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Dartmouth’s Pleat repeats N.H. Amateur feat

  • Former Dartmouth College golfer James Pleat holds the trophy after winning his first New Hampshire Golf Association state amateur championship at Nashua Country Club on July 11, 2020. Pleat, a 2013 Dartmouth graduate, defeated Windham Country Club's Cam Sheedy, 2 and 1, in the 36-hole final match.

Staff Report
Published: 7/17/2021 9:46:02 PM
Modified: 7/17/2021 9:46:03 PM

NORTH CONWAY, N.H. — He’s done it again.

James Pleat, the former Dartmouth College golfer out of Nashua Country Club, repeated as New Hampshire Golf Association Amateur champion on Saturday, earning a 5-and-4 win over Sky Meadow’s Brandon Gillis in the 36-hole title match at North Conway Country Club.

Pleat, who graduated from Dartmouth in 2013, became just the 14th player in the tournament’s 118-year history to repeat as champion. The last to achieve the feat, Concord Country Club legend and nine-time champ Bob Mielcarz, did so in 1995-96. Mielcarz is the only Granite Stater to repeat as N.H. Amateur champ twice.

Gillis, seeking his first state crown, got the early jump on Pleat with a birdie on North Conway’s par-4 second hole, one Pleat would match on the sixth. Gillis regained the lead twice on the opening 18 but never led by more than one hole.

That proved to be decisive when Pleat went birdie-birdie-birdie on 16, 17 and 18 to grab a 2-up lead heading into the midmatch break. Pleat shot a 7-under 64 to get the day started.

“I felt pretty comfortable, but a 2-up lead is basically like not having a lead at all, especially with a player like Brandon,” Pleat said in an NHGA news release. “We were trading a lot of birdies early on in the round on the first 18, and he was up for most of it. And the turnaround on 16, 17 and 18 was huge.”

The ex-Big Green golfer scored wins on five of the afternoon’s first 12, leaving Gillis to face a 6-down deficit with six holes to play. Gillis stayed alive with a win on 13, but Pleat closed out the match by halving 14.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Pleat said in the release. “I never thought this would happen. I feel like its hard to do now because we have a lot of really good players in this state.”

The list of repeat N.H. Am champions includes Pleat’s grandfather, Thomas Leonard Jr., who won six straight titles from 1947-52 and eight crowns altogether.

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