By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Austin Fox of Legends Golf of Hooksett fired a five-under par 67 Monday to take the opening day lead 113th New Hampshire Golf Association Amateur Championship being held at Laconia Country Club.
Going into today's second round, Fox holds a two-stroke lead over Matthew Paradis of Concord Country Club and Matthew Burroughs of Manchester, the 2006 state champion, both of whom posted scores of 69.
Tied for fourth with 70 rounds are Chris Houston, 22, of Laconia Country Club, Jim Cilley of Ridgewood Golf Club in Moultonborough, who was the 2011 champion; Ryan Tombs of Manchester Country Club and John DeVito of Passaconaway Country , Country Club in Litchfield.
James McKee of Windham is in eight place with a 71, tied with Jabe Felch of The Oaks Golf Links.
Former champions Danny Arvanitis, 2001; of Derryfield; Craig Steckowych of Portsmouth Country Club, 1990 and 1998 champion; and Phil Pleat of Nashua Country Club, 1981, 1985, and 1997 champion, are tied for 19th with scores of 74.
Laconia Country Club, established in 1922, has hosted the State Amateur six times prior to this year. The course is a great layout for match play, especially the last four holes which could decide a lot of matches, according to Laconia Head Golf Professional, Todd Rollins. There is no doubt that Tom DiFonzo, Laconia Country Club Superintendent, and his staff have the entire course and greens in great shape, giving good putters the opportunity to rise to the top.
The New Hampshire Amateur Championship is a six-day event, beginning with 36-hole of stroke play qualifying on Monday and Tuesday to determine the 64 players who will be advancing to the match play rounds beginning on Wednesday. One round of matches will be played Wednesday, two rounds of matches will be played both Thursday and Friday, and the championship concludes with a 36-hole final match on Saturday.
This is the first time the State Am has been held at Laconia since 2004, when Rochester Country Club's Derek MacAllister defeated Steve Lane to win the championship. The State Am has been played at Laconia five other times: 1981 (Phil Pleat), 1965 (Steve Robbins), 1958 (Stan Hickin), 1954 (Arthur F. Butler) and 1930 (Harold A. Nute).