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KUA Grad Leads N.E. Am

Killington, Vt. — Grantham’s Evan Russell could be leading the New England Amateur golf championship by even more than the two strokes he holds heading into today’s final round at Green Mountain National Golf Course.

Russell, the 2012 Kimball Union Academy graduate representing the Country Club of Vermont this week, threw down a 5-under-66 on Wednesday for the day’s best second round to reach 8-under 134 through the first 36 holes of the regional championship. Two Massachusetts golfers, Longmeadow CC’s Billy Walthouse and Thorny Lea GC’s Matt Parziale, are at 136; no one else is closer than five shots with 18 holes left to play today.

Two shots off the lead at the start of Wednesday, Russell produced a near-perfect round on GMNGC’s hilly layout. He was 7 under par through the first 16 holes, with bogeys on 17 and 18 serving as the only blemishes that let Walthouse and Parziale back into the tournament.

The 2009 New England Amateur champion at New Hampshire’s Portsmouth Country Club, Parziale parlayed an eagle 3 on the par-5 sixth hole — his 15th hole of the day — to counter two birdies and two bogeys for a second-round 69. Walthouse, a back-to-back medalist at the Western Massachusetts Division I High School Golf Championship bound for the University of Rhode Island in the fall, is also in the mix after a second-round 69 featuring birdies on three of his second nine holes.

A total of 62 golfers made the cut of 10-over 162. The only other Upper Valley golfer to advance was Hanover CC’s Joe Toland, whose two-day score of 75-68-143 leaves him in a three-way tie for 12th. Fall Mountain High and Keene State College graduate Ryan Kohler is also at 143 (67-76) through 36 holes.

The Russell-Parziale-Walthouse threesomes tees off this morning at 9:10 a.m. A resident of Essex Junction before moving to Grantham and a former golf standout at Essex High before transferring to KUA, Russell is seeking to become the first native Vermonter to win the New England Am since former Burr & Burton star Hans Albertson claimed the title in 1990. No New Hampshire resident has won the event since Craig Steckowych’s victory at the Quechee Club in 2001.

Williamson Opens Southern Am Defense

The Woodlands, Texas — Hanover High School and Dartmouth College graduate Peter Williamson opened defense of his Southern Amateur championship with a 1-over-par 73 at the Club at Carlton Woods on Wednesday, a round that was stopped by darkness with 28 golfers still to complete their opening rounds.

Williamson started slowly with three front-side bogeys, beginning a turnaround with a birdie on the 455-yard, par-4 ninth. He would add two more birdies before closing with a bogey that left him tied for 68th place.

Tennessee’s Zachary Olsen has the clubhouse lead at 8-under 64. Alabama’s Bobby Wyatt, who lost to Williamson in a playoff at last year’s Southern Am, shot a first-round 72.