Ben Schlottman is the 118th North & South Amateur champion (Pinehurst photo)
PINEHURST, NC (June 29, 2018) – Four days ago, Ben Schlottman
stood in the 18th fairway of Pinehurst No. 2. He had a 6 iron in his hand and knew he needed a birdie just to make a playoff for a berth in match play of the 118th North & South Amateur.
That 6 iron only got him to about 30 feet from the hole. But Schlottman made the long putt, punctuating the moment with a heavy and hard fist pump toward the cup.
He made the playoff, then made it to match play as the second-to-last player in the field, and just continued to grind the rest of the week, never once falling behind an opponent by more than 1 down.
Four days after he stood in the 18th fairway with that 6 iron, Schlottman found himself on the 11th green, holding his putter and staring at a 5-foot putt. And when he made that one, too, he again drove his fist toward the cup, let out a roar, and triumphantly completed a journey that almost never began by dispatching Mitchell Meissner
8&7 on Friday to win the North & South and claim the Putter Boy trophy.
Related: Meissner, Schlottman To Meet in North & South Amateur Final
“This means so much to me,” said Schlottman, who is from Advance, North Carolina. “To win such a prestigious event that carries with it so much history, and to do it with my parents here and following me, it’s something I’ll never forget.”
A veteran of numerous Donald Ross Junior Championships and North & South Junior events, Schlottman, who led Auburn to the NCAA Championship semifinals, had little trouble with Meissner on Pinehurst’s largest stage. Schlottman made a 40-foot birdie putt on the first hole, then recovered with a brilliant shot out of the bunker on the second to take a quick 2-up lead.
Schlottman led by three holes after a par on the 6th and made a dazzling approach on the 7th from the native area left of the fairway to win that hole. Meissner missed the fairway well left on the 8th hole, and though he made a nice shot from there, the ball skidded over the green and left, leaving him with a near-impossible shot.
Schlottman continued to collect pars and tally wins on each hole while Meissner’s struggles continued, and after his ball plugged in the bunker on the 9th, Meissner went to the 10th tee 6 down. The troubles only worsened from there.
“It was just one of those days,” said Meissner, who won the Texas Amateur earlier this month and leaves Rice as the program’s all-time leader in career wins. “It’s golf, and this is a course that will punish you if you put the ball in the wrong spot.”
Schlottman found some of those spots, too, over the last couple of days, but was masterful throughout at scrambling. That he closed out Meissner after getting up-and-down from about 50 yards was apropos.
“Just getting in (to match play), I knew then I only had to beat one guy at a time,” Schlottman said. “I’m a pretty competitive guy…OK, I’m a very competitive guy, and I love match play. And now we’re here.”
ABOUT THE North & South Amateur
The North & South Amateur Championship is the
longest consecutively run amateur tournament in
United States. Its past winners list includes names
Travis, Francis Ouimet, Billy Joe Patton, Jack
and Curtis Strange. The field is made up of invited
players as well as open applications. Two rounds of
play are followed by five rounds of match play
qualifiers) to determine the Champion. All stroke
& match play rounds are contested on
Pinehurst No. 2.
View Complete Tournament Information