By Alex Podlogar
After reaching the Round of 16 in the 122nd North & South Amateur, the players were invited to a special dinner on Thursday night at Dornoch Cottage, the home of Donald Ross, to celebrate their achievement.
Six of them returned on Friday. By necessity.
After a 2-hour rain delay with no end to afternoon thunderstorms in sight, play was suspended for the day early in the quarterfinal matches. The four matches were in various stages between the first and third holes, and will resume in place at 7 a.m. on Saturday.
Three of the groups found themselves close enough to the Dornoch Cottage, which overlooks the 3rd green of No. 2, to be able to go inside Ross’s home in hopes to wait out the delay. The fourth match, between Davis Bryant and Maxwell Moldovan, was still on the first hole and the players were able to return to the clubhouse.
The semifinal matches will be played at 12:45 and 12:55 p.m. on Saturday. The Championship match of the North & South will now be played at 6:50 a.m. on Sunday.
The day was not devoid of some drama, however. Top-seeded Karl Vilips birdied the par-3 17th to extend his match to 18, but fell 1-up to No. 16 seed Luke Clanton, one of the top junior golfers in the country.
Ben James, the top-ranked junior golfer in the country, had a wild win to advance to the quarterfinals on Friday. (Photo by Matt Gibson)
In the match of the day, Ben James, the top-ranked junior in the game, appeared to be cruising toward the quarterfinals, taking a 3-up lead on Georgia Tech’s Ross Steelman through eight holes. But Steelman rallied in impressive fashion, ripping off four birdies in a row to take a 1-up lead after the 12th.
James, a native of Connecticut who made his PGA Tour debut at last week’s Travelers Championship in his home state, missed a short birdie try on 14 to even the match, but managed to keep the same deficit with a par at 15 and then by making a 12-footer to save par after an errant drive on 16.
He played a brilliant shot into 17, setting up a birdie from 7 feet to square with Steelman, and after halving the 18th hole and the first playoff hole, James finally outlasted Steelman, the tournament’s No. 2 seed, on the 20th hole to advance.
In other notable Round of 16 matches, North Carolina’s David Ford defeated Auburn’s Evan Vo 2&1, but Ford’s twin Maxwell wasn’t so fortunate, falling to Charlotte’s Ben Woodruff 4&3, setting up a quarterfinal match with UNC-Greensboro’s Nick Lyerly.
In each of the quarterfinal matches, a player held an early lead, with Clanton, Lyerly, Tommy Morrison and Maxwell Moldovan each leading 1-up.
122nd North & South Amateur
Pinehurst No. 2
Round of 32
June 30, 2022
- No. 1 Karl Vilips d. No. 32 Leo Oyo, 3&2
- No. 16 Luke Clanton d. No. 17 Sam Jean, 4&3
- No. 8 David Ford d. No. 25 Chad Wilfong, 2&1
- No. 9 Evan Vo d. No. 24 Luke Dossey, 6&4.
- No. 4 Maxwell Ford d. No. 29 Owen Avrit, 2&1
- No. 13 Ben Woodruff d. No. 20 Boyd Owens, 4&2
- No. 5 Jackson Koivun d. No. 28 Nick Robillard, 2&1
- No. 21 Nick Lyerly d. No. 12 Xavier Marcoux, 2&1
- No. 2 Ross Steelman d. No. 31 Joshua Bai, 2&1
- No. 15 Ben James d. No. 18 Caleb VonArragon, 1up
- No. 7 Caleb Surratt d. No. 26 Peter Fountain, 2&1
- No. 10 Thomas Morrison d. No. 23 Jayden Ford, 4&3
- No. 30 Maxwell Moldovan d. No. 3 Frankie Capan, 3&2
- No. 14 Ian Siebers d. No. 10 Jonathan Griz, 21 holes
- No. 6 Davis Bryant d. No. 27 Dongjin Park, 3&1
- No. 11 Evans Lewis d. No. 22 Jackson Van Paris, 4&3
Round of 16
July 1, 2022
- No. 16 Luke Clanton d. No. 1 Karl Vilips, 1up
- No. 8 David Ford d. No. 9 Evan Vo, 2&1
- No. 13 Ben Woodruff d. No. 4 Maxwell Ford, 4&3
- No. 21 Nick Lyerly d. No. 5 Jackson Koivun, 1up
- No. 15 Ben James d. No. 2 Ross Steelman, 20 holes
- No. 10 Thomas Morrison d. No. 7 Caleb Surratt, 3&2
- No. 30 Maxwell Moldovan d. No. 14 Ian Siebers, 1up
- No. 6 Davis Bryant d. No. 11 Evans Lewis, 1up
July 1-2, 2022
Matches will resume in place at 7 a.m.
- No. 16 Luke Clanton leads No. 8 David Ford, 1up through 2
- No. 21 Nick Lyerly leads No. 13 Ben Woodruff, 1up through 1
- No. 10 Thomas Morrison leads No. 15 Ben James, 1up through 1
- No. 30 Maxwell Moldovan leads No. 6 Davis Bryant, 1up through 1
Matches at 12:45 and 12:55 p.m.
July 3, 2022
- TBD, 6:50 a.m.