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Golf Notebook: Upper Valley transplant ties for fourth in NHGA debut

  • Stephen Goodridge, of Grantham, N.H., watches at the 18th tee during the New Hampshire Golf Association 2020 Stroke Play Championship at the Montcalm Golf Club in Enfield, N.H., on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover High's Natalie Morhun finished in second place at the New Hampshire Women's Golf Association Junior Championship at Amherst Country Club on Aug. 13.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/19/2020 9:50:23 PM
Modified: 8/19/2020 9:50:13 PM

ENFIELD — Competitors on the New Hampshire Golf Association circuit might be seeing more of Stephen Goodridge … when he can break away from occasional kid duty.

A spring transplant to the Upper Valley, Goodridge made his presence obvious during last week’s NHGA Stroke Play Championship at Montcalm Golf Club. A one-time standout at the University of Rochester (N.Y.), Goodridge stayed close to the lead throughout the 54-hole tournament and finished tied for fourth place, four strokes behind three-time champion Pat Pelletier.

Goodridge’s wife, Elizabeth, began an obstetrics/gynecology residency at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in May, leading them and their two children to move from Winston-Salem, N.C., to Grantham. The Stroke Play marked Goodridge’s NHGA debut.

“For some reason, I feel really comfortable on this golf course; don’t know why exactly,” the 34-year-old said after Friday’s final round. “It feels like if you make a bogey, you can make a birdie on the next hole. If you get going really good and get the putter going, you can make a bunch of birdies out here. I just had that mentality all week.”

Goodridge, who shot a 3-under-par 213 (71-72-70), was particularly effective on Montcalm’s front nine, where he was 7 under with just one bogey.

Goodridge racked up multiple accomplishments during his college days at Rochester. The biggest came in 2006 when, as a sophomore, he won the NCAA Division III national championship at the Firethorn Golf Club in Lincoln, Neb. He’d already earned the Phil Mickelson Award from the Golf Coaches Association of America as the nation’s top freshman, and he’d later claim the Liberty League player of the year award as a junior.

Professional golf never appealed, Goodridge said, so he’s remained an active amateur. He tried a few Virginia State Golf Association events when the family lived outside of Washington, as well as some Carolina Golf Association tournaments while his wife was in medical school at Wake Forest.

“I just didn’t want all that pressure and all that time commitment that it takes to make a living doing this game, which is a hard game,” Goodridge added with a laugh. “I’m perfectly happy being an amateur.”

Between work with a defense contractor, his wife’s four-year residency and taking care of two youngsters (son William, 5; daughter Scarlett, 4), Goodridge thinks he may be able to hit two or three NHGA tournaments a year in the future.

“This one was close by; we live in Grantham, 15 minutes down the road, pretty convenient,” said Goodridge, who keeps a handicap at Eastman Golf Links. “Didn’t have to pull too many strings to get someone to watch the kids.”

Morhun runner-up: Hanover High’s Natalie Morhun shot a 3-over-par 75 to claim second place overall and first in the senior division of the New Hampshire Women’s Golf Association Junior Championship at Amherst Country Club on Aug. 13.

Morhun, playing out of Fairlee’s Lake Morey Country Club, finished second behind only Cochecho’s Carys Fennessey, who shot a tournament-best 70. Morhun will be a senior on this fall’s Hanover golf team.

Eastman’s Reagan MacLeay was second in the Munchkin division (ages 5-7) at the tournament.

Vermont Mid-Am: Montague’s Bill Wilkinson and Kimball Union Academy graduate Evan Russell both reached the 32-player match-play portion of last week’s Vermont Golf Association Mid-Amateur championship at Neshobe Golf Club in Brandon, Vt.

Russell was the third seed after shooting a 3-under-par 69 in Friday’s qualifying round. The former Grantham resident reached Saturday’s match-play quarterfinals before sustaining a 2-and-1 defeat to the Country Club of Barre’s Eric Lajeunesse.

Wilkinson shot an even-par 72 in qualifying to earn the ninth seed for match play. He made a first-round exit on Saturday in a 3-and-1 loss to Barre’s Zach Dukette.

Lakeside’s Ryan Porter beat Dukette in the round of 16 and went on the claim the championship with a 5-and-4 defeat of Mount Anthony’s Taylor Bellemare on Sunday.

Newport centennial: Newport Golf Club is looking for anyone tied to the course over its 100-year history to join in a centennial celebration on Sept. 12.

The course will close that day to welcome former and present members, staff, hole sponsors and volunteers both from the course’s nine-hole days (1920-89) as well as its current 18-hole layout, which debuted in 1991. The day includes free golf, a cookout and complimentary soft drinks. Golfers must make tee times per the state’s COVID-19 guidelines and maintain social distancing in the clubhouse area.

Call the course at 603-863-7787 for more information or to reserve a tee time. The rain date is Sept. 19.

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.




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