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Staff photo by Bob Hammerstrom


Facebook: Bob Hammerstrom at The Nashua Telegraph


Phil Pleat pulls the pin while caddying for his son, James on the ninth green during the second day of qualifying rounds in the State Amateur Championship Tuesday, July 12, 2011, at the Nashua Country Club.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This week NCC is on display

Gary Fitz

What is good advertising for a golf course? If you like long courses that require big hits off the tee and a steady stream of tremendously challenging shots, Nashua Country Club probably isn’t for you.

But if you favor an impeccably conditioned course where very good players can chase low numbers, NCC is coming off very well during this week’s 108th State Amateur.

Five players, including the top four, posted scores in the 60s during Tuesday’s second round of qualifying, including Phil Pleat’s 6-under 65, which was just one stroke off of his own course record.

Pleat’s score wasn’t unexpected. He routinely shoots in the 60s on his home course and stopped competing for the club championship over a decade ago, presumably to give somebody else a chance.

And nobody was shocked when his son, James Pleat, posted scores of 67 and 68 to win medalist honors. But plenty of other players found the lush fairways and true green to their liking.

Bob Landry of Loudon is a good golfer who had made eight previous cuts at the State Am, but his 66 on Tuesday was the best scored he’s ever posted in a major tournament.

“The scores will just continue to improve as the week goes along,” said two-time champion Craig Steckowych of Portsmouth, who shot 1-under 70 for both qualifying rounds. “I think by Thursday or Friday you hear players coming off the course saying ‘I shot four or five under and lost.’ ”

It wasn’t all brilliance on Tuesday. Consider the bad luck of Sean Lacey of Intervale in Manchester.

Lacey had a three on one hole on Tuesday, but mistakenly put down a four. It didn’t get him disqualified, but he was forced to keep the higher score on the hole which put him in a playoff for one of the last qualifying slots.

There were seven players vying for four spots initially, but when two of them, Sam Fuller and Jon Malloy, didn’t return to Nashua in time for the playoff they were out, meaning five players were fighting for four spots.

Lacey was the one who didn’t make it, hitting his tee shot wide left on the par-4 15th hole, then hitting a tree with his second shot and finishing with a double bogey.

One player, C.J. Konkowski of Keene, got in with a birdie, while three others moved into match play with a bogey.

No the Grand March wasn’t so grand on Tuesday, but there was plenty of good golf and a course ready to reward it.

Gary Fitz can be reached at 594-6469 or gfitz@nashuatelegraph.com