PINEHURST, N.C. – The goal is obvious.
No player entered into the 112th North and South Amateur Championship is coming to Pinehurst without dreams of adding his name to the distinguished list of champions. The longest consecutive running amateur championship in the United States, the North and South’s prestige has long been well documented, its past champions among the most recognizable and celebrated names in the history of golf.
Before one of them etches his name in history on July 7, here’s a chance to get to know a few of the top players entered into the field.
16, Smithtown, NY
The Player: The No. 1 collegiate prospect for the Class of 2013…Committed to play at Stanford…Four-time U.S. Kids champion (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006)…Broke Tiger Woods’ record when he became the youngest winner, at 14, of the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2010…Ranked 8th among top U.S. amateurs….Shot 59 at 9 years old at Plantation Junior Golf Tour event…Ranked No. 5 in Golfweek/Titleist Junior Rankings…Has four runner-up finishes in 2012.
What he’s saying: “Pinehurst has a storied and rich history. It’s courses have hosted numerous major amateur and professional championships. When you realize all of great moments in golf that have occurred at Pinehurst, it makes playing such courses something special. Also, with great practice facilities and eight great courses, Pinehurst is a golfer’s dream.
“The championship will play long and tough, especially in the heat. I think that you will need to pace yourself well and limit as many mistakes as you can to get into match play, because match play can be anyone’s game.
“ It will be interesting to see how the new (old) layout will play. The character of the course is completely different, and it will be a challenging test because it is new to everyone.”
22, Boonville, IN, College: Indiana
The Player: Runner-up at 2011 North and South Amateur, falling 5 and 4 to Jack Fields…Graduated from Indiana in 2012…Will be making his third appearance at the North and South…Qualified for the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black…Grouped with stars Lee Westwood and Zach Johnson… Finished his stellar Hoosier career with IU’s sixth lowest career scoring average (73.61)…Named Academic All-Big Ten in 2011…Named All-American Scholar in 2011…Named Big Ten Golfer of the Week (March 21, 2012).
20, Evansville, IN, College: Indiana
The Player: Reached second round of match play in first appearance at North and South in 2011…Rising senior at Indiana…Shot 7-under 63 to qualify for the Nationwide Tour’s United Leasing Championship, which is played a week before the North and South, beginning on June 28…Shot course record 62 during high school conference championship tournament…Finished 4th at 2012 Big Ten Golf Championship…Named to 2012 Big Ten All-Conference First team…Father Rick will caddie.
TAE WAN LEE
17, Orlando, FL
The Player: Born in Seoul, Korea…Member of the 2009, 2010 Korea National Team…Ranked 27th on the Golfweek/Titleist Junior Rankings…Had first hole-in-one at age 9…Four top-6 finishes in 2012…Runner-up at Western Junior and Terra Cotta Invitational…Father Yeong Cheol Lee will caddie.
17, Houston, TX
The Player: Committed to Southern Methodist…Tied for second at PGA Junior Championship last August…Ranked 34th on the Golfweek/Titleist Junior Rankings…Runner up at AJGA HP Boys Championship…Has had 12 hole-in-ones, including six in 2008…Made match play round at 2011 U.S. Amateur…Scored ace at 2009 U.S. Junior Amateur…Won U.S. Open local qualifier in 2011.
21, Hanover, NH College: Dartmouth
The Player: Ranked 29th in Golfweek’s Individual Collegiate rankings…Finished 5th in 2012 NCAA Central Regional…Three-time Ivy League champion, including 2012…Runner-up at 2012 Philadelphia Big 5 Invitational…4-time All-Ivy League…4-time Ping All-Northeast…2012 Byron Nelson Award Finalist…Winner of Dartmouth’s Kenneth Archibald Award for best all-around athlete with regards to Academic standing and moral worth…Named Ivy League Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in 2009.
What he’s saying: “Winning at Pinehurst with such a rich history and competitive field would validate my continued growth as a golfer.”
19, Coral Springs, FL, College: LSU
The Player: Sister is LPGA Tour star Alexis Thompson…Has forged his own path in golf… One of the nation’s premier prep prospects for the Class of 2011 … Emerged as one of the most highly-recruited prospects nationally after winning medalist honors in the stroke play competition at the 2010 United States Junior Amateur Championship held at Egypt Valley Country Club in Grand Rapids, Mich. … Fired rounds of 4-under 68 and 6-under 66 for a 36-hole score of 10-under par 134 to earn the No. 1 overall seed in the match play competition at the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur … Won medalist honors by one stroke over the defending U.S. Junior Champion Jordan Speith of Dallas, Texas … Went on to qualify for the Round of 32 in match play … Also qualified for the match play competition at the 2009 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship held at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. … Signed with LSU as a Top 25 recruit in the country for the Class of 2011 by both the National Junior Golf Scoreboard (16) and Golfweek Junior Rankings (24) … Was also the No. 51-ranked recruit nationally for the 2011 signing class in the Polo Junior Golf Rankings … Also ranked among the Top 100 junior golfers in the country regardless of class in the National Junior Golf Scoreboard (24), Golfweek Junior Rankings (42) and Polo Junior Golf Rankings (89) … Was the No. 3-ranked recruit in the state of Florida for the Class of .
20, Brewster, NY, College: Penn State
The Player: Reached second round of North and South match play in 2011…Named 2011 Metropolitan Golf Association Player of the Year…2010 U.S. Amateur participant, advancing to the first round of match play…Recently finished T4 at Lytham Trophy Amateur and Irish Amateur…Ranked 17 in AmateurGolf.com’s U.S. amateurs.