BY ALEX PODLOGAR
VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. – Every morning before the start of his day at the 113th North and South Amateur, Andrew Dorn found a quiet place to stretch and warm up in the Pinehurst Resort Clubhouse.
It wasn’t until later he realized what the quiet place was.
“I just looked up one morning and saw it on the wall – North and South Locker Room,” Dorn said. “I was just like, ‘Oh, wow.’
“And then I saw Jack Nicklaus’ locker and I thought, ‘I want to be in here.’”
Now he is.
The Coastal Carolina junior – the 16th seed in match play – held off a furious charge by Zachary Bauchou to clip the teen phenom 1-up to claim the 113th North and South Amateur Championship on Pinehurst No. 2, the host of the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open.
“With all the history in Pinehurst, to finish on the 18th hole with everything that’s gone down there – Payne Stewart making the putt, all the names on the wall of champions – to have my name in there forever, to be considered on the same level with something like those guys, is unbelievable. It’s unreal,” an emotionally spent Dorn said, clutching the iconic Putter Boy trophy to his chest.
The North & South Amateur is the longest consecutive-running amateur golf championship in the United States, now in its 113th year.
Over the past century, the best in the golf world have vied for its coveted Putter Boy Trophy. The winners now serve as legends in the game – Francis Ouimet, Billy Joe Patton, Nicklaus, Curtis Strange, Corey Pavin, Davis Love II, among others. It continues to draw the best in amateur golf circles.
Dorn controlled much of the match against the 17-year-old Bauchou, one of the elite junior golfers in the world, making a slick 6-foot par putt on the par-3 15th to hold a 3-up lead as the pair stepped to the 16th tee.
The match appeared all but over as Bauchou’s approach on the 511-yard, par-4 16th sailed left of the green. But instead of rolling into the greenside bunker, Bauchou could hardly believe his eyes as the ball came to rest against the rake.
“I looked through my range finder and said, “’I think that’s a ball,” he said.
After a ruling, Bauchou was able to play the ball from where it came to rest and hammered the 20-foot putt home, pumping his first, to extend the match at least one more hole.
Then with the pin tucked in the perilous right corner of the 17th green, Bauchou stuck his tee shot to 7 feet, making that putt – punctuated by another fist pump – to push the match to the 18th.
“At that point I was like, ‘Ok, let’s go,’” said Bauchou.
A flustered Dorn then hooked his drive on 18 left of the cart path while Bauchou crushed his tee shot down the right side of the fairway. But while Dorn punched out and through the fairway into the brush lining the right side, Bauchou’s approach sailed long and left. Dorn failed to get his pitch up and down for par, but Bauchou’s putt from off the left side of the green rolled 18 feet past the cup. He missed the par putt, finally ceding the championship to Dorn.
“I thought I was going to get him on 18,” said Bauchou, who is ranked as the No. 2 amateur in the high school Class of 2015. “But I just didn’t get up and down.”
For Dorn, who played 20 holes in each of his match play matches on Friday, who needed a playoff Thursday evening just to get into match play, who was down two holes with three to play in one of his matches Friday, the winning moment actually crept up on him.
“At first, nothing special happened,” he said. “But then you look around and it’s Pinehurst No. 2, Payne is looking over your shoulder, and it sets in. I’m just at a loss for words.”
Dorn won his semifinal match over 13th-seed and Duke recruit Max Greyserman with relative ease, 5 & 4 while Bauchou knocked off sixth-seeded Grayson Murray 1 up in the morning round of matches.
Dorn never trailed in the final match, taking a 1-up lead when Bauchou three-putted the treacherous fifth green.
Bauchou, though, squared the matched when Dorn bogeyed the seventh, but the West Chester, Ohio, native came back with a 25-foot birdie on the 8th to regain the lead.
Dorn, who hit 12 of 18 greens in regulation – Bauchou managed to hit just eight in regulation – began to build his lead in the middle of the round, going 2-up on 9 before a Bauchou three-putt from about 80 feet handed Dorn his largest lead, 3-up, through 11.
Bauchou closed within two holes again until Dorn stuck his approach just 6 feet from the pin on 14, leading to a birdie and what looked like an insurmountable 3-up lead with four to play.
Bauchou’s late-round attempt at heroics made things interesting, but Dorn never wavered.
“I tried to keep it out of my mind,” Dorn said,” but I couldn’t help thinking, ‘Wow, I’m going to win this.’”