Golf: Dunbarton’s Duncan locks up No. 1 seed through stroke play, advances to Round of 32 with six other Concord CC members; Mielcarz career ends in Round of 64

Dunbarton resident and Concord Country Club member Hunter Duncan prepares for a putt during Monday’s opening round. Duncan used the home course to his advantage, shooting a 6-under-par 64 in Monday's first round and adding an even-par round on Tuesday to secure the top seed for match play.

Dunbarton resident and Concord Country Club member Hunter Duncan prepares for a putt during Monday’s opening round. Duncan used the home course to his advantage, shooting a 6-under-par 64 in Monday's first round and adding an even-par round on Tuesday to secure the top seed for match play. Courtesy NHGA

Jim Cilley tees off at the first hole at Concord Country Club during Tuesday’s second round of state amateur qualifying. Cilley shot 76-70-146 to make the match-play cut.

Jim Cilley tees off at the first hole at Concord Country Club during Tuesday’s second round of state amateur qualifying. Cilley shot 76-70-146 to make the match-play cut. Geoff Forester / Monitor staff

Jim Cilley tees off at the second hole at Concord Country Club in the second round of the 121st State Amateur Championship on Tuesday, July 9, 2024. Cilley made the cut to advance to match play.

Jim Cilley tees off at the second hole at Concord Country Club in the second round of the 121st State Amateur Championship on Tuesday, July 9, 2024. Cilley made the cut to advance to match play. —Geoff Forester

David Perry tees off at the first hole at Concord Country Club in the second round of the 121st State Amateur Championship on Tuesday. Perry made the cut to advance to match play on his home course

David Perry tees off at the first hole at Concord Country Club in the second round of the 121st State Amateur Championship on Tuesday. Perry made the cut to advance to match play on his home course Geoff Forester / Monitor staff

David Perry tees off at the second hole at Concord Country Club in the second round of the 121st State Amateur Championship on Tuesday, July 9, 2024. Perry made the cut to advance to match play on his home course

David Perry tees off at the second hole at Concord Country Club in the second round of the 121st State Amateur Championship on Tuesday, July 9, 2024. Perry made the cut to advance to match play on his home course —Geoff Forester

By DAN ATTORRI

Monitor staff

Published: 07-11-2024 12:04 AM

Eighteen Concord Country Club golfers teed off on their home course for the 121st New Hampshire State Amateur Championship, but Hunter Duncan made the best use of the home-course advantage.

Duncan birdied on two of the first three holes he played in Monday’s opening round to go right to the top of the leaderboard, carding a 6-under-par 64 on the state am’s opening day, then shot an even-par 70 in Tuesday’s second round of stroke play to lock up the No. 1 seed in the match-play bracket with a two-day total of 6-under 134.

Duncan started Monday’s opening round on the back nine, getting birdies on the 11th and 12th holes and adding an eagle on the 17th before another birdie on the 18th. He shot 2 under on the front nine to cap his first day.

Duncan, a Dunbarton resident who previously attended Bow High School before transferring to the Taft School in Watertown, Conn., had a one-stroke lead over Hopkinton’s Mark Stevens (NHGA e-Club, 2008 state am champion) and Nashua Country Club’s James Pleat (2020 and 2021 champion) at the end of the first round.

“I was playing composed golf out there and letting my game just do its thing,” Duncan said in an interview with the New Hampshire Golf Association (NHGA).

Duncan kept up the momentum in Wednesday’s first round of match play, defeating No. 64 Mitch Cormier (Hooper Golf Course), 2 and 1, carding three birdies in the final five holes contested to close out the victory.

Stevens also shot a par round on Tuesday to remain at a 5-under total to hang onto the No. 2 seed, while Pleat shot 3 over in the second round to fall into a tie for third with Concord Country Club’s Will McLaughlin at 2-under 138. Pleat earned the No. 3 seed, while McLaughlin has the No. 4 seed for match play.

New London’s Rob Henley (Lake Sunapee Country Club) shot a par round of 70 on both days, tying with Jake Nutter (Derryfield CC) and Matthew Paradis (NHGA e-Club) at 140 and picked up the No. 6 seed via tiebreakers. 

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Thunderstorms forced Tuesday’s second round to be suspended with 27 golfers yet to complete their rounds, which were concluded on Wednesday morning, in addition to a playoff where 16 competitors tied at 13-over 153 vied for just two spots. Former Bow High golfer and graduate Jeremy Duhamel was one of those two, finishing with the No. 63 seed.

Eight other Concord CC members made the cut: No. 19 Matthew Burroughs (5-over 145), No. 26 Jeremy Burke and No. 29 Ryan Blossom (6-over 146), No. 33 David Perry (7-over 147); No. 43 Ryan Phinney, No. 46 Dan Doyle and No. 47 Ryan Sylvester (all tied for 43rd at 10-over 150); and Bob Mielcarz (tied 39th, 12-over 152).

Seven of the 10 Concord CC players won their first match play round with Perry (4 and 2), McLaughlin (5 and 4), Blossom (5 and 3), Sylvester (2 and 1), Burke (3 and 2) and Burroughs (21 holes) all advancing.

Of those who did not advance, one of them was Mielcarz, who ended his state am career as the winningest amateur golfer in state history with nine titles. His defeat to Pleat, 33, a two-time champion, could very well represent a changing of the guard.

Starting on the sixth hole, Pleat made par on Nos. 6-11 while Mielcarz bogeyed twice. Pleat then had birdies on the 12th and 13th, and Mielcarz bogeyed again on the 14th hole, allowing Pleat to open up a 5-up lead early. Pleat birdied the 18th hole to close out the 6-and-5 win.

Burroughs advanced at the expense of fellow Concord CC member Doyle, and Phinney fell, 3 and 2, to No. 22 Derek Dinwoodie (Farmington CC).

Players from other local clubs included No. 24 Scott Underhill (Canterbury Woods), No. 25 Andrew Surprenant (Youth on Course) and No. 28 Jim Cilley (Laconia CC), who all shot 6 over to make the cut. No. 32 Will Beckford of Canterbury Woods (No. 32, 7 over), No. 38 James Shattuck of Beaver Meadow (tied 39th, 9 over), and No. 58 Ryan Waring of Canterbury Woods (12 over) also made the top 64.

Stevens (6 and 5), Underhill (2 up) and Henley (1 up) were the non-Concord CC locals who won their round of 64 matches.

The rounds of 32 and 16 will be contested on Thursday.