BY ALEX PODLOGAR
VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. – Lauren Beaudreau turned 16 years old on Wednesday, the same day as the final round of the 38th Girls’ Junior North & South Amateur.
And so at breakfast in The Carolina Dining Room, pianist Gary Brown marked the occasion.
“He played a really long version of ‘Happy Birthday’ for me,” a smiling Beaudreau beamed.
It was the start to a perfect day. Beaudreau made two birdies on the first three holes to get off to a hot start in winning the Girls’ Junior North & South with a final-round 73 for a three-day total of 2-over-par 218.
“This place has so much tradition, and it’s just so great to now be a part of it,” said Beaudreau, of Lemont, Illinois. “I love this place, and I love coming back.”
Beaudreau, who competed in the U.S. Kids World Championship at Pinehurst when she was 11 and 12 years old, shot 76 on Pinehurst No. 2 in the first round before following that with the championship’s low round of 69 on Pinehurst No. 6. She followed that with a 73 on Wednesday, recovering from a double bogey on 14 with a birdie on 15 to clip Michaela Williams, of Athens, Alabama, by one shot.
“I started really hot and was really feeling good,” Beaudreau said. “I dropped a little bit, but I was able to hang on to the lead.”
Already a Pinehurst champion, Martinez wins 38th Boys’ Junior North & South
Alberto Martinez came into the Boys’ Junior North & South Amateur with a significant Pinehurst victory already on his resume. When he was 13, Martinez won the U.S. Kids World 13-and-under Championship.
Martinez proved just as steady at this level, making a clutch birdie on the par-5 17th hole at Pinehurst No. 8 to capture the 38th Boys’ Junior North & South by two shots.
“It means a lot,” Martinez, 16, said of his victory on Wednesday. “I’ve put in a lot of hard work and my family has done a lot to support me. It’s incredible to think I’ve had success at Pinehurst before and now have success at Pinehurst again.”
Martinez, who as a rising junior has already committed to play for Florida State, came into the round tied for second and a shot back. He made two birdies and a bogey in his final-round 71 to cap a three-day total of 2-under-par 212.
Martinez was the lone player under par. Nicholas Lyerly, of Salisbury, and Cooper Sears, of Old Hickory, Tennessee, tied for second at even par.
With their victories, both Beaudreau and Martinez earned berths into the 2017 Women’s and Men’s North & South Amateur championships.