Brett Wilson of the Country Club of New England fired a 3-under par 69 Tuesday on Day One of the N.H. Mid-Amateur Championship, and will take a two-shot lead into the second and final round Wednesday as he seeks to win the event for a third time.
It will not be easy. A pack of top state amateurs are in close pursuit, including Rochester CC standout Jamie Ferullo, the only other player to shoot below par Tuesday (1-under 71), and Ryan Kohler of Hooper Golf Course in Walpole, one of three players bunched at 1-over par and tied for third after shooting 73.
Kohler, like Wilson, is a former winner of this event.
The championship is being contested at the Lake Winnipesaukee Golf Course in New Durham.
Wilson, 44, hit 15 greens in regulation and made five birdies, three on his opening nine. Kohler, 36, who had a strong run at the State-Am earlier this summer, reaching the semifinals, had three birdies and four bogeys.
Also lurking is James Pleat, the State-Am champion, who is four back after a round of 74.
Bretwood member Gabe Roy, the one-time Keene High star, is hanging around after a first-day 78. Roy had three birdies, but a pair of double bogeys were blemishes on his card.
Among other area players who teed it up Tuesday, Jacob Miller of The Shattuck in Jaffrey shot 80, Jalen Rines of The Shattuck shot 84, and Bill McGuire and Chris Martz, both of Bretwood, shot 90 and 94, respectively.
Craig Steckowych, the recent Senior Mid-Amateur Match Play victor, is off the lead pace after a round of 79.
The ever-dangerous Matt Burroughs of Derryfield CC in Manchester is the other player at 1-over par with Kohler. Burroughs had six birdies and six pars and the rest “others.” Burroughs is one of the top NH Golf Association point-getters this summer, with one win and a runner-up showing a couple weeks back at Mid-Amateur Match Play.