Pinehurst Golf News Archive

Engle and Grimmer are Medalists at the 3rd U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship

Clark Engle, left, celebrates with his partner Will Grimmer after Engle sunk a birdie putt on the sixth hole during the second round of stroke play at the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in Village of Pinehurst, N.C. on Sunday May 28, 2017. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

May 27-31, 2017, Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course Nos. 2 and 8)
Village of Pinehurst, N.C. | www.usga.org/fourball | #USFourBall

Scores

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. (May 28, 2017) – Ohio State University teammates Clark Engle and Will Grimmer carded a 6-under-par 64 on Pinehurst Resort & Country’s Club’s Course No. 2 on Sunday to earn medalist honors by one stroke in the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship.

The duo posted a 36-hole stroke-play total of 12-under 129, which included Saturday’s 6-under 65 on Course No. 8. The par-70, 7,161-yard Course No. 2, which has hosted three U.S. Opens, and par-71, 7,073-yard Course No. 8 were both used during stroke play.

Will Grimmer, left and Clark Engle with their medals after the second round of stroke play at the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in Village of Pinehurst, N.C. on Sunday, May 28, 2017. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

Grimmer, a rising junior, and Engle, who just completed his college eligibility, bested 18-hole leaders  Davis Shore and Wilson Furr. Both sides easily qualified for match play, which begins Monday at 9 a.m. on Course No. 2. An 8-for-6 playoff for those tied at 1-under 140 will commence Monday at 7 a.m. to determine the final match-play berths in the 32-side draw.

The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play, with the low 32 sides advancing to match play. The championship is scheduled to conclude with an 18-hole final Wednesday afternoon. It is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

Engle, 22, of Springfield, Ohio, and Grimmer, 20, of Cincinnati, Ohio, birdied five holes on Course No. 2’s outward nine, which last hosted the U.S. Open in 2014 when Grimmer, then 17, was the youngest player in the field. While Engle drained five of the pair’s six birdie putts Sunday, he credited his teammate with setting them up to claim the No. 1 seed.

“Will’s been hitting first off the tee, and usually hitting a really great shot,” said Engle, who graduated earlier this month. “So, there hasn’t been a lot of pressure on me to hit the green. Most of the time, he’s telling me, ‘I’m in close, you can be aggressive now,’ so I just go right for the pin. That helped me play well on the front, and we just went from there.”

The two Buckeyes also achieved their goal of not making a bogey during stroke play. In the 2016 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball at Winged Foot, where they eventually lost in the Round of 16, they made four bogeys in stroke play.

“We actually haven’t made any bogeys the last four days, including practice rounds,” said Grimmer who admitted his six-foot uphill par putt on the 18th green Sunday seemed a little longer on account of that objective. “We really wanted to come out and attack stroke play, and we did that, so now we have to stay focused and try to get through each match, and, hopefully, come out on top this Wednesday.”

“We were at dinner, and someone said, ‘Welcome home,’ which was interesting. And, then we were teeing off today, and I thought, ‘I really do feel at home on this course.’ Today was one of the most fun days of golf I’ve had. Playing great on Course No. 2 with Will, I’ll remember this for the rest of my life.” -Clark Engle

The pair also has a history of playing well individually at Pinehurst. Grimmer shot Pinehurst’s only known 59, in the 2013 North & South Junior Amateur on Course No. 1, and Engle carded a 65 on Pinehurst No. 2 in the 2015 North & South Amateur, where he was a semifinalist.

“For both of us to come in with such great history playing here, we want to win this,” said Grimmer.

Added Engle: “We were at dinner, and someone said, ‘Welcome home,’ which was interesting. And, then we were teeing off today, and I thought, ‘I really do feel at home on this course.’ Today was one of the most fun days of golf I’ve had. Playing great on Course No. 2 with Will, I’ll remember this for the rest of my life.”

Eighteen-year-olds, Furr, of Jackson, Miss., and Shore, of Bloomington, Ill., who led Saturday after firing the championship’s low round, an 8-under par 63 on Course. No. 8, followed with a 67 on Course No. 2 to take the second seed.

“This course [No. 2] definitely played tougher than [No.] 8, at least for us,” said Furr who is playing at Pinehurst for the first time this week. “Out here, you just have to hit fantastic shots to get it anywhere close to the hole. We did really well avoiding mistakes, but just weren’t spot on – still feel good about it though.” 

Furr and Shore, who are set to be roommates this fall at the University of Alabama, carded their first and only bogey of the weekend on the par-4 second hole. On No. 3, Shore, who is the highest ranked player in the field at No. 41 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™, holed a 20-foot birdie putt to pull them even. They added consecutive birdies on Nos. 8 and 9. 

One of three father-son teams in the field, Ben, 23, and Dan Corfee, 52, matched Engle and Grimmer’s 64 on Course No. 2 Sunday, helping the UC-Davis alumni (Ben graduates in two weeks) from El Macero, Calif., advance to match play. Their round, which included seven birdies, six on Ben’s ball, followed a less-than-desirable 1-over-par 72 the previous day on Course. No. 8.

“I made him play with me this year,” said Dan who has played a round of golf with Ben every weekend for the last decade, but only one other four-ball event. After that tournament, Ben told his father he’d never partner with him again. “I said, ‘You have to play with your dad one time [in a competition] before I get too old.’ And he begrudgingly accepted. That’s a true story. He would definitely play with somebody else, happily.”

Shay Bhatia, 15, and Grayson Wotnosky, 16, of Wake Forest, N.C., the second-youngest team in the field, posted 8-under 133 to share the third seed with Floridians Chip Brooke and 2015 U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up Marc Dull. Both sides played Course No. 8 Sunday, with the teenagers counting five birdies against one bogey, while Brooke, 41, of Bartow, and Dull, 31, of Winter Haven, backed up Saturday’s 65 with a 68. 

Both Brooke and Dull are employed by Streamsong Resort, which hosted the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship. Dull, the grandson of two-time U.S. Senior Amateur champion Dexter Daniels, works as a caddie, while Brooke was instrumental in developing the resort’s caddie program. 

The 2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball champions Nathan Smith, 38, of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Todd White, 49, of Spartanburg, S.C., safely advanced to match play by following a first-round 69 on Course No. 2 with a 67 on Course No 8. Members of the victorious 2013 USA Walker Cup Team, Smith and White notched four consecutive birdies to start their round on Sunday.

“To me, you had to get the course before 7 and 8 [holes],” said Smith on the team’s early attack. “It just seemed to get really, crazy tough, especially with the wind.”

Stewart Hagestad, the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion and low amateur in this year’s Masters, missed the cut by one stroke with University of Southern California teammate Sam Smith. Other notables to miss the cut include 2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball runners-up Sherrill Britt and Greg Earnhardt, and 2013 U.S. Senior Amateur champion Doug Hanzel and Bob Royak.

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Furr-Shore Lead after First Round of 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship

Scores

Round 2 Tee Times

May 27-31, 2017, Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course Nos. 2 and 8)
Village of Pinehurst, N.C. | www.usga.org/fourball | #USFourBall

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. (May 27, 2017) – Wilson Furr and Davis Shore, playing on Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 8, fired an 8-under-par 63 Saturday to grab a one-stroke lead after the first day of stroke play in the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. The 7,073-yard Course No. 8 and par-70, 7,161-yard Course No. 2, which has hosted three U.S. Open Championships, are both being used during the stroke-play portion of the championship.

Course No. 8 had the three lowest scores, all of which were bogey-free rounds. Furr and Shore were followed by Kenny Cook and Sean Rowen (64), and Clark Engle and Will Grimmer (65). Course No. 8 also saw a hole-in-one, the fifth in championship history, courtesy of Taylor Fontaine, 27, of Shrewsbury, Mass., who acedthe 147-yard par 3 fifth hole with a pitching wedge.

Eighteen-year-olds Furr, of Jackson, Miss., and Shore, of Knoxville, Tenn., birdied every other hole on the inward nine, and clinched the outright lead when Shore holed a 10-foot putt on the 18th hole. Set to room together at the University of Alabama this fall, the former Wyndham Cup and USA Junior Ryder Cup teammates are hoping to ride their early momentum through the remainder of the championship.

“Honestly, you can never let up on a course like No. 2,” said Shore, who is exempt from U.S. Open local qualifying and will play in the Memphis, Tenn., sectional on June 5, of the challenge they’ll face in Sunday’s second round of stroke play. “You have to think your way around that course, and we’re still going to have to play well. We have a few holes where one of us lays up and one hits driver. We’ll just try to play the odds.”

The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play, with the low 32 sides advancing to match play, exclusively on Course No. 2 beginning on Monday. The championship is scheduled to conclude with an 18-hole final on Wednesday afternoon. It is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association), 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

Cook, 37, of Noblesville, Ind., and Rowen, 43, of Greenwood, Ind., posted seven birdies, including five on the inward nine. The two, who are playing at Pinehurst for the first time and in their first four-ball competition together, represented Indiana in the past two USGA Men’s State Team Championships, in 2014 at French Lick (Ind.) Resort and last fall at the Country Club of Birmingham in Alabama.

“This has been fun,” said Rowen who was the medalist in U.S. Open local qualifying at South Bend (Ind.) Country Club on May 15. “The place is gorgeous and the golf courses are extremely hard.”

Rowen got a break on the 10th hole after hooking into the pine straw. That set-up a low-hooking 6-iron shot around a tree to get his ball within a foot for a tap-in birdie. Cook, the 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up who is playing in his 13th USGA championship, hit a solid shot from the fairway on No. 12 to set up an easy birdie putt, and then birdied 14. Rowen followed suit on Nos. 5 and 16 with solid iron shots that set up birdies.

Engle and Grimmer, teammates at Ohio State University, made it to the Round of 16 in the 2016 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

“We both like Seinfeld, and we go to Bible studies together, go to movies together,” said Grimmer, 20, of Cincinnati, Ohio. “Our team, in general, is incredibly close, and so I reached out to Clark last year about doing this together. We’ve also both had success down here at Pinehurst.”

Grimmer played Course No. 2 during the 2014 U.S. Open where he was the youngest player in the field, and he shot Pinehurst’s only known 11-under par 59, in the 2013 North & South Junior Amateur on Course No. 1. Engle, 22, of Springfield, Ohio, carded a 65 on Pinehurst No. 2 in the 2015 North & South Amateur, where he was a semifinalist.

“I feel like me and Will play really well together,” said Engle who graduated this month. “Our games suit each other, with him hitting like every fairway, and I can be more aggressive and go after some holes.”

Scott Harvey, the 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, and his partner, Todd Mitchell, the 2008 U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up, was one of several sides to card 67s at Course No. 8.

The top teams at Course No. 2, Chip Brooke and Marc Dull, and Clark Collier and Kyle Hudelson, each carded 5-under 65s. Playing in the same group, Collier and Hudelson watched in awe as Brooke and Dull birdied the first five holes.

“We said this must be an easy course, we better start making birdies,” said Collier, 27, of Dallas, Texas. “Playing with those guys [Brooke and Dull, the 2015 U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up], it really sparked us. We both birdied the first, so we thought, ‘That’s great, we’re off to a good start.’ Then they just kept making them. And, really, it made us forget that we were playing a hard course.”

After receiving a call from the USGA that they would be replacing defending champions Benjamin Baxter and Andrew Buchanan, who withdrew earlier this month, Collier and Hudelson had roughly one week to prepare and make travel plans. They canceled their preexisting plans for Memorial Day weekend, but lucky for them, Hudelson, 29, of Oklahoma City, Okla., had plenty of time to recover from being struck by a vehicle while riding his bike a few weeks after their four-ball qualifier last October.

“It’s still sore, but I’m good and can swing free,” said Hudelson whose clavicle was broken in three places as a result of the accident. Doctors added a plate and roughly eight pins to his shoulder.

The second youngest team in the field, Shay Bhatia, 15, and Grayson Wotnosky, 16, finished with a 66 on No. 2. The Wake Forest, N.C., residents are excited to be playing in their first USGA championship so close to their hometown.
“It’s pretty cool to be at home, and especially to experience it with my best friend at my side,” said Bhatia who advanced out of local qualifying for the U.S. Open on May 17 and will play his sectional qualifier in Ball Ground, Ga., on June 5. “This four-ball championship is going to be something really special to remember.”

Inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball champions Nathan Smith, 38, of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Todd White, 49, of Spartanburg, S.C., shot a 1-under 70 on Course No. 2, counting four birdies to three bogeys.
“We’ll take it,” said Smith who is a four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion and played with White on the victorious 2013 USA Walker Cup Team. “I thought it was very difficult, the pins were tough, No. 2 is a monster.”

 

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U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Round 2 Tee Times

Live Scoring

1-No. 2 7:00 am Tyler Cooke / Bobby Leopold Drew Mayhew / Peter Sauerbrei
1-No. 8 7:00 am Sean Seese / Benjamin Smith Wilson Belk / Greg Carlin
1-No. 2 7:12 am Fred Biondi / Daisuke Nakano Dylan Menante / Ryan Smith
1-No. 8 7:12 am Joseph Benedetti / Scott Gibson Glenn Albright / Charlie McDaniel
1-No. 2 7:24 am Daniel Wetterich / Matthew Wetterich Kenneth Bakst / Jonathan Doppelt
1-No. 8 7:24 am Brandon Cigna / Ben Warnquist Justin Arcano / Justin Ngan
1-No. 2 7:36 am Tim Hogarth / Corby Segal Clark Engle / Will Grimmer
1-No. 8 7:36 am Benjamin McCaslin / Tyler Spinella Richard Taylor / Cam Warren
1-No. 2 7:48 am Matthew Anderson / Scott Kennedy Cres Dodd / Kyle Hosick
1-No. 8 7:48 am Akshay Bhatia / Grayson Wotnosky Adam Horton / Jeffrey Long
1-No. 2 8:00 am Jordan Wright / Jesse Yap Jordan Andrus / Chad Johnson
1-No. 8 8:00 am Billy Van Stratum / Michael Walker Dan Murphy / Tim Murphy
1-No. 2 8:12 am Stewart Hagestad / Sam Smith Jake Kuwitzky / Scott Roden
1-No. 8 8:12 am Michael Lewis-Goldman / Thomas McCarthy David West / Chris Yard
1-No. 2 8:24 am Michael Bork / Tony Casciano Brian Hatter / Thomas Kulcak
1-No. 8 8:24 am Tyler Johnson / Van Pierce Justin Kaplan / Scott Loving
1-No. 2 8:36 am Patrick Flavin / Brian Ohr Nicholas Huggins / Nickolas Schiavi
1-No. 8 8:36 am Matthew Hopper / Richard Oref Daniel Creel / Matthew Gourgeot
1-No. 2 8:48 am Jesse Bratz / Nicolas Noya Tyler Crawford / Bryson Groat
1-No. 8 8:48 am Ben Campbell / Chip Spratlin Stephen Buroker / Cole Grandfield
1-No. 2 9:00 am Derek Busby / Bryan Vahlberg Andrew Lane / Griffin McQuilling
1-No. 8 9:00 am Robert Castor / Jason Gerken Zach Smith / Noah Woolsey
1-No. 2 9:12 am Adam Araneo / Justin Kadin Taylor Fontaine / Kevin Josephson
1-No. 8 9:12 am Matt Clarke / Tony Hejna Daniel Keddie / Will Snipes
1-No. 2 9:24 am Trueman Park / Jack Snyder Wilson Furr / Davis Shore
1-No. 8 9:24 am Andrew Medley / Ken Tanigawa Thomas Hunter / Charles Ipock
1-No. 2 9:36 am Daniel O’Rourke / Paul Pastore Trevor Hyde / Edward Sanchez
1-No. 8 9:36 am Sherrill Britt / Greg Earnhardt Mike Chu / Joseph Neal
1-No. 2 9:48 am Taylor Sundbom / Glenn Walls Jim Gifford / Chad Stoffer
1-No. 8 9:48 am Jason Higton / Ryan Higton Stephen Marland / Michael Sullivan
1-No. 2 10:00 am Micah Dean / Alex Rodger James Pleat / Philip Pleat
1-No. 8 10:00 am Michael Castleforte / Charles Waddell Connor Flach / William Wears
1-No. 2 10:24 am Jason Bataille / Brian Whitman James Gardas / Eric Williams
1-No. 8 10:24 am Gant Bills / Michael Ray Shane Humphries / David Sinclair
1-No. 2 10:36 am Christopher Baloga / Jeffrey Castle Dan Horner / Darrin Overson
1-No. 8 10:36 am Ryan Kelly / Ryan Welborn Jon Brown / Jon Olson
1-No. 2 10:48 am Jimmy Delp / Benjamin Keefer Tyler Carson / Austin Hannah
1-No. 8 10:48 am Michael Fastert / Glenn Przybylski Daniel Belden / Don Padgett III
1-No. 2 11:00 am Doug Hanzel / Bob Royak Scott Harvey / Todd Mitchell
1-No. 8 11:00 am Jordan Nasser / Taylor Wood Walker Lee / Andrew Minton
1-No. 2 11:12 am Kenny Cook / Sean Rowen Jacob Byers / Tristan Rohrbaugh
1-No. 8 11:12 am Nathan Smith / Todd White Blake Hilliard / Craig Toler
1-No. 2 11:24 am Chris Black / Brett Damrow Cameron Hooper / David Noll Jr
1-No. 8 11:24 am Sean Semenetz / Jack Wallace Russell Humphrey / James Watt
1-No. 2 11:36 am Edwin Brown / Jay Whitby Don Enga / Jay Sessa
1-No. 8 11:36 am Michael Chambers / Jody Roudebush Mario Carmona / Mitchell Meissner
1-No. 2 11:48 am Mike Riley / Michael Riley Jr. Josh Goldstein / Sean O’Donnell
1-No. 8 11:48 am Gaston De La Torre / Andrew Leneve Will Snodgrass / Jeffrey Wells
1-No. 2 12:00 pm Matt Naumec / Billy Walthouse David Kocher / William Rainey
1-No. 8 12:00 pm Joshua Irving / Will Osborne Anthony Baker / Bryan Colquitt
1-No. 2 12:12 pm Jimmy Ellis / Chuck Nettles Frankie Capan / Shuai Ming Wong
1-No. 8 12:12 pm Alex Kephart / Kurtis Lucas Brendan Borst / Thomas McDonagh
1-No. 2 12:24 pm Sachin Kumar / Fletcher Wunderlich Alex Shattuck / Thomas Simmonds
1-No. 8 12:24 pm Brent Booth / Dan Valine Eric Dietrich / Jimmy Hervol
1-No. 2 12:36 pm Connor Campbell / Blake Meek Mike Mueller / Jack Schultz
1-No. 8 12:36 pm Doug Albers / Ryne Fisher Ben Garrett / Erik Hanson
1-No. 2 12:48 pm Patrick Christovich / Garrett Rank John Slayton / Cy Young
1-No. 8 12:48 pm Jimmy Chestnut / Casey Lubahn Jeff Fujimoto / Patrick Moore
1-No. 2 1:00 pm Ben Corfee / Dan Corfee Brandon Mader / Michael Souliotis
1-No. 8 1:00 pm Clark Collier / Kyle Hudelson Chip Brooke / Marc Dull
1-No. 2 1:12 pm Patrick Duffy / Ryan Nietfeldt Herbie Aikens / Matt Parziale
1-No. 8 1:12 pm Luke Bakke / Jay Reynolds Jason Buffone / Andy Roderique
1-No. 2 1:24 pm Spencer Dunaway / Peter Kuest Matt Savage / Tim Skufca
1-No. 8 1:24 pm Nathan Celusta / Ruston Imming Will Kahlstorf / Kyle Stiles

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Grimmer hopes to make history again at Pinehurst

Eleven months after recording the only known 59 in Pinehurst history, Will Grimmer returned to Pinehurst as the youngest player in the 2014 U.S. Open. He’s back with teammate Clark Engle for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball.

Four years ago, Will Grimmer fired the only known 59 in Pinehurst history. He returns to Pinehurst and the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball seeking another claim to fame

By ALEX PODLOGAR

Following his round on a typically warm and humid mid-summer Wednesday, a 16-year-old Ohio kid as skinny as the shaft on his 5 iron slipped into the famed clubhouse at Pinehurst Resort. Little did he know it then, but Will Grimmer had just walked into history at Pinehurst.

Moments before, he had signed his scorecard for the second round of the North & South Junior Amateur championship. Still flush from having made an 18-foot birdie putt on the last hole of Pinehurst No. 1, Grimmer had written golf’s magic number – 59.

“The game’s greatest players have won at Pinehurst, and it would be an honor to be able to follow in some of those footsteps.” -Will Grimmer

For a few minutes on July 10, 2013, there were only whispers and rumor of Grimmer’s score. Pretty astute about golf history himself, Grimmer almost seemed embarrassed when fellow competitors and friends came up to him and asked how his round went. He understood news of his score would send murmurs through the clubhouse.

Grimmer was wrong, though. Just hours later, he became the biggest story of the week in golf.

“It changed my life,” Grimmer says now, nearly four years later. “First it started trickling out on social media, and then it just exploded. Later that night in my hotel room, I was watching myself being interviewed on The Golf Channel’s Golf Central.”

Grimmer’s 59, it turns out, is the only known recorded 59 in competition in Pinehurst’s long and storied history. No one has done since – at least not before the playing of the 3rd U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship on Pinehurst No. 2 and No. 8. Grimmer returns to the Four-Ball playing with Ohio State teammate Clark Engle, and the pair got off to a fast start, winning medalist honors after two bogey-free rounds to earn the top seed for match play at 12-under 129.

On July 10, 2013, a then 16-year-old Will Grimmer shot the only known 59 in Pinehurst history at the North & South Junior.

“I definitely got a lot more exposure in junior golf after the 59,” Grimmer says. “I’d say some colleges and others around junior golf knew who I was, but the 59 definitely helped me stand out more as a capable golfer on the junior and collegiate golf scene.”

Grimmer’s play has continued to turn heads since that fateful day. Less than a year later, at just 17 years old, Grimmer was the youngest player in the 2014 U.S. Open, which too was played at Pinehurst. His image pointing to the 59 on the North & South manual scoreboard was broadcast on ESPN following footage of Grimmer’s birdie on the 17th hole during the second round.

Standing mere feet away from the likes of Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler on the putting green during Monday’s practice round, as hundreds of spectators looked on, Grimmer seemed as awestruck then as he was just 11 months before.

“I can’t believe this is happening,” Grimmer said that day as he rose from his putting stance and looked around. “It’s a little different than the North & South Junior.”

Grimmer, though, has since become accustomed to large-scale events. He’s emerged as Ohio State’s top player as just a sophomore, and the Four-Ball will be his 10th USGA championship. Grimmer has also played in the last two North & South Amateurs at Pinehurst, one of the nation’s elite amateur championships.

“The game’s greatest players have won at Pinehurst, and it would be an honor to be able to follow in some of those footsteps,” Grimmer says.

Grimmer, though, has footsteps of his own at Pinehurst.

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Padgett’s family legacy at Pinehurst continues in Four-Ball

In 1997, Don Padgett III, left, is presented with the Putter Boy trophy by his grandfather Don Padgett, then the director of golf at Pinehurst Resort. Padgett III won medalist honors in the 1997 North & South Amateur on No. 2 and returns for the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball.

Padgett III returns to his “second home” for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Live Scoring

By ALEX PODLOGAR

Don Padgett Sr., the director of golf at Pinehurst from 1987-2002, one day took his grandson to Pinehurst’s famed  practice tee, dubbed Maniac Hill, and told him to imagine every great golfer the game has known—from Hagen to Hogan, from Palmer to Nicklaus to Stewart to Woods —  and know they all hit balls onto that vast expanse.

“If you can’t get excited over that, maybe you should take up tennis,” Padgett later said.

Donald Padgett III got the message.

“Every time I think about Pinehurst, I think about my grandfather.” -Don Padgett III

An accomplished golfer who over the last two decades has competed among the highest levels of the amateur game, Padgett III returns to Pinehurst to play in his fourth USGA event – the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball. Padgett III and his partner Dan Belden shot a 2-over 72 on Pinehurst No. 2 in the first round on Saturday.

Few competitors in the field will have as much experience on Pinehurst No. 2 and No. 8 as Padgett III, who has visited Pinehurst countless times in the years since Padgett Sr. was the director of golf and Padgett III’s father, Don Padgett II, served as president of the resort from 2004-14.

“It’s always a privilege to qualify for a USGA event, and to have it at Pinehurst, which I consider as a second home since I was 12 years old, makes it that much extra special,” Padgett III says.

The Padgett family legacy at Pinehurst is a strong one. Don Padgett (left) was the director of golf from 1987-2002 and his son, Don Padgett II (right) served as Pinehurst President from 2004-14.

Padgett III has forged his own path professionally in golf as well, serving as the executive director of the World Golf Championship’s Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club.  But his amateur credentials are equally impressive, particularly at Pinehurst. Padgett III, 42, played in the North & South Junior from ages 12-18, and then competed in the prestigious North & South Amateur – the longest consecutively running amateur championship in the United States – from ages 19-33. In 1997, he survived a dramatic eight-hole playoff to win medalist honors at the North & South, which has been played at Pinehurst every year since 1901.

It was a proud moment for the family, and still remains one of Padgett III’s greatest memories in golf.

“It was special to get the Putter Boy trophy, and I have it in a place I can look at it every day,” Padgett III says. “But even more special is that my grandfather gave it to me that day. And I have that picture of him presenting the Putter Boy to me and shaking my hand.”

Padgett III and Belden fired a 66 over two days in a rain-delayed qualifier to earn entry into the Four-Ball. After an uninspired front nine was interrupted by a lengthy rain delay, the pair went for broke and it paid off. As darkness delayed play again – this time overnight – the duo had made five more birdies and needed a par at the last to punch its ticket.

They got it.

And now, Padgett III will return to his second home to compete again, only this time it’s not a Nassau with his dad or memories of practices balls on the range with his grandfather.

“Every time I think about Pinehurst, I think about my grandfather,” Padgett III says.  “Whenever I’m there, I go to the Learning Center, named for him, and I read his plaque and I go into the main clubhouse and look through his case again. Not only did he do such great work at Pinehurst to bring the resort back to national prominence, he was also just a great guy. I will always miss him, but I’m pretty sure he’ll be looking down and smiling as I tee off.”

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