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JD McNeill and Jerry Richardson Jr. capture North Carolina Four-Ball
JD McNeill and Jerry Richardson Jr. hoist North Carolina Four-Ball title
JD McNeill and Jerry Richardson Jr. hoist North Carolina Four-Ball title
MEBANE, NC (October 2, 2016) -- JD McNeill of Raleigh, N.C. and Jerry Richardson, Jr. of Cary, N.C. were in the final pairing of the 2015 North Carolina Four-Ball Championship, but came up short and went home with a third-place finish. In Sunday’s final round of the 2016 championship at Mill Creek Golf Club, the pair found themselves in the same pairing, staring down the recent North Carolina Amateur champion Nicholas Lyerly and his partner Justin Emmons. However, after finishing 54- holes at 23-under-par and coming out on top of a four- hole playoff, McNeill and Richardson will go home this year with a trophy.

McNeill and Richardson started the final round one stroke behind Lyerly and Emmons after both sides posted impressive rounds of 10-under-par 62 on Saturday. Both teams started the final round a little slow, but McNeill and Richardson were the first to put a birdie on the card at the par-5 2nd, which moved them into a tie for the lead. Their next birdie came at the par- 5 6th when McNeill hit it close in two and buried a short birdie putt to move to the top of the leaderboard. After Richardson’s birdie at the 7th, they stepped onto the eighth tee with a two-stroke lead. Birdies by Lyerly on No. 8 and No. 9 matched against McNeill and Richardson’s pars on those holes meant the pairs were tied at the top heading into the inward nine.

The two sides battled on the second nine. Lyerly and Emmons struggled at the par-3 13th and were forced to record a bogey while McNeill and Richardson easily made par. At the drivable par-4 14th hole, Richardson two-putted for birdie to move them to 23- under-par. Lyerly, whose drive was a mere five feet from the hole, sunk his eagle putt and propelled his side to 22-under-par and one back of McNeill and Richardson. A birdie at the par-5 16th took Lyerly and Emmons to 23-under and the two sides finished with pars on Nos. 17 and 18 to guarantee a playoff.

A lot of pars and four playoff holes later, McNeill and Richardson hoisted the North Carolina Four-Ball trophies. Richardson stuck his 103-yard approach on the fourth playoff hole to three feet and made the short birdie putt to clinch their first Carolinas Golf Association championship as a team. After watching so many of his putts roll over the lip, Richardson said “it was good to just finally hit one close and not have to worry about making a putt.”

After being so close in 2015, McNeill and Richardson believed they had a good chance to come back and win this year, but knew that Lyerly and Emmons would be a challenge. “Those guys play every day and it’s tough for us to get out here and compete on a regular basis...it’s just fun to come out. They’re great players and it looks like they’ve got a great road ahead of them, but we had to come out and represent the older guys out here.” The North Carolina Four-Ball is their first Carolinas Golf Association championship as a team and Richardson’s fourth Carolinas Golf Association championship victory.

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