Benjamin Shipp (Photo courtesy Pinehurst.com)
It’s a big year for the North & South Amateur – bigger than usual. In another seven weeks, the U.S. Amateur comes to Pinehurst, which annually hosts the North & South. The long-running amateur event this year allows some of the nation’s best amateurs to get a look at the venue.
After one round of the newly renovated Pinehurst No. 4, Benjamin Shipp leads. The rising senior at N.C. State had six birdies on the way to a 5-under 67 that carried him to the top of the leaderboard.
It’s a crowded leaderboard after that, with four men tied for second at 2-under 68. They come from varied backgrounds, and include recent high-school graduate Ricky Castillo, Duke senior Chandler Eaton, Nevada senior Sam Meek and mid-amateur Garrett Rank.
A week ago, Eaton was playing the weekend at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Rank, who works the offseason as an NHL hockey referee, qualified for the 2018 U.S. Open.
Eaton’s former Duke teammate, recent graduate Alex Smalley, is one shot back in a seven-way tie for sixth. Smalley is a native of Greensboro, N.C., and estimates he’s played Pinehurst roughly 25 or 30 times growing up. His best score has been a 68, which is only one better than his opener this week.
The ultimate goal this week is to reach match play. After Wednesday’s round at Pinehurst No. 2, the 32-man bracket will be set.
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