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Joe Duball's NH Golf: No second helping for State Am champ

July 14. 2018 8:56PM
The third time was the charm for Matt Paradis of Hooksett, who won his first New Hampshire Amateur Championship this week at Hanover Country Club. (Allegra Boverman/Union Leader)

Wins on a golf course aren't foreign to 2018 New Hampshire Golf Association Amateur Champion Matt Paradis, but he's had a knack for playing second fiddle during his New Hampshire amateur golf career. The most notable runner-up moments came in the 2016 and 2017 State Ams.

Paradis showed glimpses of dominance in both of those big-stage moments before ultimately caving and falling short of the prize. Exorcising his demons with a 6-and-5 win over Pat Pelletier in Friday's State Am final at Hanover Country Club showed Paradis was finally ready and had the desire.

"I've had too many snide comments at me over the last couple years about second-place finishes," Paradis joked. "Especially from coming from my teammates, but my parents as well. It was everybody really."

The second-place jokes are classic jabs, but they were becoming too real for the 22-year-old. NHGA president Glenn Walton presented Paradis with his State Am championship trophy on Friday noting Paradis was a former NHGA Junior champion, to which Paradis had to reply, "Nope. I came in second that time, too."

Obviously experience was among one of many factors in Paradis' run over the last week, but his composure and demeanor were different in this third tour. When he reached last year's State Am final, he didn't have the mentality to match. The blend of aggressiveness and comfort that came with his staggering success in Friday's first 18 holes, which featured bogey-free golf and a 4-under-par showing on the front nine, proved Paradis meant business.

"It's really just the luck of the draw," Paradis said. "The last couple years I happened to not play my best in the finals. A few unlucky breaks, some mistakes and just not really thinking. I made sure I was ready to go today and to not do anything dumb that would get me in trouble.

"I only had one bad hole out of the 30 we played. Just one in all of that. I'll take that."

It was interesting to watch the week evolve for Paradis as well. He was on his game during stroke play the first two days, earning a top-three seed for match play the rest of the week. Top seeding almost didn't matter as Intervale CC's Tim Baines nearly caught Paradis sleeping in the opening round before an 18th-hole birdie sent the match to extra holes and really ignited his run. Some wins were easier than others the rest of the way through his match-play bracket, but Paradis found his way to Friday's final nonetheless and knew what lay ahead of him once he got to the course on Friday.

"I was just thinking about playing another round of golf," Paradis said. "I'm a big tournament golfer, but kind of expecting to win in a tournament with 120 guys is tough. Coming out here knowing I have to beat one person and knowing what he's doing all day, I felt pretty confident in myself to do the job."

As far as any difference in his Paradis' play this year compared with the last two, there's really nothing that can't be considered improved. The only thing that stuck out in Paradis' mind was his ability to get off the tee, which he didn't have in key spots in either of the his two previous State Am title match appearances.

"My driver was beautiful this week with just one shot all week out of play that I couldn't fire at the green," Paradis said. "Everything felt good there otherwise. Normally my ball flight is a draw from right to left, but today I was hitting it left to right and keeping it in play, which is all you need to do around here."

On top of the positive feel to his overall game, Paradis undoubtedly drew confidence from a strong junior campaign with the Southern New Hampshire University men's golf team during the 2017-2018 season. Paradis was a Northeast-10 All-Conference First Team selection for the second consecutive year following eight top-10 finishes, including four medalist honors, across 10 tournaments. He dropped his average score down nearly an entire stroke compared to his first two years at SNHU as well.

College golf was not always a given for Paradis, who took 1½ years off between high school and college. Paradis said he was prepared for a firefighting career, which would've made him a fourth-generation fireman in his family.

A trip to Florida after graduation is still in the back of Paradis' mind, but he's still got three semesters to go at SNHU before that move really takes shape. For now, Paradis will focus on the road in front of him this week, which includes U.S. Amateur Championship qualifying in Williamstown, Mass., on Monday before a quick turnaround for the New England Amateur Championship Tuesday through Thursday.

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The New Hampshire Women's Golf Association was well represented on the final leaderboards following Wednesday's final round at the New England Women's Golf Association Amateur Championship at the The Woodlands Club in Falmouth, Maine.

Nashua CC's Chelsea Sedlar led New Hampshire's group of competitors with her fifth-place finish at 22-over, which left her 20 strokes back of the medalist. The two-time defending NHWGA champion opened the three-day event with an opening-round 76 before fading with rounds of 80 and 82 to close the tournament.

Portsmouth CC's Shivani Vora finished fifth among junior scorers as the 14-year-old carded a 43-over across three days. Hanover CC's Betsy Knights finished 11th among seniors at 44-over.

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The NHWGA Division A tournament was held at Loudon Country Club in Loudon on Tuesday while the B Division tournament was held at Mount Washington Resort Golf Club in Bretton Woods.

Dana Harrity was the Division A gross winner in a field of 98 women, carding a 6-over-par while Cookie Gray's 3-under round topped the net scoring. In Division B action, Leslie Brock was the gross winner among 83 women at 26-over and Ulrika Hedkvist was the net winner at 4-under.


Division A tournament

At Laconia CC

Division A gross scores: 1. Dana Harrity, 6-over; 2. Joan Cyr, 8-over; t-3. Deb Clauson, 9-over; t-3. Louise Billy, 9-over; t-5. Beth Gutteridge, 12-over; t-5. Beth Hamilton, 12-over; t-7. June Ferland, 13-over; t-7. Andrea Morrell, 13-over; t-9. Diane Doran, 14-over; t-9. Diane Rankins, 14-over; t-11. Barbara Dion, 17-over; t-11. Rowena Wilks, 17-over.

Division A net scores: 1. Cookie Gray, 3-under; 2. Susan Belanger, 2-under; t-3. Dorene Bergeron, 1-under; t-3. Nancy Lamb, 1-under; t-5. Diann Balser, even; t-5. Diane Cote-Burk, even; t-5. Karen Massahos, even; t-8.: Betsy Webster, 1-over; t-8. Pam Saurman, 1-over; t-8. Carol Downey, 1-over; t-8. Peg Tosi, 1-over; t-8. Elise Thornton, 1-over; t-13.: Thayer Plante, 2-over; t-13. Gay Folland, 2-over; t-13. Ellen Musinsky, 2-over.

Division B tournament

At Mount Washington CC

Division B gross scores: 1. Leslie Brock, 26-over; 2. Jan Davio, 27-over; t-3. Lynne Walker, 29-over; t-3. Gina Marsh, 29-over; 5. Karen Brickner, 31-over; t-6. Susan Lougee; t-6. Jean Macleod, 32-over; t-6. Carol Ewing, 32-over; t-6. Patty Whitney, 32-over; t-6. Shirley Whitehouse, 32-over.

Division B net scores: 1. Ulrika Hedkvist, 4-under; 2. Janet Bickford, 2-under; 3. Cathy Jacques, 1-under; t-4. Rosemarie Glidden, 1-over; t-4. Deborah Denocourt, 1-over; 6. Karen Ralston, 2-over; t-7. Sharon Fuller, 5-over; t-7. Pam Lapointe, 5-over.

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After having its status questioned in recent years, the Red Ryan CYO Golf Tournament will run without doubt for the foreseeable future. The NHGA announced on July 3 that it will taken over operations of the Red Ryan tournament and have added it to its Junior Tour slate.

"It is the hope of the New Hampshire Golf Association Junior Tour to continue the tradition of the Red Ryan Tournament, and continue to test the junior golfers of New Hampshire," said the NHGA in a press release. "The NHGA Junior Tour is excited to add have the event take a permanent place on its schedule this year and in the future."

The 61st edition of the Red Ryan tournament will be held July 24-26 at Derryfield Country Club.

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The NHWGA Senior, Legend & Classic Championships will be held July 19 at Laconia Country Club. The field is limited to 128 players with the lowest handicap indexes in each division for the 18-hole stroke play tournament. Coming back to defend their 2017 titles are Dana Harrity in the Senior division (age 50-59), Dale Nims in the Legends division (age 60-69) and Jean Johnston in the Classic division (age 70 and above).

NH Golf appears in the New Hampshire Sunday News during the summer. To reach Joe Duball, e-mail

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