BRATTLEBORO- The Vermont Amateur Championship was held at the Brattleboro Country Club with the final two rounds being played all day Thursday.
While the pros usually only play 18 holes in one day, these golfers played 36 beginning around 8 a.m. and concluding just before 6 p.m. The long day didn’t faze the amateur from Rutland Country Club Jared Nelson though.
“We do it quite a bit throughout the college season so that’s not necessarily quite the issue for me. It’s long days, there’s no doubt about it you’re going to be tired, but right now, personally, the adrenaline will carry you through no problem,” said Nelson.
Through three rounds, three golfers had pulled away from the pack of 44 who made the cut on Wednesday. Those were Nelson, the tournaments defending champion Bryson Richards from the Country Club of Barre, and Ryan Kohler, playing on his home course. Each enjoyed a dominant week.
Kohler was 10 under par through his first three rounds, but on his home course, that didn’t surprise him.
“You know everybody has seen the course and played practice rounds on it. But I mean I’ve got hundreds of rounds out here. It can’t hurt, at the end of the day you still have to play good,” said Kohler. “But I’m comfortable out here having played so many rounds.”
The tournament was closely contested as all three above names held the lead at one point in the final round.
Nelson was able to pull ahead with a birdie on hole 14. Kohler bogeyed hole 11 and couldn’t muster a birdie for the rest of his round. Richards stayed close throughout but a bogey on hole 17 put him two back of the lead that he was not able to overcome.
Moments later, on the same hole Nelson had a beautiful approach shot followed by a tap in birdie to take a three stroke lead into the final hole.
“Honestly [on] 17 I knew as long as I didn’t do anything crazy that was basically the golf tournament,” said Nelson. “18 was a bonus, it went in. i mean, i was just trying to lag it up there.”
Nelson birdied the final two holes and nine total leading to a final round 65. It was a perfect example of getting hot at the right time.
Another note from the tournament was the 15-year-old golfer Lucas Politano, who not only made the cut, but was paired with Richards in the final round. It was a pairing that Politano said he was able to take advantage of.
The high schooler shot nine over for the tournament, but gained experience in doing so.
“It was fun. I mean, it was my first amateur, I qualified this year for the first time so that was nice for sure. Yeah, I’m just taking it all in,” said Politano I really wanted to play better to be honest. The back nine was kind of rough, I had a few double [bogeys], I was rough off the tee so that didn’t help at all. But I’m proud of myself, competed…”
Between Nelson (-15), Richards (-11), Kohler (-9) and Politano (+9), who is not even halfway through high school, the state of Vermont has plenty of talent primed to enter the pro-golf community before too long.