready for the early tee time.

“I think it’s the match both of us wanted,” he said. “I think maybe it’s a match a lot of people want to see. It’ll be good. It’ll be fun, and I’m sure there will be a lot of people following.”

The second match of the round, which tees of at 8:10, pits Pembroke Pines Country Club’s Jim Cilley, a State Am champion in 2011, against The Overlook Golf Club’s Ryan Friel. Cilley advanced with a Round-of-32 win over

Nashua Country Club’s James Pleat. He followed up his 2 and 1 win over Pleat with a 1 up victory over defending champion Michael Martel, of Crotched Mountain Golf Club, in the Round of 16. Friel’s path to the quarters started with a 3-and-2 win over Pembroke Pines Country Club’s Josh LaCasse, and was completed with a 4-and-2 victory over Loudon Country Club’s Bob Landry in the Round of 16.

“Other than a couple loose tee shots I played pretty good,” Friel said. “Other than that it was good, back and forth a little bit. Just kind of played steady, not too aggressive, and pulled out the win.”

Derryfield Country Club’s Matt Paradis and Newport Golf Club’s Mike Killam will tee off third at 8:20. Paradis has opened a lot of eyes this week, finishing second in the qualifying rounds to set up a remarkable run to the quarterfinals.

Paradis beat Nashua Country Club’s Tommy Ethier in the Round of 64 Wednesday and hasn’t lost a hole since. Counting the last nine holes against Ethier, Paradis has not dropped one hole in his last 45. He carried that streak through his 6-and-5, Round-of-32 win over Manchester Country Club’s Ryan Tombs and 5-and-4, Round-of-16 win over Nashua Country Club’s Ryan Brogan.

Brogan, who had advanced from the morning session with a 2-up win over Portsmouth Country Club’s Chris Kelloway, got behind early and had no chance to recover.

“He didn’t hit a bad shot against me,” Brogan said. “Any time he missed the green by a yard or two he had a tap-in after his chip. He was in control of his ball, and had the speed of the greens pretty well. He kind of had a stress-free round and was in control.”

The fourth quarterfinal will see Bretwood Golf Club’s Damon Salo and Hanover Country Club’s Nick MacDonald teeing off at 8:30.

MacDonald, the 2010 State Am champion, advanced with a 4-and-3 win over Derryfield Country Club’s Makenzie Denver in the Round of 32 and a 3-and-2 win over Newport Golf Club’s Matt Killam in the Round of 16. Salo, the second-best golfer on opening day with a five-under 67, reached the quarters with wins over 2001 State Am champ Dan Arvanitis, of Derryfield Country Club, and Lake Sunapee Country Club’s Chris Durocher. Salo beat Arvanitis 2 and 1 in the Round of 32 and Durocher 4 and 3 in the Round of 16.