PORTSMOUTH — The first round of match play at the N.H. Amateur Championship Wednesday at Portsmouth Country Club saw four out of five area players advance to the Round of 32, which started this morning.
In a stunning twist, the highest-seeded local player, No. 12 Taylor Simpson, was the only one to lose. Simpson, a Franklin Pierce alum playing out of Oaks Golf Links in Somersworth, fell to No. 53 Sam Natti of The Maplewood Golf Course, who won the match, 1-up.
No. 13 Cameron Salo and No. 15 Jake Hollander, who finished the qualifying rounds tied with Simpson at 3-over par 147, both triumphed against their lower-seeded opponents. Salo, playing out of The Shattuck Golf Club in Jaffrey, defeated No. 52 Russell Hamel of Nashua Country Club, while Hollander, also representing Shattuck, played 20 holes with No. 50 Daniel Arvanitis of Derryfield Country Club before coming out on top.
No. 34 Ryan Kohler, a Keene State alum playing out of Hooper Golf Club in Walpole, advanced after his opponent, No. 31 Jim Cilley of Ridgewood Country Club, conceded the match. No. 47 Macky Seppala, representing Bretwood Golf Course, upset No. 18 Brett Wilson of The Golf Club of New England, 2-up.
In the next round, Hollander and Seppala will face each other, teeing off at 8:42 a.m. Kohler is set to face No. 2 Brandon Gillis of Green Meadow Golf Club at 8:34, while Salo gets the earliest tee time at 8:10, squaring off against No. 45 Bryce Zimmerman of Nashua Country Club.
Last year, Kohler was the only area golfer to advance to the Round of 16 in the Amateur Championship, losing in that round to No. 1 seed and eventual runner-up Pat Pelletier.