Men’s Scoring

Women’s Scoring

By Alex Podlogar



Sixteen shots. Five holes. Five under par.

“The magic number did cross my mind,” the lanky lad said.

Pinehurst is known for its numbers. While it keeps adding to those numbers, getting into double-digits this year by way of Tom Doak and a sandy site in Aberdeen, it’s still mostly known for how low those numbers are. That’s golf, after all. Low score wins. Lowest score on Pinehurst No. 2 often makes history.

Jackson Van Paris, through five holes of Donald Ross’s masterpiece, found himself chasing history, whether his short-term memory was intact or not.

“You get rolling, and honestly, I kind of blacked out a bit for the first five holes,” said the hometown favorite, the Pinehurst resident, the Vanderbilt senior, the 8th-ranked amateur in the world. “That was really cool.”

History and Van Paris and Pinehurst, though, are nothing new. He holds the course record on Pinehurst No. 4, having shot 61 there in the opening round of last year’s North & South Amateur. Between this, the 124th North & South Amateur and then, he set the new course record for The Cradle, Pinehurst’s short course. He toured that 9-hole gem in a tidy 18 strokes.

He needed only two fewer shots to get through five holes on the big course. Yes, that one, you know, the one that hosted the freaking U.S. Open just two weeks ago and made Scottie Scheffler look human.

Jackson Van Paris and his caddie view the 15th hole of Pinehurst No. 2.
Jackson Van Paris and his caddie view the 15th hole of Pinehurst No. 2.

It all started rather innocently enough. Fairways and greens. Good approaches. Good putts.

“I made a few nice 10-footers, I would say, on the first four holes to get to 3 under,” Van Paris managed to recall. “Obviously, I was doing a lot of good stuff, but I never thought it was really, really good.

“Until 5.”

Good drive on the par-5 5th hole. Crazy good 3 wood to 20 feet. “That’s the best 3 wood I’ve hit in a long time,” Van Paris said, his memory getting clearer and clearer. “I didn’t even think I could get it on the green.”


At 5 under through 5, the conversations began around the golf offices at Pinehurst. The buzz permeated the golf course and wafted into the clubhouse. The No. 2 course record. It is also a low number: 62. By Tom Watson and Gibby Gilbert in the 1973 World Open, and matched by Hale Irwin in the 1977 Colgate/Hall of Fame Classic.

But as that number crept into Van Paris’s mind, something stalled. The blackout gave way.

“Things caught up to me pretty fast,” he said.

It didn’t immediately reveal itself. Van Paris made a par on the tough par-3 6th. But bogeys on 7 and 8 halted momentum for the moment. Still, he handled that well, making birdie on the 9th to turn in 4-under 31. He couldn’t take advantage of the par-5 10th and then bogeyed 11, but came back with a birdie at 12. A sloppy 3-putt bogey on a good look at birdie on 16 dropped him from what could have been a potential playoff and possible medalist honors for the second year in a row, leaving Van Paris a shot behind Duke’s Kelly Chinn, the tournament’s top seed.

Still, at the end of Wednesday’s second and final round of stroke play, it was a 3-under 67, good for 5 under in the championship to earn the second seed in match play, which begins on No. 2 on Thursday morning with the Round of 32.

“Now the fun starts,” Van Paris said.

Wake Forest sophomore Macy Pate feels a lot like Van Paris in Pinehurst – right at home.

The 2023 North & South Girls Junior Champion and ACC Freshman of the Year rocketed to medalist honors in the 122nd North & South Women’s Amateur after making birdies in three of her final four holes on Pinehurst No. 8 to finish at 4-under 140 and edge Elizabeth Rudisill by one shot.

“Honestly, I had no idea I was so close,” Pate said. “I just wanted to close strong.”

Pate will take the top seed into the round of 32 on Wednesday. The two championships are being played concurrently this week, and match play will be played on No. 2 the rest of the way, with round of 16 and quarterfinal matches scheduled for Friday and the semifinals and championship matches for both tournaments scheduled for Saturday. Spectators are welcome.

That hometown feel courses through with Chinn as well, whose family resides at CCNC. No player has been more consistent than the Duke junior through two rounds. Chinn followed his 4-under 67 a day ago on No. 8 with a 2-under 68 on No. 2, carding five birdies in the process. His deuce on the par-3 17th on No. 2 lofted him to medalist honors.

“I hit a really nice solid putt, and it was kind of curling at the end, I gave it a little point to make sure it kept going, and it fell right in,” Chinn said.

“I’ve had some local support, too, a few people from CCNC watching. It definitely means a lot to be medalist here. I’ve played this event many times, and this is definitely an honor.”