N.H. Amateur Notebook: NHGA Completes First Hall of Fame Class

  • Jake Hollander flips his ball up off the 12th green during New Hampshire Amateur match play against Phin Choukas, of Hanover, in Hanover, N.H., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Pat Pelletier hits up to the 11th green during the first round of match play in the 115th New Hampshire Golf Association Amateur tournament at the Hanover Country Club in Hanover, N.H., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Sports Editor
Thursday, July 12, 2018

Hanover — The New Hampshire Golf Association is getting into the hall of fame business.

Following the lead of groups such as the New Hampshire Legends of Hockey, the NHGA kicked off state amateur championship week at Hanover Country Club on Sunday by naming the first five amateur and contributing members to its hall. Inductees from the professional ranks will be announced at the New Hampshire Open later this month.

David Larrivee, chairman of the committee that determined the first five choices, said the notion of a state golf hall of fame had been rattling around the NHGA for a while before finally taking form.

“This first class, we came up with names from all different sections of the golf world: superintendents, PGA professionals, the amateur ranks,” Larrivee, of Manchester Country Club, said after his N.H. Amateur match on Tuesday. “We had the NHGA go back through the record books and come up with a list of names. The (N.H.) Women’s Golf Association came up with a bunch of women’s names. We put that all in a pot and came up with some criteria based on wins: amateur wins, regional wins, professional wins, and we came up with a grading schedule. …

“The committee then voted on those candidates. We really tried to get a person in each of our categories that we established: professional, amateur, superintendent, contributor. We tried, for this first class … to catch all of the categories.”

The first five selectees include:

Nine-time N.H. Amateur champion Bob Mielcarz, the winningest player in the tournament’s history.

Jesse Guilford, a member of three of the first four U.S. Walker Cup teams and a three-time state amateur champ in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Dana Harrity, 16-time winner of the New Hampshire Women’s Golf Association amateur crown and the most decorated female golfer in the state.

Robert “Doc” Elliott, the NHGA’s secretary and treasurer from 1963-1998 who helped create or improve several state championship tournaments.

Bill Barrett, co-founder of the New Hampshire Golf Course Superintendents Association.

Now that the first class is being revealed, the NHGA is ready to make the hall of fame an annual pursuit. Public input will be welcome with future classes, something that wasn’t necessary for this inaugural group.

“We had so many people that were so well-deserving,” Larrivee said. “This first go-around was pretty easy and, quite frankly, the next class is going to be pretty easy. But then it will start to be a little more work.”

Like the Legends, the NHGA hall of fame will exist only in the virtual world for now. Any plans for developing a building to house plaques of current and future honorees won’t happen for some time, Larrivee said.

This week’s honorees and those coming from the state open will be recognized at an Oct. 18 banquet at Manchester Country Club. The public is invited, although the NHGA has yet to announce ticketing or cost details.

Sole Survivor: The Upper Valley has a single representative remaining in the New Hampshire Amateur, and this morning he’ll seek to go deeper into the tournament than he ever has.

Carter Golf Club’s Pat Pelletier shook off a scary start to his Wednesday by rallying past The Shattuck’s Jake Hollander, 2 up, in a round-of-32 match at Hanover Country Club. The top-seeded Pelletier was staring at a 3-down deficit after just five holes before mounting his comeback, putting his 33rd-seeded foe away with birdies on the last six holes of the match.

The former Lebanon High and University of Rhode Island golfer then booked a date in today’s quarterfinals by defeating Stonebridge’s Ryan Kohler, 3 and 2, in the afternoon round of 16. Pelletier took the lead by winning Hanover’s par-4 second hole and never trailed, clinching the victory over the 17th seed with dual pars on the par-4 16th.

“I’m not going to lie: I’d say anyone who would say they’re not nervous or scared isn’t telling the truth,” Pelletier said in a phone interview on Wednesday evening. “Everyone’s a good player. There’s no reason why I can’t come back.”

Pelletier, who has never advanced past the state am quarterfinals, will meet Windham’s Connor Greenleaf, the 2015 state am champion, today at 8 a.m. The winner faces either Souhegan Woods’ Brandon Gillis or Manchester’s Ryan Brown in an afternoon semifinal.

Pelletier made three quarterfinals in four years between 2006-09. He was also the stroke-play medalist at Eastman in 2010 but lost in the round of 16.

“I’m start teeing off first as the (No.) 1 seed, so I want to put the pressure on,” Pelletier said. “In my afternoon match with Kohler, I made three birdies in six holes to get up. If I have a lead, that forces pressure on my opponent. If I’m playing well, I shouldn’t be making any bogeys.”

The area’s other three golfers were eliminated in the morning round of 32. Carter’s Andy Hunnewell, match play’s 21st seed, lost to Derryfield’s Daniel Arvanitis, the No. 12 seed, 3 and 2, and former Dartmouth golfers James Pleat and Drew Jankowski also dropped round-of-32 contests.

No. 6 Pleat, of Nashua Country Club, came up on the short side of a 2-and-1 defeat to Kingswood Country Club’s Sam Barton, the 38th seed and a recent Kingswood Regional High School graduate who was also last fall’s NHIAA Division II individual champion. The fifth-seeded Brown eliminated Baker Hill’s Jankowski, the 28th seed, 3 and 2.

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