NEW DURHAM — Ryan Kohler, 36, is battle-tested and that served him well Thursday when he captured his second N.H. Mid-Amateur Championship on windy Lake Winnipesaukee Golf Course in New Durham.
Kohler, who plays out of Hooper Golf Course in Walpole and lives in Keene, outlasted Brett Wilson, winning by single shot after shooting a 1-over par 73 in Thursday’s third and final round.
A former Keene State baseball standout, Kohler has fashioned a trophy-filled amateur golf career. He also won this event in 2015.
Thursday, with the wind howling and the greens running fast, Kohler birdied the first two holes and then, he said, held on. He finished the event at 5-over with earlier rounds of 73 and 75.
Only one player Thursday bettered Kohler’s score. Veteran Phil Pleat, 64, of Nashua shot an even-par 72 to vault into a tie for third with his son, James Pleat, the second-day leader who failed to make a birdie Thursday.
Kohler made four birdies, adding one the 13th hole and another at the par four 17th hole, which became the turning point of the championship, as Wilson, of Dover, made double bogey to fall one shot behind Kohler with one to play.
Kohler credited a bogey save on the 10th hole and a clutch par-saving putt at 18 as key to the round and the win.
“It was very windy,” Kohler said. “I hit it close on one and made another birdie at two. From there, you just hold on. This feels great; it’s hard to win out here.”
Kohler’s win was a little redemption for a near miss at the State-Am in July, when he played solidly in that long grind and reached the semifinals. Good friend James Pleat went on to win. The two were paired with Wilson for the final two rounds here.
Rick Moreau, who plays out of Sky Meadow in Nashua, rounded out the top five. Moreau shot 77 Thursday. His 70 a day before was the only sub-par round of the final two days of the event.
The field was cut to the top 27 players after Wednesday’s second round.