Matthew Sharpstene (Pinehurst photo)
Day one of the 120th North & South Amateur started with a bang.
Matthew Sharpstene kicked off the tournament with a 6-under 64 on Pinehurst No. 4, setting the course record.
The Charlotte transfer junior (by way of West Virginia University) circled eight birdies on his card on Tuesday. En route to besting the course record by a stroke which was set by Brandon Wu and Karl Vilips at the 2019 U.S. Amateur, Sharpstene carded three straight birdies on Nos. 14-16.
“Everything was connecting today,” Sharpstene told Pinehurst, “as you can tell.”
Growing up in nearby Asheville, North Carolina, Sharpstene had a history with No. 4 before the Gil Hanse redesign in 2018.
“I love Pinehurst,” he said. “I played U.S. Kids growing up and made one of the biggest putts of my life as a kid here. It’s just a golfer’s paradise. I love it here.”
Tuesday’s round was not much to write home about until Sharpstene reached the par-5 9th. 1-under to that point, Sharpstene rattled off back-to-back birdies before giving a shot back at the par-3 11th but picked it back up with a birdie on No. 12. Keeping everything in front of him, Sharpstene went on a hot streak down the stretch with birdies on 14, 15, and 16.
“I was playing really steady, and then made a 30-footer on 14,” he said. “That made me think, ‘Ok, now I got it going.’ Then I hit to 5 feet on 15 and drove the 16th and two-putted.”
Although the lowest round of the day, Sharpstene has plenty of company just behind him on the leaderboard.
Texas sophomore Travis Vick tied the previous course record with a 5-under effort. Scorching hot North Carolina signee Peter Fountain and defending North & South champ Cooper Dossey (Texas) leads a pack of five golfers who sit just two strokes behind Sharptene’s lead.
Sharpstene and Vick switch over to Pinehurst No. 2 while Dossey and Fountain head to No. 4 for the second and final round of stroke play on Wednesday.
The top 32 finishers from stroke play will advance to match play. The North & South Amateur was recently granted special exemption status by the USGA, sending the champion and runner-up to the U.S. Amateur in August.
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.
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