Josh Martin goes wire-to-wire to earn the North Carolina Match Play
(Carolinas Golf Association Photo)
SOUTHERN PINES, PC (August 11, 2016) -- With favorable weather conditions for scoring at Mid Pines, 120 players competed to make the low 32 for match play in the 7th North Carolina Amateur Match Play Championship.
First round leader 19-year-old Josh Martin of Pinehurst continued his solid play, backing up an opening 66 with a four-under-par 68. His two-day total of ten-under 134 was enough for a four stroke cushion to take medalist honors and the number one seed for match play.
With twelve birdies over 36-holes of stroke play, Martin feels good about his chances in match play. "Hitting a lot of fairways was the key today," Martin said after finding 11 of 14 fairways Thursday. "I put myself in good position for approach shots."
A round of seven-under earned the No. 2 seed for Paul Fitzgerald of Charlotte. His best competitive score, Fitzgerald was "surprisingly comfortable" coming down the stretch. "I have felt good putting from inside five feet all week," said the 24-year-old, who finished at -6 (138). "I don't have a lot of match play experience, but I am looking forward to it."
Caleb Keck of Reidsville finished stroke play qualifying as the No. 3 seed. Four-under thru ten holes on Thursday, the 22-year-old Keck finished with three bogeys coming in and could not catch Martin.
Thursday's low round of nine-under 63 was posted by John McFadyen of Fayetteville to take the No. 4 seed. "It was awesome, it was effortless," McFadyen said after his round that included nine birdies and an eagle. Missing just one green gave the 21-year-old McFadyen lots of looks at birdie. "My iron play was great. Me and my caddie Bo were dialed in." Improving 13 strokes from Wednesday's round, his 63 came one shot shy of tying the Mid Pines course record.
Tied for fifth at three-under overall are Josh Martin's older brother Zachary, as well as Nolan Mills, IV of Charlotte, David Sargent of Cornelius, and Sherrill Britt of West End.
The cut line for low 32 players to qualify for match play fell at two-over 146. There was an 8-for-6 playoff. After five holes, Brandon Mader of Greenville grabbed the final match play seed. Those 32 are seeded based off of their qualifying scores. Players will compete in match play until the field is dwindled to the final two. The championship match will take place Sunday morning to determine the champion.
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