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NHGA Players Invitational Crowns New Champion: McKee
Author: Kate Kellar
June 4th 2017 - Newbury, NH – The excitement of the 2017 New Hampshire Golf Association (NHGA) Player’s Invitational at Baker Hill Golf Club reached a peak on the back nine of the second round of the championship.  James McKee (Windham Country Club) was able to hold steady, make important pars and birdies, and take the 2017 title.

Matt Paradis (Concord Country), the 2015 and 2016 champion, seemed destined to win his third-straight title but the back nine at Baker Hill got the best of him in the final round.  He found himself making bogeys on holes 10, 12, 14 and 17, while McKee made his run up the leaderboard with birdies on holes 14, 15 and 16.  When McKee finished with a par on the 36th hole of the competition, Paradis needed birdie to force a playoff but came up short on his birdie putt to lose by one stroke.

McKee had no idea where he stood on the leaderboard on the back nine.  He said, “I had seen the leaderboard after coming down the front nine.  Matt (Paradis) was pretty deep, he was five or six under.  I figured at that point, depending on how the back nine was playing, he would play his game and I know he can go low”.

“I figured he would be continuing that run.  I put all of that out of my head and played my game”, continued McKee.

For McKee, his thoughts going into the Player’s Invitational didn’t necessary include winning the event.  McKee states, “My game plan for this weekend was to come out and enjoy it.  This is my last tournament before I leave for college.  It is surreal to finish up this way.”

McKee, who has won two New Hampshire Junior Championships, will add the Player’s Invitational to his win column as he heads off to West Point to begin college.  As one of the youngest in the field, he certainly plays like a veteran.

In the end, the leaderboard ended up closer than most would have thought.  Nick MacDonald (Lake Sunapee Country Club) carded a four-under par, 68 to jump up the leaderboard and finish one shot behind McKee.  Cam Salo (Bretwood Golf Course) had a round that can’t be overlooked; he was six-under on the back nine alone, but had an unfortunate run-in with the par-3, third hole that held him back.  Nate Choukas (Hanover Country Club) carded two eagles on his route to finishing at one-under par for the tournament.

The NHGA Players Invitational in an invitation-only event open to players based on their finish on the 2016 NHGA Player of the Year point list. The event is held annually at Baker Hill Golf Club.

Complete Results can be found here:

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