The 119th North & South Amateur comes at an interesting time in the 2019 calendar. And because of that timing, it makes for an interesting format this year as well.
The North & South will be played from June 25-29 – putting it about seven weeks ahead of another major amateur championship Pinehurst will host this year – the 119th U.S. Amateur, which will be played on the newly redesign Pinehurst No. 4 and famed No. 2.
In fact, Pinehurst will again make history with the playing of that U.S. Amateur from Aug. 12-18 – it will be the first time in history the Amateur’s championship match will be played on two courses. The morning round of 18 holes will be played on No. 4, redesigned by Gil Hanse a year ago, and the afternoon 18 will be decided on No. 2, host to more single golf championships than any site in America. (The U.S. Open will return for the fourth time in just a 25-year span in 2024.)
So how does that impact the North & South Amateur this year?
Well, as you can imagine, the field is pretty stout – and in a minute, we’ll highlight a few of the top contenders as play begins. Secondly, it’s not a surprise that No. 4 will play a part in deciding the next North & South Champion. Here is the schedule:
- June 25, 2019 Pinehurst No. 4 (AM) Rd. 1 Stroke Play
- June 26, 2019 Pinehurst No. 2 (AM) Rd. 2 Stroke Play
- June 27, 2019 Pinehurst No. 2 Match Play Round of 32
- June 28, 2019 Pinehurst No. 2 (AM) Match Play Round of 16
- June 28, 2019 Pinehurst No. 2 (PM) Match Play Quarter Finals
- June 29, 2019 Pinehurst No. 2 (AM) Match Play Semi Finals
- June 29, 2019 Pinehurst No. 2 (PM) Match Play 18-Hole Final
Two rounds of stroke play, split between No. 4 and No. 2. And then we cut to 32 players for match play.
So who might the champion be? It could be one of these highly regarded amateurs:
Stanford’s Isaiah Salinda
ISAIAH SALINDA – In a national championship season for Stanford, Salinda may have had the best year. He won twice, finished sixth overall at the NCAAs and went 3-0 in match play to lead the Cardinal to the title. That mark included a 4&3 dusting of Cole Hammer in the championship match. Salinda is ranked 4th in the world, is a senior and was a semifinalist at the 2018 U.S. Amateur. Pinehurst may be seeing a lot of Isaiah in the next couple of months.
Duke’s Alex Smalley
ALEX SMALLEY – An elite player at Duke, Smalley is a veteran of the North & South and has made match play the last three appearances. Ranked 5th in the world, he’s coming off his second straight victory at the prestigious Sunnehanna Amateur, where he won by five shots. Smalley is the first repeat champion at the Sunnehanna since Rickie Fowler. Smalley won once this season for Duke and was the model of consistency, playing to a 69.65 stroke average with all of his 31 rounds being 75 and lower. He recorded six top 5s, eight Top 10s and 11 Top 20 finishes.
Georgia Tech’s Ty Strafaci
TY STRAFACI – Strafaci, a senior at Georgia tech, is no stranger to deep runs at the North & South, reaching the semifinals in 2017. Ranked 34th in the world, Strafaci played in the U.S. Open a year ago, and won his local qualifier this year. Strafaci is vying to become the first Grandfather-Grandson pair to win the North & South. Frank Stafaci won the North & South in 1938 and again in 1939, turning down an invite to The Masters to defend his North & South crown.
Duke’s Chandler Eaton
CHANDLER EATON – Ranked 15th in the world, Eaton is coming into the North & South in the best of ways – fresh off a made cut in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Eaton posted rounds of 72-70-73-74, finishing at 5-over 289 for the championship – tied for 58th overall and the third-lowest amateur in the field behind Hovland (4-under) and Brandon Wu (1-over). Eaton hit 71 percent of the fairways for the week (t-26th in the field), hit 61 percent of the greens in regulation (t-32nd) and was 20th in strokes gained putting (+1.07). Pretty good, right?
WILLIAM NOTTINGHAM – Nottingham won the North & South in 2017, making a birdie on the 17th hole to take control of the match. “This tournament means a lot, for sure,” Nottingham said. “Reading about all of the people who have won this tournament, to go into the locker room and see all the cool names who have won this tournament, it’s just really special for me to be a part of that and to have my name on the wall with some of those people.”
Georgia Tech’s Luke Schniederjans
LUKE SCHNIEDERJANS – Georgia Tech’s top player, Schniederjans is the younger brother of current PGA Tour pro Ollie Schniederjans. Ranked 51st in the world, Luke led the Yellow Jacks in scoring average and recorded five top 10 finishes.
Cincinnati’s Austin Squires
AUSTIN SQUIRES – Squires reached the North & South semifinals a year ago, then followed that with a run to the quarterfinals in the 2018 U.S. Amateur. He’s won twice at Cincinnati, and this season, set a school record for scoring average. Ranked 58th, Squires’ run to the U.S. Am quarterfinals at Pebble Beach was the best finish by a Bearcat in school history.
Frankie Capan, Shuai Ming “Ben” Wong after winning the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball at Pinehurst.
A FEW MORE NAMES TO WATCH: Keep an eye on BEN WONG, who teamed with Frankie Capan to win the 2017 U.S.
Amateur Four-Ball on Pinehurst No. 2…JOEY SAVOIE is a leading Canadian amateur…BLAKE COLLYER is a standout amateur from Australia…ERIC BAE starred at local Pinecrest High School and finished a strong year at Wake Forest. Bae is a veteran of the North & South and regularly practices at Pinehurst.