PINEHURST – Cooper Dossey certainly picked one of golf’s most notable events and venues for his first major amateur victory.
After the rising senior at Baylor University defeated Noah Norton 5 & 4 in Saturday’s final round of the 119th North & South Amateur at Pinehurst No. 2, his name will be added to a series of plaques on the clubhouse wall that includes the likes of Walter Travis, Francis Ouimet, Jack Nicklaus, Curtis Strange and Davis Love III.
A native of Austin, Texas, Dossey defeated Blake Taylor of Atkinson, N.C., 2 & 1 in Saturday morning’s semifinal, then never trailed in the afternoon final that ended after 14 holes. For a former college All-American, who underwent surgery on his left wrist and didn’t touch a club for three months, the week at Pinehurst could not have ended better.
119th North & South Amateur Champion Cooper Dossey tees off the on the 1st hole of Pinehurst No. 2. (Photo by John Patota)
“It’s number one,” said Dossey, when asked about where the North & South title ranks among his career accomplishments. “I haven’t really won outside of college golf on my own. I’ve actually only made two cuts before this amateur tournament, so I had no expectations, but it was a fun week, a special week.”
Facing Norton, who participated in the U.S. Open earlier this month and will be back in Pinehurst in August for the U.S. Amateur, Dossey won four of the first eight holes on the way to claiming the Putter Boy trophy.
“He’s a great player, and I didn’t want to give him any holes,” said Dossey, whose younger brother Luke was on his bag for the second-straight day. “I didn’t make a bogey all day. I just hit it well in the middle of the greens, putted great; it was a really good round.”
After Norton conceded on the par 4 second hole, the pair both made birdie on the par 4 third and par on the par 4 fourth. Dossey took control with back-to-back hole victories on the fifth and sixth holes as Norton, made bogey both times. The lead reached four at the turn, and Dossey closed the day with five consecutive pars on the famed Donald Ross layout. Norton made bogey on the par four 11th, then followed with three-straight pars, but ran out of holes in his comeback attempt.
North & South Amateur Runner-Up Noah Norton tees off on the 1st hole of Pinehurst No. 2.
“He managed his game well, knew when to take advantage, and played solid,” said Norton, who plays at Georgia Tech, of Dossey. “If you don’t hit fairways, it’s hard to score no matter where you are. I played really solid until that last 18, and I’ve got a lot of positive things to take away from the week. It’s hard to find a better venue than Pinehurst No. 2. The (U.S.) Amateur’s here and that’s a big reason I came. And I got in as many rounds as possible.”
With his brother Sam on the bag for the first three days, and Luke serving as caddy for the final four rounds of match play, Dossey’s win truly was a family endeavor. He credited his swing coach Chuck Cook and his grandparents, Nub and Carolyn Donaldson, for helping him overcome his doubts since his surgery last fall.
“Chuck Cook and my grandparents have been really important to me the last couple of months as I’ve been clueless about where my game stands,” said Dossey, who will begin U.S. Amateur sectional qualifying next month. “My grandpa was my swing coach my whole life until I got to college, and my grandma’s the biggest encourager I’ve had. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be playing golf.”
In the semifinal round, Norton won four of the first five holes and never trailed in his 5 & 3 victory over Hunter Wolcott. After Wolcott won the sixth hole, the pair halved the next three. Norton then won the par-five 10th and par-four 12th to extend his lead to five.
Taylor won two of the first three holes in Saturday morning’s semifinal and was one up through 12 before Dossey captured three-straight to take the lead. Dossey secured a 2 & 1 result with par on the par-three 17th.
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.
119th NORTH & SOUTH AMATEUR
Pinehurst No. 2
Saturday, June 29
No. 8 Cooper Dossey, Austin, TX d. No. 5 Blake Taylor, Atkinson, NC, 2 & 1
No. 18 Noah Norton, Chico, CA d. No. 30 Hunter Wolcott, Burns, TN, 5 & 3
Pinehurst, No. 2
Saturday, June 29
No. 8 Cooper Dossey, Austin, TX d. No. 18 Noah Norton, Chico, CA, 5 & 4