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Teenage Phenoms – And Friends – Set The Pace At 110th North And South Women’s Amateur

Teenage Phenoms – And Friends – Set The Pace At 110th North And South Women’s Amateur

Florida’s Jaye Marie Green enjoys best round of the day with 3-under 69

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. – You could hear them laugh on the fairway and see them smile on the greens.

Jaye Marie Green and Moriya Jutanugarn, two teenagers from the junior golf hotbed of Florida, are gunning for the same prize – to win the prestigious 110th North and South Amateur at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club.

You would think that would make them adversaries on the golf course. But if they are, it’s certainly hard to tell.

Partnered in the same group as 2011 North and South runner-up Doris Chen, the duo was right where they expected to be — among the class of the field. The 18-year-old Green led the way with a 3-under 69 on the 6,563-yard Pinehurst No. 8 at the amateur championship’s first round of stroke play on Tuesday, clipping Jutanugarn and fellow Florida teen Kailey Walsh by one shot.

“It’s fun to play golf when you play with someone like Moriya,” said Green, who won the 2011 South Atlantic Amateur – almost a year to the day before 17-year-old Jutanugarn won it. “I see her every tournament, and it’s great because we can, you know, talk. It’s not, ‘So, where are you from?’ We can talk for real.”

They can play, too.

On a day when just seven players managed to break par, Green, who has played in both the U.S. Open and the Kraft Nabisco Championship this year, was solid from start to finish, opening with two birdies in her first six holes. Green stumbled with a bogey on the par-5 sixth, her 15th hole of the day, but closed with a birdie on the 9th for the low round of the day.

Jutanugarn, who made the cut at the 2011 U.S. Open and again qualified for the major championship this year, opened with eight straight pars before a bogey on the par-4 18th, but rallied with three birdies in her first five holes after making the turn. Shaking off a 1-hour, 22-minute weather delay, Jutanugarn finished with four straight pars for a tidy 70.

“From tee to green, I hit the ball well, though I struggled a bit on the greens,” said Jutanugarn, who’s a native of Bangkok, Thailand. “My putter was close, but I just couldn’t get a lot to go in.”

The two will be grouped again with Chen, who shot 2-over 74, on Wednesday morning. They will tee off at 8:06 a.m.

Walsh had four birdies to come in at 2 under as well, working around two bogeys on the front side to move within one of the lead.

“It was tough out there in the heat,” said Walsh, who played her afternoon round as the heat index soared to 104. “You really had to keep your head down and just play. It was hard to keep focused.”

The tournament will feature three rounds of stroke play at the Centennial Course, with the top 60 and ties advancing to Thursday’s third round. The top 16 will then advance to match play, which will be played on Friday and Saturday on famed Pinehurst No. 2.

Haley Stephens, of Greer, S.C., and a rising senior at Texas, led a group of four players at 1 under after a solid morning round. Stephens said she believes her maturity enabled her to record one of the few under par rounds.

“The greens are good-sized,” Stephens said. “If you hit them in the center, you’re only going to have a 20-to-25-footer. And if you get the speed down, you’re fine. And then a couple of those will drop and if not, you have tap-in pars, so you’re fine. I think a lot of people, especially young players, they tend to get greedy, and they go for it. And if you’re off four or five paces from the edge, you’re chipping from the rough. I think that’s just the maturity of me as a golfer.”

Stephens got off to a hot start, making birdie on three of the first five holes. She bookended her back nine with bogeys on 10 and 18 to finish at 71, but was pleased to stay within her strategy of conservative play.

“The pin locations were set up to play smart, and I think that’s where I excel,” she said. “I’m not scared to go for the center of the green, get two putts and get out of there. And I was fortunate enough for a couple of them to go in.

 “You definitely have to take your medicine and not go after every pin. That’s definitely going to be my strategy for the whole week.”

England’s Holly Clyburn, one of the top players in the field and a key member of the Curtis Cup-winning team in June, made a triple-bogey 8 on the par-5 second hole, but came back with six birdies to salvage a round of even-par 72 with three others. Despite the ups and downs, she was pleased.

“I’d take three rounds of even par and go to No. 2,” Clyburn said. “I think that’s straight up there and not far away (of qualifying for match play.)”

That said, count Clyburn as one of those not surprised by Green’s round.

“Out there is under par,” Clyburn said. “I had an 8 and shot level par. I had six birdies, so it’s not like you cannot shot under par. You can. Hit fairways and greens; that’s all you have to do. And hole a couple of putts. But I’d take three rounds of level and go to match play and start fresh.”

Ellen Port, at 50 years old the eldest player in the field, shot 2-over 74.

Two years after the Men’s North and South Amateur Championship began in 1900, the women’s championship was born and now celebrates its 110th year.  It has become one of the most sought after women’s amateur titles and routinely displays the talents of players who are seen competing on the LPGA.

Its champions are among the legends of the game: Babe Zaharias, Louise Suggs, Peggy Kirk, Hollis Stacey, Donna Andrews, Brandie Burton, Brittany Lang, Morgan Pressel and Yani Tseng.

“Pinehurst has been a bastion of amateur golf for over a century,” said Pinehurst President Don Padgett. “It is amateur golf at its best.”

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Name Pinehurst Resort’s new putting course — and win!

Pinehurst Resort’s new putting course is currently under construction and set to open in September. But it needs a name. And that’s where you come in.

While the restoration of famed Pinehurst No. 2 continues to grab the headlines as the clock counts down to the historic back-to-back U.S. Opens in 2014, everyone who has played at Pinehurst knows the legendary locale’s true identity stems from Donald Ross’ iconic turtleback greens.

At times those greens can be harrowing, but Pinehurst Resort has forged a new way to make them fun. Near the first tee to Pinehurst No. 4, a new putting course is currently under construction. Due to open in September, the extreme putting course will feature nine holes of mind-bending journeys designed to entertain everyone in the family, from the golfing beginner to the scratch player and everyone in between.

While the course will have hills, swales, bumps and valleys, what it doesn’t have yet is a name.

And that’s where you come in.

Pinehurst Resort is taking suggestions for the name of its newest feature. The best names will be selected and added to a poll that will appear on Facebook. If your suggestion wins, you will receive a $100 gift card from Pinehurst Resort.

Get those nominations in now by emailing them to alex.podlogar@pinehurst.com. The deadline is July 23.

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The 112th North & South Amateur Championship — In Video

Congrats again to Peter Williamson for winning the 112th North and South Championship, etching his name among the greats to have ever played the game of golf and won the prestigious amateur tournament.

Pinehurst Resort was your home for the best coverage of the event, and also included several player interviews following each day of play. What follows is your one-stop shop for all of the videos covering the 112th North and South Amateur, including the trophy ceremony.

Interview with Champion Peter Williamson

David Erdy, Following Friday’s match play quarterfinal

Peter Williamson, after winning medalist honors at Pinehurst No. 8

Peter Williamson, following the second round of stroke play

Michael Cromie, following the second round of stroke play

Thomas Bradshaw, following the first round of stroke play

Josh Eure, following he first round of stroke play

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The 110th North & South Women’s Amateur — Meet the Elite

The 110th North and South Women’s Amateur field is a stunning one. Alongside the men’s Amateur, the North and South Women’s Championship, played at Pinehurst, is one of the nation’s longest consecutive running amateur championships.

It began as a means to afford golfers a competitive arena and to generate publicity for a five-year old resort named Pinehurst.  Its name was crested to foster good relations between geographic regions that only a generation earlier had battled in the Civil War.

The mission over the years has been simple, according to Richard Tufts of Pinehurst’s founding family: “To provide an annual gathering of these who love the game, rather than a spectacle.”

Two years after the Men’s Championship began in 1900, the Women’s Championship was born and now celebrates its 110th year.  It has become one of the most sought after women’s amateur titles and routinely displays the talents of players who are seen competing on the LPGA.

“Pinehurst has been a bastion of amateur golf for over a century,” says Pinehurst President Don Padgett. “It is amateur golf at its best.”

Pinehurst is proud to continue this time-honored tradition.

And its champions are among the legends of the game: Babe Zaharias, Louise Suggs, Peggy Kirk, Donna Andrews, Brandie Burton, Brittany Lang, Morgan Pressel and Yani Tseng.

And now, as the 110th North and South Women’s Amateur soon begins, meet some of the elite players in the field:

MORIYA JUTANUGARN

North Hollywood, Calif., 17,

Rankings – Amateur Golf: 1; R&A: 8, Women’s Amateur Golf Rankings: 10

Notes: Moriya is one of two Jutanugarns with high profiles in amateur golf along with younger sister Ariya, who has consistently ranked higher than her elder sibling. Moriya took steps to close the gap in early 2012 on the Florida Orange Blossom Tour. She bettered her younger sister to win the South Atlantic Amateur Championship (The Sally), with Ariya finishing three shots adrift in second place. Moriya also finished third in the Harder Hall the week before her victory, and second in the Dixie Amateur Championship the week before. In 2011, the amateur from Bangkok was runner-up in the US Women’s Amateur Championship. Moriya’s Sally win earned her a spot in the 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship …Appeared in 2012 U.S. Open…Made cut at 2011 U.S. Open…Appeared in 2011 LPGA State Farm Classic.

JAYE GREEN

Boca Raton, Fla., 18

Rankings – AmGolf: 2, R&A: 12, WAGR: 12

Notes: Appeared in 2012 U.S. Open… Green played on the 2011 US Junior Solheim Cup team that retained the trophy at Knightsbrook Golf Resort in Ireland. She was the leading US scorer, totaling 2 1/2 points. A native of Boca Raton, Florida, Green won the 2011 South Atlantic Amateur Championship (The Sally), was runner up at the 2011 LPGA Futures Tour Daytona Invitational, and won both the 2010 Polo Golf Junior Classic and the 2011 Ping Junior Invitational. In March 2012 she played in her first major championship when she was invited to play in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

AUSTIN ERNST

Seneca, S.C., 20, LSU

Rankings:Am Golf: 12, R&A 16, GolfWeek College: 20

Notes: 2011 NCAA Division I Women’s Championship Medalist…Appeared in 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship, the only college player in the field…Made the cut at the Nabisco, finishing 49th…2011 NGCA, Golfweek First-Team All-American…2011 NGCA All-Scholar Athlete Team…2011 SEC Second Team…2011 SEC Freshman Team…2011 Freshman SEC Academic Honor Roll…2011 LSWA  All-Louisiana First Team.

DORIS CHEN

Bradenton, Fla., 19, Southern California

Rankings: Am Gof: 7, GW College 12

Notes: Appeared in 2012 U.S. Open…2011 North & South Runner-up…Appeared in 2011 U.S Open…Won U.S. Junior Girls Championship in 2010…2010 Rolex Junior All-American First team…Played on winning U.S. team in Junior Ryder Cup in 2010.

BREANNA ELLIOTT

Melbourne, Australia, 20

Rankings: R&A6, WAGR: 11

Notes: 2012 New South Wales Stoke Play 2012 West Australian Amateur 2012 West Australian Stroke Play 2012 South Australian Stroke Play 2012 Australian Amateur – R/up 2011 Lake Macquarie Amateur Winner 2011 St Rule Trophy R/up (UK) 2010 Queensland stroke Play Winner.

Players in the North and South Women’s Amateur field who have appeared in the U.S. Open: 8 (Moroya Jutanugarn, Jaye Green, Emma Talley, Doris Chen, Ashley Armstrong, Katherine Perry, Gabriela Lopez and Kelly Shon.)

 

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A day in the life with Kelly Mitchum — and the Golf Channel

Pinehurst’s Kelly Mitchum is interviewed by A Golf Channel production crew for a segment in “The Road to the PGA Championship,” which will air at 2 p.m. on July 29 on CBS. (Click to enlarge.)

Those who have followed the PGA Professional National Championship already know the news. Pinehurst Resort lead golf professional Kelly Mitchum not only qualified for the PGA Championship, he tied for second at the Bayonet Course in Seaside, Calif., at the end of June.

But “The Road to the PGA Championship,” a program produced by the Golf Channel that will air at 2 p.m. on July 29 on CBS, will keep its more uninformed viewers in suspense as it follows the story arc of five competitors at the PGA National Championship.

And Kelly Mitchum is one of those featured competitors.

A three-man crew from the Golf Channel – Co-Producer Eric Morris, Director of Photography Steve Derstine and Sound Mixer Joel Tower — spent the day at Pinehurst Resort on Monday, July 2, gathering footage and conducting interviews for Mitchum’s segment. What follows is a diary of those initial production stages that took place Monday.

June 27-24 What begins as a field of 312 golf professionals hoping to earn a trip to the PGA Championship ends with just 20 players – only 6 percent of the entrants – actually punching their ticket to The Ocean Course at Kiawah, S.C. The PGA Championship will be played from Aug. 9-12.

While Derstine and Morris are working the field at the National Championship for The Golf Channel’s live national broadcast of the event, they know they are also gathering footage for the program they’ll be working on just a week later. They shoot a lot of the players who are on the cut bubble from as early as the second round. Mitchum, who stays near the top of the leaderboard for most of the tournament, doesn’t cross their paths often.

Until Monday.

7:30 a.m. After driving from Jacksonville, Fla., the night before, Derstine and Tower arrive at the Pinehurst Resort Club, where they meet Morris, who flew in the day before from New York. The crew hauls in a large HD camera, two wheeled dollys to move the camera around, a large tripod and other equipment. Tower has a bag that carries the technical sound equipment and a case for the large boom microphone he will set up for interviews.

“Anytime we can drive, that’s a good day for us,” Derstine says. “Flying? With this equipment? No thanks.”

7:55 The crew grabs a golf cart and heads to the Pinehurst Golf Academy, where Mitchum will be helping with the junior golf school. It’s a prime opportunity for the crew to gather footage of Mitchum in his element at Pinehurst.

8:11 Near one of the school’s putting greens, the crew sets up the camera and some light sound equipment adjacent to the practice range. A line of about 5-7 junior campers come out to work on their full swings. Mitchum talks to each of the campers individually, working up and down the line with suggestions and drills. This is just what the crew is looking for, and the three of them know it.

They will stay in this spot for nearly 2 hours.

“It’s perfect,” Morris says. “We couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

But it will get better.

Director of Photography Steve Derstine and Sound Mixer Joel Tower gather footage as Pinehurst’s Kelly Mitchum works with junior golfers at the Pinehurst Golf Academy. (Click to enlarge.)

9:58 a.m. The campers take minimal breaks here and there, but the crew takes a water break with them this time. For 15 minutes, they huddle under the roof of the Golf Academy, shaded from the morning sun. It isn’t hot – yet.

10:14 Morris takes a quick minute to speak with Academy Director Eric Alpenfels, one of Golf Digest’s Top 50 teachers in the country. Morris wants a sit-down interview with Alpenfels talk about Mitchum’s impact on the club, the Academy and the man himself. They arrange to meet at 11:30 right after Alpenfels sends the campers to lunch and before the mower comes out to work on the range.

“I don’t know if it will make it to air,” says Morris, “but you never know.”

10:35 Mitchum and the kids are back out on the range. Again Mitchum goes through each camper, one-by-one. None of them are beginners, but they vary in skill level. Mitchum takes a hands-on approach, holding one camper’s club and moving under and around him to mimic the correct swing path. He makes a complicated move appear effortless, and the results are evident after a few more swings.

“All right! That’s it!” Mitchum hollers.

It’s no surprise that the crew has inched closer, and taking the camera on smaller, shorter mount, they have become more mobile.

“This is great stuff,” Morris says.

As they became aware of Mitchum’s personal approach with each individual camper, the crew moved closer and closer for better angles and sound. (Click to enlarge.)

10:46 The crew moves directly behind 14-year-old Austin Lavitt, of Rye Brook, N.Y., as Mitchum works with him. Not only is the kid working one-on-one with a pro headed to his fourth PGA Championship, now he has a professional camera crew behind him.

“It was interesting,” Lavitt says after a sigh. “I was just trying to stay focused on my swing. That was…interesting.” Lavitt heads to the water cooler.

11:07 After trying a few different angles along the range, the crew moves past the range and to the left of the putting green. Here they will set up Alpenfels’ interview.

Out comes the large tripod again and Derstine and Tower go to work assembling three white square-shaped screens. They are called silks, and they help reduce shadow under natural light. Derstine won’t use any electric light equipment. “We could’ve gone inside the clubhouse,” says Morris, “but it’s so danged pretty out here. We’ll just set up shots outside.”

11:36 Alpenfels is fitted with a wireless lapel mic and sits in a chair opposite Morris, who will not be heard or seen on camera. Outfitted in a Masters hat, bright yellow golf shirt and khaki shorts, it’s a good thing.

11:40 Morris goes over the questions before starting the interview. He tells Alpenfels that where this segment is expected to air in the program, the results of the top 20 will not be known yet. “I’ll prompt you in a way that keeps you from mentioning that Kelly’s already made it,” Morris says.

The magic of television — with Pinehurst Golf Academy Director Eric Alpenfels. (Click to enlarge.)

11:44 In less than 4 minutes, the interview is done. Alpenfels asks whether he needs to go over anything again. “There was a part I stumbled little,” he says.

Not a problem, according to Derstine. Morris agrees. “The magic of television,” he tells Alpenfels. “It’s amazing what can be done these days.”

Noon The Academy pros have already headed for lunch with the campers. After breaking down the interview setup, the crew will join them in the Donald Ross Grille.

1:05 p.m. The crew is setting up again, this time for Mitchum’s interview. They are on the left side of the Academy’s range, angling toward one of the Putter Boy logos on the large white door. Everything is back in place. All they need now is Mitchum.

1:21 He comes out donning a navy blue Pinehurst golf shirt, khaki pants and a Titleist cap. His easy smile and laid back demeanor make for easy banter with the crew. The four of them wait as a practice green is watered in the background of the shot. (“It’ll only be 5 minutes,” Mitchum says. “Got to keep them watered.”) As that task is finished, Mitchum walks to the approaching range cart gathering practice balls, asking that the driver stay on the opposite side of Maniac Hill for the next few minutes. The driver happily obliges.

One might think this is a job for the producer. Mitchum, though, does it without even being asked. Anything he can do to help.

1:32 The outdoor shot is tougher than it looks. Temperatures have spiked to well over 90 since breaking for lunch.  And while the silks provide shade, they also reflect sunlight to eliminate shadow. “Hey, anything you guys can do to make it a little brighter out here,” Mitchum jokes.

The star — comfortable in front of the camera. (Click to enlarge.)

1:35 They start the interview, again with Morris informing Mitchum about the program’s intent on suspense.

Mitchum is a natural.

1:36 “It’s every golfer’s dream to turn professional and reach the PGA Tour,” Mitchum says. “I played on the Nike Tour, the Canadian Tour and went through Tour school a few times. About that time I realized that this was a tough way to make a living.”

1:37 “I quickly found that teaching was the thing I really wanted to do.”

1:38 “I’m able to teach full time and still be able to slip away and play in a few tournaments here and there.”

1:39 “It’s fun to see that beginning player get the ball into the air for the first time, and it’s fun to see that junior golfer win his first tournament.”

1:40 “Pinehurst is a special place. The history and tradition speaks for itself, and when you walk down those halls and see those old photos, you know it’s special. I’m proud to work here.”

A light breeze causes one of the silks to flutter during one of Mitchum’s last answers. Derstine and Tower exchange looks, and Tower shrugs his shoulders.

1:45 The interview done, Tower inspects the silks. There’s a tear down the left side, revealing a small hole. “A sound mixer’s nightmare, right Joel?” Derstine says. “I’ve asked for a new one for a while,” Tower responds.

1:54 Morris and Mitchum meet briefly to discuss gathering some of Mitchum’s family photos together. After all, Monday marks Mitchum’s 17th anniversary with his wife Maria.

“Well, this is one way to remember it,” Mitchum says.

The shot. (Click to enlarge.)

2 p.m. Mitchum heads home to pick up the photos for Derstine to shoot. The anniversary angle is a good one for Morris. The day of shooting could not have gone any better. He has Mitchum working with kids, and at 5 p.m. in front of the famous Putter Boy statue, he’ll get an interview with Mitchum and his wife.

The piece is coming together.

“We’ll probably have about 2-3 hours of footage, not including what we shot at the tournament,” Morris says.

How long will the segment be?

“Total?” Morris asks? “About 4 minutes.”

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