John Devito lone Nashua area player left in State Am
GREENLAND – A day that began with warm sun and such promise ended in rain, wind and defeat for all but one local golfer.
Green Meadow’s John Devito was the lone player with area ties to survive the changing weather and 36-hole grind on Thursday, advancing to the final eight here in the 116th New Hampshire State Amateur Golf Championships here at Portsmouth Country Club.
A Methuen, Mass., resident who played his high school golf at Nashua South, Devito overcame early deficits in both his morning round of 32 match and the afternoon battle in the round of 16.
The recent Lowell (Mass.) City Champion, Devito rallied to nip Nick Hampoian in sudden death, remaining alive in the State Am with a 19-hole victory.
The afternoon battle was not so close, but it was long and draining as all the players were forced to the clubhouse for a mid-round, 140-minute weather delay.
When play resumed, the rain and wind actually kicked up, but Devito maintained his game, ending Will McLaughlin’s week with a 4-and-2 win.
The No. 5 seed in the original 64-man match-play field, Devito will be challenged by No. 29 Andrew Purse on Friday morning with a 7:38 a.m. tee time.
Eight local golfers began their day with quarterfinal aspirations. Seven were disappointed.
In what many might consider the match of the
afternoon, Nashua’s Tommy Ethier, a semifinalist a year ago in this event, fell to 16-year-old Matt Gover of Atkinson Country Club in 19 holes.
Neither player wanted to budge, from the opening swing.
“It was tough, especially having to go back out there, but you have to give (Gover) all the credit,” said the Bentley University standout Ethier. “He was tough all day, and then he stuck it tight on (the 19th hole). After making the semis last year, this is a little disappointing. I thought I had a chance. But I made a couple mistakes, and they hurt.”
Ethier, who will play in the US Amateur qualifier on Monday, had beaten Fletcher Sokul, 3-and-2, in the morning to advance.
Also falling in the round of 16 was Nashua’s Brandon Gillis, like Ethier a semifinalist in 2018.
Gillis fought uphill all afternoon, eventually falling to Jake Hollander, 1-up.
Gillis knocked off Ryan Kohler, 2-and-1, in the morning.
Amherst Country Club’s Brian Nowak also saw his tourney end in the afternoon matches, 3-and-2 to Nick Kalil, who was playing on his home course.
Nashua CC’s Phil Pleat and Bryce Zimmerman, Passaconaway’s Jared Lamothe and Green Meadow’s Tillman Evers were eliminated in the round of 32.