State Am Notebook: Martel's clutch chip shot led to victory
STRATHAM - Mike Martel may have provided the most memorable shot of this year's New Hampshire State Amateur Golf Championship when his chip from next to a tree trunk led to a match-clinching par on the par-3 17th hole in Saturday's afternoon match.
Martel had a 1-up lead with two holes to play as his stood on the Golf Club of New England's 17th tee, but his tee shot drifted long and left, and rested underneath some tree branches. It looked like his opponent, Chris Rivard of Candia Woods, would have an excellent opportunity to even the match heading to the final hole of the 36-hole match.
Martel's second shot ended up eight feet from the hole, however, and he made the putt to seal a 2-and-1 victory.
"That was one of the better shots I've hit in my life," said Martel, a member at Crotched Mountain Golf Club. "The grass was going straight into me. I didn't know if it would go more than five feet, but I had a decent swing on it. It was a little bit short, but I had a back swing.
"I knew if I hit the green I'd have a putt for three. I knew he had a tough chip as well. At worst maybe we both make 4 and it's on to 18 with a 1-up lead. If I left it short anything can happen in that rough."
Rivard hit second on 17, but his tee shot was far from perfect. The ball landed in back of the green, and he had a downhill chip to the hole. His second shot rolled 10 feet past the hole, and he missed his par putt.
"Probably had about a half a club too much (on 17)," Rivard said. "And then I really had to be perfect with the chip shot and I just caught it a little skinny. He hit a good shot. It came out nice and soft and rolled out there."
Martel said as soon as he hit his chip shot to within eight feet, he knew there was a chance the match would end on that hole.
"When I hit that shot to a few feet I said, 'If he doesn't stick this shot I'm going to have an eight-footer to win it. And I did," Martel said. "That was clutch. I did it when I needed to."