golf

Eric Lajeunesse, left, congratulates Garren Poirier during the 2018 Vermont Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship at the Sugarbush Golf Club in Warren.

The Vermont Amateur begins Tuesday at Rutland Country Club with a field of 99 hopefuls chasing the men’s state golf championship.

The entire field will go off the first tee with tee times from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The 72-hole tournament is conducted over three days, with single rounds played Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by the cut to the low 40 scorers and ties. A double round will be held on Thursday.

Here are some groups to watch on Tuesday (the sponsoring Vermont Golf Association invites the public to follow play at no charge).

At 8:20 a.m. a “champions threesome” takes the first tee, including two-time defending Am champion Drake Hull of RCC, former runner-up and clubmate Garren Poirier (the reigning Mid-Am champion) and Orleans’ Gary Shover (the reigning Senior Am champion). Shover was third last year, eight shots off Hull’s 3-under pace.

The 9 a.m. threesome includes Troy Goliber, Jay Zanleoni and Jackson Applebaum. Goliber tied for eighth last year and Zanleoni tied for 13th.

At 11 a.m., RCC’s Logan Broyles tees off with Aaron Wood and Pat Pelletier. Broyles is headed for the UConn golf program this fall but first would like to improve on last year’s T15. Pelletier is a New Hampshire Am champion and a former pro at Lake Morey.

At 11:50, Rutland’s Jared Nelson tees it up with Eric Lajeunesse and Jake Orr. Nelson was fourth last year. He joins UConn golf this fall after a big year at Siena. Lajeunesse is a strong player from the Country Club of Barre who plays well at Rutland and Orr comes off a 2018 Am in which he posted three solid rounds.

The Country Club of Barre’s Bryson Richards is joining the University of Rhode Island golf program this fall and will tee off at 12:40 p.m. with Brian Cain and Tyler Parker. Richards had a T11 last year while Cain, a savvy, longtime Am contestant, was seventh.

Some holes to watch

The greens and their speed are the course’s main defense so keeping the ball below the hole is job No. 1. While some holes are definite birdie chances, there are some where you take par, smile and move on.

Par-3 5th (223 yards from the tips). With a 200-plus-yard carry to a severely sloping green, par picks up a half-shot on the field and bogey is not that bad.

6-10. Rutland’s so-called “birdie alley” is a place to rack up some 3s if you’re going to put up a good number, with short irons and wedges in. The 10th (314 yards) is drivable and was once aced by former member John Esterbrook.

Par-3 15 (129 yards). Just a fun hole. A parachute-drop downhill, and players will pick a spot on the green to let the ball trundle down to right-side pins. There were three holes-in-one there in one day at the 1989 New England Am.

Par-4 16th (365 yards). This uphill hole has a blind second shot with precision imperative. The sloping green’s false front sends weak efforts tumbling back into the fairway.

Par-4 18th (423 yards). A good finishing hole with a green that tips dramatically back to the fairway.

bob.fredette @rutlandherald.com

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