Pinehurst Tournaments Archive

Sean Walsh wins the 115th North & South Amateur

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Sean Walsh stands with the coveted Putter Boy trophy after winning the 115th North & South Amateur Championship on Pinehurst No. 2. (Photo by Sarah Campbell)

Walsh defeats medalist and top seed George Cunningham 3 & 1 on Pinehurst No. 2

Match Play Bracket

By Alex Podlogar

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. – If you only followed the top half of the North & South field last year, you likely missed Sean Walsh. And he wouldn’t blame you.

“Oh, we made a trip last year,” Walsh said of his first appearance in the North & South. “We didn’t really play golf. I don’t know what that was called.”

A pair of 76s meant Walsh’s trip from the Pacific Northwest was a short one; the Gonzaga golfer didn’t even make the 36-hole cut.

But, even in his first, albeit brief, visit to Pinehurst, Walsh learned something – something very valuable when it comes to golf at Pinehurst.

“It was a lot thinking you could hit a shot like…Say, you have a back-left pin,” Walsh explained. “I learned my lesson very quickly as far as when I came back: if you have a back-left pin, you don’t hit it at the back-left pin.

Walsh took that advice to heart throughout the week on Donald Ross’ legendary Pinehurst No. 2, playing a masterful round of golf to beat George Cunningham 3 & 1 to win the 115th North & South Amateur Championship on Friday afternoon. … Continue Reading

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Top-seeded Cunningham fights his way to North & South semifinal

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George Cunningham looks over a putt on Pinehurst No. 2 during the quarterfinals of the 115th North & South Amateur. (Photo by Sarah Campbell)

No. 2 seed Clark Engle cruises while third-seeded Ben Griffin suffers tough loss

Match Play Bracket

By Alex Podlogar

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. – Nobody had a tougher day over two matches than George Cunningham.

Unless you count Henry Do.

Cunningham, the top seed after stroke play in the 115th North & South Amateur, needed all 18 holes in both of his matches on Pinehurst No. 2 on Thursday, edging both 16th seed Andrew Novak and upstart Chun an Yu 1-up to advance to Friday’s semifinals.

“I definitely had to work for it,” said Cunningham, the only player Thursday to play the 18th twice.

While his match with Novak was up and down, Cunningham never trailed, but never wrestled away control until a birdie on the 17th hole. A matching par on 18 was enough to close out Novak, who had survived a four-hole, six-man playoff late Wednesday to earn the final match play seed in the championship.

The afternoon round against Yu was a different story. Cunningham trailed three times, only to come back with birdies on 7, 9 and 11 to square the match. Finally, with a birdie on 14, Cunningham took the lead on the reigning Western Junior champion, but still had to answer the 16-year-old bomber, making a 7-footer for birdie to halve the 16th before holing a slick downhill 4-footer on 17 for par to stay 1-up. … Continue Reading

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Novak survives wild playoff to make North & South Amateur match play

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Andrew Novak putts during the third round of the 115th North & South Amateur on Pinehurst No. 2. Novak survived a wild playoff to advance as the final seed into the tournament’s match play. (Photo by Sarah Campbell)

Arizona’s George Cunningham takes top seed after winning medalist honors on Pinehurst No. 2

SCORES

MATCH PLAY BRACKET

By Alex Podlogar

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. – Andrew Novak didn’t mind knowing he had to make the putt for birdie on 18 to stay out of a playoff. Of course, he didn’t really have a choice, either.

“Oh, I was informed,” he said sardonically. “My lovely mother had told me.”

As if the day wasn’t rough enough, Novak, who had begun the final stroke play round of the 115th North & South Amateur on Pinehurst No. 2 alone in third place, had tumbled all the way down the leaderboard into a tie with five others for 16th.

The math of the moment, though, was simple. Make the birdie from about 12 feet in the shadow of Payne Stewart’s statue and advance to match play as the final seed. Miss, and that meant signing for an 8-over 78 and God knows what.

Novak missed.

“I knew if I made it, I was probably safe,” said Novak, who plays at Wofford. “And if I missed, that I’d probably be in a playoff. Of course, I didn’t know it was going to be that kind of playoff.” … Continue Reading

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Cunningham leads; Engle’s 65 rockets him into contention at 115th North & South Am

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George Cunningham tees off on the first hole of Pinehurst No. 2 to start his second round in the 115th North & South Amateur on Tuesday. Cunningham shot 69 on Tuesday and leads the tournament by four shots over Clark Engle. (Photo by Sarah Campbell.)

Arizona’s George Cunningham leads by four, is lone player under par

SCORES

GROUPINGS

PHOTOS FROM ROUND 2

By Alex Podlogar

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. – Clark Engle’s day did not start well.

He came into Tuesday’s second round of the 115th North & South Amateur tied for 53rd after struggling to an 8-over 78 on a difficult Pinehurst No. 2 on Monday. With the field of 96 players teeing off on both the first and 10th tees, Engle was regulated as one of the also-ran’s on the 10th tee.

Then his round started, and…

It got much worse.

Clark Engle fired a tournament-low 65 on Pinehurst No. 2 on Tuesday to move from 53rd to second in the 115th North & South Amateur.

Engle bogeyed the par-5 10th hole – the 10th was the only hole on Monday that averaged a score under par – and then followed that with a bogey on 11. Already at 10 over through just 20 holes, Engle tumbled to near the bottom of the field. Guaranteed a third round of stroke play on No. 2 before having the field cut to the top 16 players, the Ohio State junior began to wonder what exactly he was playing for.

In 16 holes, he had his answer.

Clark Engle, it turns out, is playing to win. … Continue Reading

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Grimmer returns to Pinehurst, plays well to begin North & South Amateur

Will Grimmer, left, competes in the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

UPDATE: ROUND 2 RECAP: Cunningham leads while Engle’s masterful 65 rockets him into contention

Tennessee’s Chad Merzbacher leads after lone under-par round

ROUND 1 SCORES

ROUND 2 GROUPINGS

By Alex Podlogar

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. – After just a couple of holes, Will Grimmer noticed something.

The hole locations looked familiar.

A year after playing in the 2014 U.S. Open on Pinehurst No. 2 and two years after shooting his way into Pinehurst lore with the only known 59 carded in competitive play, Grimmer returned to No. 2 for his first appearance in the North & South Men’s Amateur on Monday. He shot a 2-over 72, good for a tie for sixth and just three shots back of leader Chad Merzbacher after the first round of the 115th playing of the national event.

“That was fun. The only time I’ve ever played No. 2 was last year during the U.S. Open, and it was kind of weird to see it, well, normal,” said Grimmer, who shot his 59 during the second round of the 2013 North & South Junior on Pinehurst No. 1.

“The only time I’ve ever played No. 2 was last year during the U.S. Open, and it was kind of weird to see it, well, normal.” -Will Grimmer

“But I could still reminisce and remember how it felt last year. I stood on the 17th tee today and looked at that back left pin, and I was able to have flashbacks. As much as I was focused on today’s round, I had to kind of take a step back and smile and think about what happened last year, which was also a lot of fun.”

With his father Kevin on the bag, Grimmer opened the championship with a three-putt bogey on the first hole. But Grimmer, who will play at Ohio State as a freshman next season, settled down to hit the green in regulation on the first eight holes. He chipped in on the 8th and 15th holes, finishing with three birdies offset by five bogeys.

The familiar hole locations, nearly identical to those of the first round of the 2014 U.S. Open, were beneficial.

“Having the same hole locations really helped me,” Grimmer said. “I was like, ‘OK, don’t press, play for the middle of these greens and it’s going to work out.’”

Chad Merzbacher, the first-round leader of the 115th North & South Amateur.

It certainly worked out for Merzbacher. The University of Tennessee rising senior also chipped in twice and had just three bogeys against four birdies despite only hitting six greens in regulation. With No. 2 playing at 7,198 yards with greens speeds running close to 12 on the stimpmeter, the Minneapolis native’s 1-under 69 was the only score under par.

“I didn’t hit the ball particularly well, but I just kind of stayed with it,” said Merzbacher, who recorded seven top-15 finishes in 12 college tournaments this season. “I stayed in control and kind of sat in the passenger seat and just let it go.” … Continue Reading

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