Hollander in the hunt

File photo Michael Moore / Sentinel Staff

Jake Hollander of The Shattuck Golf Club in Jaffrey now stands just 36 holes away from winning this year’s N.H. Amateur Championship.

PORTSMOUTH — Jake Hollander has advanced farther in the N.H. Amateur Golf Championship than any other area golfer this year or last.

Hollander, a Peterborough resident who plays out of The Shattuck Golf Club in Jaffrey, made it to the quarterfinals after winning two matches Thursday at Portsmouth Country Club. He advanced to the semifinals after defeating No. 39 Nick Kalil in a 1-up win this morning.

He plays Sam Barton, last year's state junior champion, in a match scheduled to start at 11:50 a.m. for a spot in the finals.

John DeVito and Mathew Gover are playing in the other semifinal.

Hollander, the No. 15 seed, defeated No. 47 Macky Seppala of Bretwood Golf Course in the Round of 32, 6-and-4, then upset No. 2 seed Brandon Gillis of Green Meadow in Hudson in the Round of 16 with a 1-up win.

Rain pelted Portsmouth Country Club and delayed Round of 16 play for more than two hours. Morning rounds were stalled briefly too, but for fog.

The final stoppage stretched to 2 hours and 16 minutes, and the rain that greeted golfers when play resumed after dinner was as steady as anything during the delay.

Two rounds today will whittle the field to the final two for Saturday’s 36-hole final, though there is a chance for more thunderstorms this morning and later in the afternoon.

Before losing to Hollander, Gillis ousted Keene State alum and No. 34 seed Ryan Kohler in the Round of 32, 2-and-1. Kohler, of Hooper Golf Club in Walpole, had the best local performance in last year’s State-Am, making it to the Round of 16 before losing to No. 1 seed and eventual runner-up Pat Pelletier.

No. 13 Cameron Salo, also representing Shattuck, advanced to the Round of 16 Thursday with a 1-up win over Bryce Zimmerman of Nashua Country Club. Salo lost in the Round of 16 to No. 29 Andrew Purse of Bald Peak Colony Club, who advanced with a 1-up win.

Hollander has had a nice summer. He came into the amateur off a strong showing at the N.H. Open, played at Bretwood and Keene Country Club. In that event, featuring a strong field of professional players, he was one of just two amateurs to make the cut and advance to the third round. He finished the event at 12-over par.

Eric Evans (Portsmouth CC), Kalil (Portsmouth CC) and Jamie Ferullo (Rochester CC) are on to the quarterfinal also. It’s the fourth trip to this round in five years for Ferullo, while the other two Seacoast players have pushed into Friday for the first time.

Today’s other morning quarterfinals The matchups are Evans vs. Gover, of Atkinson Resort, Andrew Purse of Bald Peak Colony vs. John DeVito of Passaconaway and Ferullo vs. Barton  of Kingswood CC.

Evans, who is coming off an All-Conference season at the University of Hartford. “I couldn’t be more grateful to be here, playing at my home course and playing this well.”

The Dover resident and home-course member had built a 5-up lead on two-time champ Mike Flynn of Cochecho CC when play was suspended at 3:24 p.m. Evans, mulling a two-foot birdie putt for two hours during the delay, needed another half-hour to secure his place in the quarterfinals for the first time ever with a 6-and-5 win.

“Eric played great,” said Flynn. “Anytime you’re in the top 32, top 16, you’re going to play great players. It was his home course and he knows it well. I knew it was going to be tough.”

Evans had been no lock for the Round of 16, needing a 7-foot par-saver on the 18th hole to send his morning match against Tillman Evers of Green Meadow to extra holes. He won the second playoff hole with a par.

Notes

Former champ and Portsmouth native Jared Lamothe’s run ended with a 2-and-1 loss to Barton.

Lamothe, 41, achieved one goal on the course he grew up playing — winning a match after qualifying but losing in the first round last year — but admitted that neither he nor his opponent played all that great.

Lamothe was one of three past champions who lost in the morning. Two-time champ Craig Steckowych fell to Kalil, and three-time champ Phil Pleat of Nashua CC lost to Ferullo. Lamothe’s won his State-Am title at Keene CC.