Greenland – Thursday morning not only marked the start of the 88th New Hampshire Open, but also marked the debut of Breakfast Hill Golf Club hosting the event for the first time.
However, there were many familiar names who took part in the three-day tournament that ends on Saturday, with a total of 156 golfers on the field.
“It’s a good track,” said Valentino Cheek of Brentwood. “It’s interesting to see what a lot of golfers will shoot here. The course is in good shape, a little different layout for something like this. It’s fun to watch, and I love it.”
Ben Reichert of Buffalo, Dylan McQueen of Palm Harbor, Florida, and Paul Pastor of Stamford, Connecticut, all scored 6-under-64 to share the lead in the first round. Baltimore’s Ryan Selger, 5-under 65 par, is a single shot.
After Friday’s round, the under-40 players and two players qualify for Saturday’s 18-hole final round.
Besides Cheek, other Seacoast natives competing in the tournament include Scott Hacker of Newmarket, Jeffrey Sovis of Greenland, Hampton Falls’ Michael Fiacco, Ryan Quinn of North Hampton, and Chris Kelloway of Portsmouth.
Jack Zeuse withdrew from Ray from the event.
“I grew up here playing here,” said Quinn, who hit three goals above level 73 and is in a five-a-side tie to finish 53rd on the 150th golfer’s course. “I was a member about 10-20 years old. The course is in good shape this week; strong, the Greens are fast. You could tell they were working on it, and they limited tee times and members playing because it’s such a big event.”
Quinn, who won the Seacoast Amateur Championship last year, called his first-round play “sloppy.”
“I had a three-hit throw, and only two bad fouls,” Quinn said. “I had three sparrows in a row on the back (11, 12, 13) and that was cool; that kind of stick got me going. Then I cheered 14 and 15, so it was sloppy. I wasn’t playing steady.”
Quinn mentioned that you need good wedge shots in this course, and he said he didn’t have that on Thursday.
“I didn’t have enough close-kicks to give myself a really good look, so I had to be a bit defensive with a lot of my shots,” he said. “I didn’t have a lot of hits to go on and try to do. But, to say all that, 73, I think I’d take it. I’m not happy with it, but it’s a 54-hole event, so we have a lot of golf left. That’s just the beginning.”
Quinn said two words that don’t mix are “stressful” and “golf,” and so he was playing early.
“I had a lot of long penalties that I had to take,” he added. “I wasn’t stressing about the championship, I was stressing myself the way I was playing, I didn’t make it easy for myself. So the fact that I shot 73 goals definitely could have taken me away, but I’m glad I sort of got it, I’m not in a terrible place. “.
The Cheek had a 5-over-75, while Fiacco had a 12-over-82, Hacker and Sovis each fired a 15-over-85, and Kelloway had a 17-over-87.
Cech joked that while he’s played this course his fair share of times, he doesn’t necessarily think this gives him a huge advantage over others.
“It just makes me feel a little more comfortable and know where some mistakes are,” he said. “But, I didn’t play it enough to get a huge real advantage.”
Cheek assembled with Jonathan Bannon of Warwick, Rhode Island and Jeff Berkshire of Scottsdale, Arizona.
“Our group was quiet today, and we talked a little bit,” said Crick, who shot a 38 in the front and a nine and a 37 in the back. “We didn’t really talk about golf, though, and we kind of did talk about life.”
Kelloway, just like the others, enjoyed the course and complimented the way it looks.
“There are two cork holes on the outside, a little tighter than I’m used to,” he said. “But it’s in pretty good shape overall, and some good placements are there today.”
Kelway said he didn’t give his best game in the opening round.
“There wasn’t a lot of rhythm today,” Kelway said. “I didn’t have anything going really well, but I just tried to hold on there, keep my head up and do my best.”
MacQueen, who started out front after only seeing about three holes at Breakfast Hill prior to his first round, got off to a steady start, equalizing on the first four holes. From there, he circled the next three holes and closed the front nine with another bird taking the lead early on.
“It got off to a nice, fairly steady start with a couple of barbers,” McQueen said. “It went a fairly good distance and made three sparrows in a row. I had a fun shot in the nine where it flew in the cup and just bounced back, and it was nice to spin at 4-under.”
Stephen Ramos of Danville, Colin Andrade (Sandwich, Massachusetts) and Jack Teegan of Northboro, Massachusetts are low amateurs, all shooting at a par 70.