The stars-are-aligned feel is too good to resist.

So, best to push the potential turning points, story twists and pivotal characters to the wings and jump straight to the main plot.

Phil Pleat is playing at home — Nashua Country Club — in the 117th N.H. Amateur golf championship July 6-11.

For starters, that is a pretty good “Now-Showing” headline to put in lights.

Not that this year’s six-day summer slugfest will lack for intrigue and suspense, but the buildup begins not just at the 104-year-old club that rose from a small country farmhouse, host of 13 previous State-Ams, but virtually next door at the Pleat family home.

This state’s most decorated amateur golfer, whose gaudy resume is peppered with major titles and more N.H. Golf Association victories than any other player in the state, can pretty much walk to the course at which he is a member should he want.

Reflective, Pleat recalls not only the many golf memories of where he has lived and played so often, but watching his children learn to walk on the green fairways nearby.

Some will surely see the now 64-year-old’s appearance in the Am next month as a swan song of sorts.

Wiser peers know better.

Pleat, though, is conventionally understated. “It’s special to play at home, no doubt,” he said. “Hopefully, I play well.”

Pleat captured the last of his three amateur titles at Nashua in 1997, 10 years after moving into the Fairway Avenue neighborhood.

He regards that week as one of his most treasured golf memories. He won two matches in extra holes and dispatched Matt Eaton in the 36-hole final in front of all his family, including his parents, his wife, Lisa, and his children, James, then 7, and Jennie, then 10. Family history loomed large and heightened the drama. Pleat’s brother-in-law, Jay Leonard, is a two-time State-Am finalists and Jay and Lisa’s father, Thomas Leonard Jr., won eight N.H. amateurs, a mark that stood for 48 years. His streak of six straight wins in the event still holds.

Deeper back still, Thomas Leonard Jr.’s dad, TL Leonard, was the State-Am winner in 1922, he 22nd time the event was conducted, and that win was at Nashua.

Pleat’s greatest golfing accomplishment, perhaps, is a runner-up finish at the 2011 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship at Kinloch Golf Club in Virginia. Pleat also owns back-to-back N.E. Senior Amateur titles, in 2016 and 2017.

“I guess you can say I’ve seen everything now, so I expect anything,” Pleat, in his 40th year as a financial adviser, said. “I really just try to play my game and play the golf course, unless certain situations arise in match play.”

Odds suggest Pleat’s climb next month is steep. While Pleat calls Peter Harrity’s 2002 State-Am win at Owl’s Nest at age 55 one of the event’s “most remarkable feats,” a different title trend has emerged.

None of the winners since Harrity that year was more than 34 years old (Austin Eaton, 2003) when they hoisted the trophy, and even Eaton is the exception. The average age of the ensuing 17 champions after Harrity is 23.

Qualifying for non-exempt players begins Monday, June 22, and will be held at six sites over four different days. The venues are Rochester, Montcalm, North Conway, Keene, Beaver Meadow and Amherst. The qualifier at Keene is June 24. In all, more than 350 players will compete for a spot in the field.

Seacoast stalwart Craig Steckowych is among those who said he would not be surprised to see an age-defying Pleat run, saying experience is invaluable on the Nashua course.

For the same reason, Steckowych, who just turned 61, said, “I like to think, somewhere in the back of my mind, that I have a small chance, too.”

The 2019 N.H. Senior Match Play winner, Steckowych has a binder-sized golf resume of his own, and two State-Am trophies on his mantel, including one from 1998 when he outdueled Pleat 4-and-3 in the finals at Derryfield in Manchester.

“I believe that I have a chance, albeit a very small chance, but I don’t honestly think I would enter if I didn’t feel like I had a chance,” Steckowych said. “At Nashua you will have to be very accurate, and that probably opens up the field. And match play being the beast it is, anything can happen.”

Brett Wilson, a five-time Seacoast Amateur winner, said “Steck’s always deadly; his game can really carry anywhere.”

Wilson, 46, is another of the players exempt into the field, having punched his ticket with a second-place finish at the N.H. Mid-Amateur last year at Concord CC.

Wilson placed fourth at the Players Invitational recently, but said his game is not without need of work.

“I never know what I’m going to show up with,” the affable veteran, husband, and father to three daughters said. “I haven’t put one round all together this year, but when you talk about the State-Am it’s different — it’s a marathon. The last 15 to 20 years have seen a lot more talent, but match play is match play.”

A one-time UNH golf standout, Wilson advanced to the semifinals at Bretwood in 2017 before he was eliminated, noting that even then he was nearly 20 years younger than any of the remaining four.

Wilson also has the distinction of losing three straight first-round matches to his longtime good friend Bob Mielcarz, but that is hardly a headline. A nine-time champion and notorious par-making machine, Mielcarz, of Concord, was always viewed as having a built-for-match-play game, and many a foe fell at the foot of his brilliance in that format.

One of those defeats, at Cochecho, where Wilson is a member, was settled on the second extra hole.

The lure of the course

Mielcarz is making a return to the State-Am this year; he is 71. Wilson would just as soon their paths do not cross.

Wilson, his father, David, and Mielcarz and longtime NHGA Board President Bill Krueger play yearly together in a member-guest, rotating between Concord CC and Cochecho, Brett Wilson said.

David Wilson and Krueger played together in the 1992 State-Am at Lake Sunapee, the younger Wilson said, and the “friendly” has been played every year since then.

This year’s edition was played recently in Concord, with some tacked-on levity from outside the ropes.

“It’s been so much fun,” Wilson said. “Bob’s wife (Elaine) said she hopes to see me at Nashua so Bob can have an easy first-round match.”

Veteran Mike Blair out of Bretwood played his first amateur in 1985, at Keene CC, and has been a regular since, racking up exemptions into the event with his consistent track record in NHGA events, including as a senior.

Blair, retired, is 65. He will tee it up at Nashua but has no false illusions, he said.

“It’s not super long,” he said of the course, “and that’s the only reason I’m playing. We won’t be looking at 440-yard par fours, so I have a chance to make the cut. Doing that and winning a match, that would be a tremendous accomplishment.”

Blair’s deepest run in the bracket came in 2004 at Laconia, when he marched into the semifinals only to meet another Keene native, Derek MacAllister, who went on to win, 5 and 4.

“I played pretty well,” Blair remembered, “but he was pretty much unbeatable that year.”

Blair said he can lean on his short game and putting at Nashua. Another longtime amateur standout, Craig Steckowych, a two-time winner of the State-Am, called Nashua a “Mike Blair kind of golf course. Experience, a better-than-average short game … that kind of player has an advantage and can do well there.”

This year’s State-Am conversation is not complete without mentioning at least a few other players who, on paper, figure to contend.

Defending champion John DeVito, the Passaconaway member who has been on a roll, grew up in Nashua working in the club’s bag room for a couple of summers.

DeVito, 30, won last year at Portsmouth and captured the Players Invitational two weeks ago at Baker Hill in Newbury by four shots over Pat Pelletier. DeVito was co-medalist at the 2017 State-Am at Bretwood and lost to eventual champion Mike Martel in the quarterfinals.

He credits a never-give-up attitude and a more mature approach to confronting the ups and downs of the game for serving him well in his stretch of strong performances. That, and a new putter.

“My putting is something I struggled with,” DeVito said, “but I found a putter I really like; I won the Am with it last year. My ability to make those puts inside 10 feet has been a big difference.”

He bought the putter, a Ping Redwood, used off eBay four or five years ago, he said, but did not put it in his bag until last year.

Pelletier, the Lebanon native, reclaimed his amateur status in 2017 after a decent, but not profitable, stint as a pro. Since then, the 32-year-old has played some of his best sustained golf.

He won the N.H. Stroke play two years ago and defended it last year, at Green Meadow. In 2018, he reached the finals of the State-Am, in his backyard at Hanover CC, losing to Matthew Paradise. That same year, in the N.H. Open at Stonebridge, against an elite field that included top New England professionals, he shot 13-under over three days and lost by two shots to James Thresher.

His runner-up total was — get this — 18 shots better than the next highest-finishing amateur.

“I don’t want to sound arrogant,” Pelletier, a one-time Rhode Island Open winner, said. “I really expect to win. If I’m playing my game, and grinding on the greens, I feel like I can put myself in position to win.”

Young guns and locals

Pelletier said youth will be served again, given the small army of great young players, many in the college ranks, who have already or are making a name for themselves in this event. Typically, he said, those players have the whole spring season right into May to be playing and staying sharp.

“They can come in sometimes two months ahead of everyone else,” Pelletier said. “This year, more than ever, that won’t be the case as much, so I think (the tournament) will be more up in the air. It’s everyone starting more at the same level. I think you’ll see a lot of surprises.”

Pleat’s son, James, now 29, shot 7-under and was medalist at Nashua in 2011 and reached the semifinals the hard way, with wins over Joe Leavitt in 20 holes, DJ Lantz, and good friend Will McLaughlin. A Dartmouth grad who, like his father, works as a financial adviser, Pleat is regarded as one of the longer drivers of the ball in the state. His exemption this year is for winning the N.H. Mid-Am two years ago.

“This will be a challenging venue,” the younger Pleat said. “The rough is as gnarly as I can remember seeing and the course is playing firm and fast. The premium will be on putting.”

He said the 9-to-5 work world has infringed on his game some, but his course knowledge, more mature on-course temperament and all the lessons he has taken from watching his father in this event are strengths he will need to lean on.

Among other players who are either from the Monadnock Region or have golf-playing roots in this part of the state, and who could be in the mix this year include Ryan Kohler, exempt for his top 10 finish in the 2019 Mid-Amateur; Jake Hollander, exempt for his runner-up in the State-Am last year; Bob Kearney, exempt for his low amateur finish at the 2019 N.H. Open and being named N.H. Senior Player of the Year; and Cameron Salo, exempt for making it to the Round of 16 in the State-Am in 2019.

Former champions from the region, Derek MacAllister and Hugh Barrett, are not in the field. MacAllister, a Keene native, won in 2004 at Laconia, while playing out of Rochester; Barrett, also from Keene, won in 1980 at Derryfield, and nearly went back-to-back but fell in sudden death on the 38th hole to Pleat at Laconia.

Jim Cilley won the last State-Am at Nashua CC, in 2011, beating Nick McDonald.

Any of them could be a factor, but the it wouldn’t do to discount Pleat and the other veteran champions.

Three of Leonard Jr.’s eight wins were at Nashua, including bookend victories during his run of six straight, in 1947 and in 1952.

Now, 68 years after his father-in-law’s last State-Am victory, Phil Pleat has a history-making opportunity that is a long shot, to be sure, but big-screen worthy still. It is no small part of what makes this year’s State-Am so absorbing.

And for golf players and fans alike, so needed.