John Devito (facing) and Jake Hollander (NHGA/Twitter photo)
It was a long week of golf for John DeVito and Jake Hollander, but one player needed to come out with the victory in the 36-hole final match of the 116th New Hampshire Amateur Championship presented by Audi Nashua. It took DeVito 30 holes to close out the match with Hollander, 7 and 6, and capture his first New Hampshire Amateur title.
DeVito got off to a quick start in the match winning the first hole with a par. From there, he got into a comfortable position, 4 up through five holes. It seemed as though he might run away with the match, but Hollander gained one back on the sixth hole as DeVito three-putted his way to a bogey. Once he got himself to 4 up following the 223-yard par-3 eighth hole at Portsmouth CC, he never let it slip below that lead.
While DeVito did get the match to 5 up through 14 holes, Hollander rolled in a birdie putt on 17 after sticking it close to the hole, bring the match to DeVito at 4 up. From there, DeVito never let it get away from him and really stuck to his consistent golf that he has had with him all week.
Thinking back to that 4-up lead, DeVito comments saying, “Honestly, I tried not to think about it too much. I couldn’t really let him creep back in. I tried to tell myself we were all square the entire match.
“When I was 6 up at the end, I was still telling myself we were all square to mentally prepare myself.”
Following a birdie on the par-5 11th hole, the second time around the golf course, DeVito moved to 6 up in the match with only seven holes remaining. He ended up making par on the 30th hole of the match, Portsmouth’s 12th hole, while Hollander made a three-putt bogey and a lost the match.
Heading to that final nine-hole stretch in the match, DeVito said, “At that point I was starting to hit it really good so I just wanted to keep swinging the way I had been and hopefully make a few putts.”
It was clear that exhaustion had really set in for both players in the final match; both had walked most of the rounds leading up to the last day, so it was truly a grind for each of them. Between the two, there were a total of four birdies made in the 30 holes they played in the final match. For the most part, holes were won with par, or even bogey in the case of the long par-3 8th hole.
Despite some of the trouble in the final match, DeVito mentions what worked for him in the five days leading to the final match saying, “Throughout the week it was definitely my putter. The first day, I didn’t miss too many putts. The second round and third round and throughout match play, I was pretty much solid from 10 feet in.”
DeVito adds the New Hampshire Amateur title among his collection of the NHGA Mid-Amateur Match Play titles he earned in 2017 and 2018, but this win certainly feels special to him. DeVito mentioned he has played in this tournament for about 10 years and this was finally his year to shine. When asked how it feels to win, he responded, “Unbelievable. It’s just a grind, such a long week.”
There can be no better feeling that capping off a long week of golf with a victory. DeVito played a total 151 holes of golf at Portsmouth Country Club over the six-day tournament, while Hollander played 154 holes.
ABOUT THE New Hampshire Amateur
Competition will be held at ten pre-qualifying
sites and will be 18 holes at Stroke Play.
low qualifiers and ties from all the sites
with the players exempt from
be eligible for the 36-hole qualifying on
first two days of the tournament proper.
Sixty-four players will begin match play the
following day. Entries are open to males
are members in good standing of member
Clubs who are legal residents of New
Hampshire. An eligible non-resident can
NHGA Championships if he has been a
in good standing of an NHGA member club
the last three complete golf seasons and
played a minimum of 25 rounds of golf at
club in each of the three seasons. A letter
signed by the President of the member
must accompany his first entry, stating
the player complies with NHGA eligibility
View Complete Tournament Information