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Pleat & Steckowych Rise Atop Stacked Leaderboard
Author: Kate Kellar
July 10th 2017 - Keene, NH –  Two players that are no strangers to low scores in Championship play, Craig Steckowych (Portsmouth CC) and James Pleat (Nashua CC) lead the 132-player field with a pair of 68’s after Round 1 of the 114th New Hampshire Amateur Championship presented by Audi of Nashua.  Following close behind was Ryan Brown (Manchester Country Club) and 2015 State Amateur Champion, Connor Greenleaf (Windham Country Club), each with a three-under, 69.  With a lot more golf to be played, all eyes will be on the cut line to determine the low 64 golfers advancing to match play.
Steckowych’s four-under par round came with six birdies and just two bogies.  His strongest nine was the back half of the golf course where he kept it to three-under after making birdie on 10, 14, 15 and 17.
What worked out there?  Steckowych says, “I hit a lot of good irons shots.”  It was a simple game.  He mentioned that he really just played well today.  It showed.
While medalist honors are certainly in sight, they’re not the end goal in this six-day Championship.  Steckowych says, “In years past I kind of eyed the medalist position and I have been medalist a couple of times.  I’m going to come out here tomorrow and just play golf.  It allows me to relax a little bit.”
As for James Pleat, shooting 30 on the back nine propelled his round to that four-under par number.  His front nine was mediocre; he made the turn at one-over par, but with a bogey-free back nine, he turned it on and birdied 10, 11, 13, 14 and 18.
For many of these competitors, it’s not all about being the lowest but rather about earning a match play spot.  Pleat says, “First and foremost it’s about making match play”.  His strategy isn’t necessary about medalist honors, but earning that honor wouldn’t be the worst thing. 
2016 runner-up, Matt Paradis (Concord CC) may not have medalist on his mind, but playing in a group with other similarly accomplished golfers seemed to help out his round of 71.   Paradis says, “It’s good to be able to feed off of eachother’s energy.  We had a lot of fun out there and kept it in play”.
While not far behind the leaders, Paradis just three back of Steckowych and Pleat is still in good position to be amongst the top seeds for match play beginning Wednesday.
The New Hampshire Amateur Championship is a six-day event, beginning with 36-holes of stroke play qualifying on Monday and Tuesday to determine the 64 players who will be advancing to the match play rounds beginning on Wednesday.  One round of matches will be played Wednesday, two rounds of matches will be played both Thursday and Friday, and the championship concludes with a 36-hole final match on Saturday.
Round one results can be found here:

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