Surry's Chelso Barrett on Tuesday ended up conquering the toughest course he's ever played to qualify for match play in the 113th U.S. Amateur Championship in Brookline, Mass.
Barrett, of Bretwood Golf Course in Keene, completed the two-day stroke play format with a 2-over-par 72-70-142 score. His even-par 70 Tuesday featured birdies on the par-5, 605-yard 12th hole and par-4, 496-yard 15th hole.
He will play Jim Liu, of Smithtown, N.Y., today. They're teeing off at 8:50 a.m.
"The Country Club (golf course) is the toughest I've ever played on," Barrett declared on Tuesday. (He scored a two-over 72 Monday on the Charles River CC.) "I mean The Country Club is really long. There are a couple of 500-plus yards par-4 holes. Luckily, I managed to stay on the fairway because my ball striking was that good."
Barrett, who finished tied for 27th overall, was the only New Hampshire player to advance to today's match play field of 64. Missing the cut by one stroke was former Dartmouth College standout Peter Williamson, of Hanover (74-71-145).
Barrett, who will be playing for Texas Christian University this fall, said winning the recent New Hampshire Golf Association Stroke Play tournament at Sky Meadow in Hudson gave him momentum entering the U.S. Amateur.
"From that tournament to this one, I'm playing solid and keeping the big number off my card," he said. "On Monday I played mediocre and grinded it out. Today (Tuesday) I played stronger and drove the ball well. I was really steady the whole day."
Barrett said playing match play is more relaxing than playing in stroke tournaments, but he said comparing the NHGA State Am to the U.S. Am is not even close.
"The competition and the intensity level is 100 times higher here (in Brookline)," said Barrett, who trailed fellow Granite Stater Chris Houston of Gilford by one stroke entering Tuesday's round.
Unfortunately for Houston, the wheels fell off his game as he shot a 12-over 82 round Tuesday on The Country Club course and tumbled from 37th place tie with 20 other golfers into a nine-way tie for 235th place.
Houston double bogeyed four holes and bogeyed five holes to fall out of contention for a match play berth.
Williamson carved out a one-over 71 Tuesday following his four-over 74 round on Monday. His two birdies on holes 6 and 7 Tuesday couldn't offset three bogeys that eventually cost him a match play berth by one stroke.
Williamson, who qualified for his fourth U.S. Amateur Championship, won the North-South Amateur in North Carolina and the Southern Amateur Championship in Arkansas last summer.
Two other New Hampshire players who missed the cut Tuesday were Evan Russell of Grantham (76-70-146) and Will McLaughlin of Bedford (83-76-159).