John Pitt leads NC Mid-Amateur, Scott Harvey One Back
Leader John Pitt turned in a bogey-free round on Friday <br>(CGA Photo)
Leader John Pitt turned in a bogey-free round on Friday
(CGA Photo)

HIGH POINT, NC (September 8, 2017) - Between starting his own business and helping raise two young children, 39-year-old John Pitt of Raleigh has not had much time for golf, playing just twice in the past weeks. That time away seemed to serve him well. In Friday's opening round of the 24th North Carolina Mid-Amateur, Pitt posted the day's lowest total, a bogey-free 67. "The key is I had no expectations," said Pitt, who birdied three of the four par-5s on Willow Creek's layout en route to his 5-under-par round.

The North Carolina Mid-Amateur is conducted at 54 holes of stroke play. After 36 holes, there will be a cut to the low 60 scores and ties.

2012 champion, Scott Harvey of Greensboro, trails Pitt by one-stroke following a four-under-par 68. Playing on Willow Creek's slick greens, Harvey, a 39-year-old property manager, knows the importance of placing approach shots below the hole. "On the back nine I avoided being above the hole and was able to putt more aggressively," said the top ranked amateur in the Carolinas. After an even-par front nine, that course management maneuver led to four inward birdies, propelling Harvey up the leaderboard.

Tied for second with Harvey is 34-year-old Justin Pennell of Lenoir. Pennell's round was highlighted by an eagle on the difficult par-5 7th hole. "It was just a 15-foot lag putt that found the bottom of the hole," Pennell said. With his wife caddying for him, together the Pennells chose which flags to attack, and when to play conservatively. This strategy translated into four birdies and an eagle, offset by just two bogeys.

51-year-old Joe Jaspers of Huntersville is in fourth place at three-under. The 2014 champion made two birdie putts over 35 feet and avoided making a single bogey during his opening round 69. Twelve players recorded under-par first rounds Friday at the Willow Creek Course.

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ABOUT THE North Carolina Mid-Amateur

North Carolina Mid-Amateur Championship is open to any male amateur golfer who has reached his 30th birthday, is a legal resident of North Carolina, is a member in good standing of a club which is a member of the Carolinas Golf Association (CGA) and has an active GHIN® USGA Handicap Index® at a CGA member club that does not exceed 5.4. Sectional qualifying is required in the weeks before the championship unless exemption criteria is met. 54-hole stroke play event with a cut to the low 60 and ties after 36 holes.

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