By Alex Podlogar
VILLAGE OF PINEHURST – Zach Bauchou has been around Pinehurst No. 2 enough to know – you don’t attack the tucked pins.
But with a 1-up lead late in a Round of 16 match of the 118th North & South Amateur, Bauchou finally saw an opportunity – even if it was from 220 yards away.
After hitting the left-center of the fairway on the 512-yard, par-4 16th hole, and with his opponent mired in the native area left of the fairway, Bauchou grabbed a 5 iron and eyed the back-center hole location on 16.
It was just benign enough.
Bauchou ripped his 5 iron, getting a nice bounce and roll, and by the time he reached a few yards short of the green, he could see why a small gallery had applauded.
“It was a gimme,” Bachou said. “You don’t get many of those on 16 of No. 2.”
Bauchou made the 3-footer and took a 2-up lead to the 17th tee, and after a par there finally vanquished a game Bobby Bai 2&1, Bauchou advanced to the quarterfinals of the storied amateur on Wednesday.
Bauchou, who recently led Oklahoma State to the NCAA Championship, reached the final of the 2013 North & South Amateur as one of the top junior golfers in the country before falling to Andrew Dorn. Now he finds himself two more match wins away from the same berth five years later.
“There’s a lot of golf left to be played, and a lot of really good golf has to be played to get to that spot,” he said. “I can’t think about that right now. There are a lot of good golfers here.”
One of them is Ben Schlottman, an All-SEC performer at Auburn who led the Tigers to the NCAA semifinals. Schlottman has had quite the ride into the quarterfinals, needing to make a birdie on the 18th hole on Tuesday just to make the playoff for match play.
Grouped into a 9-players-for-6-spots whirlwind, Schlottman survived four extra holes to pick up the penultimate seed and advance to match play.
“Walking up the fairway, I had an idea of the scores,” he recalled. “I knew I needed to make a birdie just for the hope to make the playoff.”
He’s made it count since, beating N.C. State’s Ben Shipp, the championship’s No. 2 seed who had a tournament-low 65 on Tuesday, in the morning Round of 32. Schlottman then dispatched Gray Townsend 4&3 in the afternoon to reach the quarterfinals.
North & South Am Update: Seeds 1-4, 6 & 7?
Match play, y’all.
— Pinehurst Resort (@PinehurstResort) June 27, 2018
It was a rough day for most of the top seeds. For the third straight year, the medalist did not advance past the first round of match play. Last year it was U.S. Open phenom Cameron Champ – beaten by Bauchou, no less – and this year’s fate fell to Cooper Musselman, who lost 1-down to No. 32 seed Brian Ohr.
The top four seeds all lost in the Round of 32, with No. 3 seed Alex Smalley of Duke and No. 4 seed Josh Martin of North Carolina joining Musselman and Shipp. The sixth and seventh seeds also lost in the opening round Wednesday.
The top remaining seed is No. 5 Spencer Soosman, who beat Joey Savoie in the Round of 32 before knocking off former Division III NCAA Champion Joshua Gibson in the afternoon.
Mitchell Meissner, the No. 13 seed, led Pat Cover 3-up through nine holes in the Round of 16, only to fall 1-down at 15 before rallying in 19 Holes. Meissner, who plays right-handed but made the switch to putting left-handed just six months ago, is Rice’s all-time leader in career victories and won the 2018 Texas Amateur just 10 days ago.
Southern Cal’s Kyle Suppa had a chance to down Campbell’s Ray Kraivixien on 18, but three-putted. On the 21st hole, Suppa made a slick slider from about 15 feet for birdie on the 3rd hole to finally advance to the quarterfinals.
There are two possibilities of two college teammates facing each other in the final, as both Oklahoma State’s Bauchou and Sam Stevens find themselves on opposite sides of the bracket, as do North Carolina teammates Ryan Gerard and Jose Montano.
The Men’s North & South Amateur Championship is the longest consecutively-running amateur golf championship in the United States. Over the past century, the best amateurs in the world have vied for its coveted Putter Boy trophy. The winners now serve as legends in the game – among them Walter Travis, Francis Ouimet, Jack Nicklaus, Curtis Strange and Davis Love III – and the championship continues to draw the best in amateur golf.
Both the quarterfinals and semifinals will be played on Thursday.
The Championship’s finals will be played at 7 a.m. on Friday. Admittance to all rounds is free to the public, which is encouraged to come watch.
118TH NORTH & SOUTH AMATEUR
Pinehurst No. 2
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
ROUND OF 32
No. 32 Brian Ohr d. No. 1 Cooper Musselman, 1up
No. 16 Ryan Gerard d. No. 17 Bryce Hendrix, 1up
No. 8 Zheng Kai Bai d. No. 25 Derek Busby, 5&4
No. 9 Zachard Bauchou d. No. 24 Evan Katz, 2up
No. 29 Patrick Cover d. No. 4 Josh Martin, 3&2
No. 13 Mitchell Meissner d. No. 20 Riley Casey, 1up
No. 5 Spencer Soosman d. No. 28 Joey Savoie, 3&1
No. 21 Joshua Gibson d. No. 12 Frankie Capan 2&1
No. 31 Ben Schlottman d. No. 2 Ben Shipp, 3&1
No. 18 Gray Townsend d. No. 15 Arthur Griffin, 1up
No. 26 Kyle Suppa d. No. 7 Ben Wong, 1up
No. 10 Ray Kraivixien d. No. 23 Blake Wagoner, 3&1
No. 30 Matt Hutchins d. No. 3 Alex Smalley, 20 Holes
No. 19 Sam Stevens d. No. 14 Jake Brown, 1up
No. 27 Jose Montano d. No. 6 Matthew Sharpstene, 2up
No. 11 Chris Yeom d. No. 22 Eric Bae, 19 Holes
ROUND OF 16
No. 16 Ryan Gerard d. No. 32 Brian Ohr, 2&1
No. 9 Zachary Bauchou d. No. 8 Zheng Kai Bai, 2&1
No. 13 Michael Meissner d. No. 29 Patrick Cover, 19 Holes
No. 5 Spencer Soosman d. No. 21 Joshua Gibson, 3&2
No. 31 Ben Schlottman d. No. 18 Gray Townsend, 4&3
No. 26 Kyle Suppa d. No. 10 Ray Kraivixien, 21 Holes
No. 19 Sam Stevens d. No. 30 Matt Hutchins, 4&2
No. 27 Jose Montano d. No. 11 Chris Yeom, 2&1
Thursday, June 28, 2018
No. 9 Zachary Bauchou vs. No. 16 Ryan Gerard, 7 a.m.
No. 5 Spencer Soosman vs. No. 13 Michael Meissner, 7:08 a.m.
No. 26 Kyle Suppa vs. No. 31 Ben Schlottman, 7:16 a.m.
No. 19 Sam Stevens vs. No. 27 Jose Montano vs., 7:24 a.m.
Friday, June 29, 2018
TBD, 7 a.m.