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Grantham’s Russell Heads to U.S. Amateur

Brewster, Mass. — He already has a New England Amateur title in his hip pocket. Now Grantham’s Evan Russell is aiming for something bigger.

The 20-year-old University of Hartford sophomore and Kimball Union Academy graduate is heading to the United States Amateur golf championship thanks to his play in a 36-hole qualifier on Tuesday at Cape Cod National Golf Club. Russell and Richy Werenski, of South Hadley, Mass., shared the medal out of the tournament and claimed two of the three available slots at the U.S. Am with matching scores of 7-under-par 137.

Russell’s morning 2-under 70 started well, with a pair of early birdies followed by even-par play the rest of the way. He began the afternoon in good stead as well, beginning on Cape Cod’s back nine and shooting 5-under-par by the turn with three birdies to go with an eagle on the par-5 15th hole. Both he and Werenski easily qualified for the national event, finishing seven shots clear of two golfers who had to play off for the final slot.

Russell will join Hanover’s Peter Williamson as the only Upper Valley competitors at the U.S. Am, which will be held at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., on Aug. 12-18. Williamson made the U.S. Am field earlier this summer by virtue of his top-50 status in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

Toland Leads N.H. Stroke Play

Hudson, n.h. — Hanover Country Club’s Joe Toland holds a two-stroke lead and clubmate Tyler Silver is three shots back through the first round of the New Hampshire Stroke Play Championship on the Jungle course at Green Meadow Golf Club.

Toland, who will be a senior on the University of Charlotte (N.C.) men’s golf team in the fall, carded a 3-under-par 69 to open the tourney. Starting on the 10th hole, Toland — the former Hartford High star now living in Lebanon — recorded four birdied against one bogey for a two-shot lead on three golfers.

Silver, fresh from a win with former Lebanon High teammate Zach Pollard at Hanover’s Tommy Keane Invitational on Sunday, is in a group of seven tied at even-par 72. Pollard kicked off the 72-hole tourney with a 4-over 76, which leaves him tied for 30th place after 18 holes.

The field of 97 golfers returns today for another 18 holes, after which the top 40 scores and ties will advance to Thursday’s 36-hole final day.

Schmidt Ahead at N.H. Women’s Am

Nashua, n.h. — Grantham’s Lisanne Schmidt, threw down a 1-over-par 72 to take a three-shot lead after the first day of the New Hampshire Women’s Golf Association amateur championship at Nashua Country Club.

Seeking her first state championship, Schmidt — a past member of the Lebanon High and Eastern Kentucky University golf teams — has plenty of talented company in her wake. Nashua’s Tracy Martin is at 75, and 15-time NHWGA champion Dana Harrity shot a first-round 76 and is in third place. Both Schmidts play out of Eastman Golf Links.

Schmidt’s younger sister and fellow Lebanon High grad, Colette, is tied for fourth at 6-over 77, and Hanover Country Club’s Amy Peters started her championship with a round of 83 to hold a share of eighth place.

The tournament continues through Thursday. The low 60 players and ties advance after today’s second round.