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August 12. 2013 9:13PM

Houston, Barrett tops among Granite Staters at U.S. Amateur


Chelso Barrett during the NHGA Stroke Play Championship, held at Green Meadow Golf Club, in Hudson, (Thomas Roy/Union Leader File)

Chris Houston of Gilford led New Hampshire’s field of five golfers in the U.S. Amateur Championships on Monday in Massachusetts.

Houston birdied three of his final six holes for a 1-over par score of 71 in his first round at the Charles River Country Club in Newton.

Houston, who heads into his sophomore year on the Penn State University golf team in the fall, shot a 37 on the front and 34 on the back nine.

“It was a tough day,” Houston said. “The course firmed up and the rough was long. It was a deep challenge, that’s for sure. I was a little disappointed that I let a few shots get away, but overall I was pretty proud of the way I finished.”

Chelso Barrett of Surry was right behind Houston with a 72, also at Charles River.

Barrett figures if he can equal that result today, or shoot just a bit better, he has a decent shot to make it to match play in the 113th edition of the event.

The top 64 players in the field of 312 golfers advance to match play after two rounds of medal play.

“I think if I shoot 1 or 2 over (today), I should be OK,” said Barrett, who plays out of his family’s Bretwood Golf Club in Keene. “I was feeling good and hitting the ball pretty good today.”

Houston is six shots behind leader Nick Hardy, who put up a 5-under par round of 33-32—65 and leads Richy Werenski of South Hadley, Mass., by a stroke.

He noted that a lot of the better scores on Monday came from Charles River and the golfers who played The Country Club in the first round may score better in the second.

“It’s hard to predict,” Houston said.

Barrett won the New Hampshire Golf Association Stroke Play tournament that finished up on Aug. 1 at Sky Meadow in Hudson and leaves for Texas Christian University and his freshman season of Division I golf as soon as he finishes up in the Amateur.

He had two birdies, on holes No. 12 and 13, and four bogeys and shot 36 on each side.

“I didn’t really get anything going,” Barrett said. “I had a stretch of a couple of birdies and a couple of par saves. I had some putts above the hole that I had to be cautious with and couldn’t be too aggressive.”

The amateurs are playing one round at the Charles River Country Club in Newton and one at The Country Club in Brookline. The field will be cut to 64 after today’s second 18-hole round.

Six rounds of match play, which will all be at The Country Club, begin on Wednesday morning. The 36-hole championship match begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

Hanover’s Peter Williamson was the only New Hampshire player to tee off in the morning on Monday and turned in a round of 38-36—74. He had one birdie in his round and five bogeys, including on holes No. 17 and 18, at Charles River.

Evan Russell of Grantham shot 37-39—76 and Will McLaughlin of Bedford carded a 41-42—83.

Barrett tees off at 7:45 this morning at The Country Club. McLaughlin starts at 8 a.m. at Charles River, Russell at 8:10 a.m. at Charles River, Houston at 8:40 a.m. at The Country Club and Williamson at 12:25 p.m. at The Country Club.


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