Louis Dobbelaar [Photo: John Patota]
Following a back-and-forth final match in the 121st Men’s North and South Amateur at Pinehurst Resort, the longest consecutively running national amateur championship in the United States, Australian Louis Dobbelaar
was able to hold off hometown favorite Jackson Van Paris
(Pinehurst, N.C.) with a sudden death victory on the first playoff hole.
For Dobbelaar, the North & South title adds a third win to an already successful 2021, which has seen victories at February’s Australian Men’s Amateur
and the Dogwood Invitational
in Atlanta as he began a summer tour of American amateur majors.
Entering Sunday’s match, Dobbelaar, qualifying for the 32-golfer match play round as the No. 26 seed during stroke play, had upset higher seeds in each of his first four match play rounds before taking on the No. 25 seed Van Paris, who will play his collegiate golf at Vanderbilt this fall, in the final.
Photo credit: Timothy Hale, The Pilot
Despite missing four of his first six greens in regulation, the Australian surged to an early two-hole lead following a birdie on the third hole and par on the fourth hole of Pinehurst’s famed No. 2 course, but Van Paris, trying to become the first Pinehurst local to win the Championship since Jack Fields in 2011, wasn’t quite ready to let his championship aspirations slip away.
The rising Commodore freshman, who earned his spot in Sunday’s final match with an improbable 30-yard chip-in on the second playoff hole to knock off 2021 Carolinas Mid-Amateur Champion, Chad Wilfong
(Charlotte, N.C.), closed out the outward nine with wins on holes seven, eight, and nine, with a chip-in on the seventh, getting up-and-down on the eighth, and a 40-foot birdie putt on the ninth, to go from two holes down to leading by one hole at the turn.
While Dobbelaar was able to cut the margin in half with a par on the 11th hole, Van Paris won the next two holes, and held his two-hole lead with four holes to play. Dobbelaar, who moves to No. 5 in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Amateur Ranking
, was able to even the match with a par on the 15th hole, and a birdie on the par-5 16th, squaring the match with two holes to play.
Both golfers carded pars on the par-3 17th and par-4 18th, sending the final match to extra holes.
On the first playoff hole, Van Paris found the sand and native wire grass on the left side of hole No. 1, while Dobbelaar found the left side of the fairway. Dobbelaar went long on his approach, while Van Paris left his second shot short of the green, and then went long on his third shot. Van Paris would go on to make bogey on the first hole, while Dobbelaar’s par was good enough to claim the Men’s North & South Amateur title. He becomes the first international-born player to claim the historic amateur title since Martin Ureta (Santiago, Chile) in 2004.
Pinehurst No. 2 has proven to be friendly confines for those who “come from a land down under,” as the 2019 Women’s North & South Amateur was won by Dobbelaar’s fellow Aussie Gabriela Ruffels
, and New Zealand’s Michael Campbell won the 2005 U.S. Open Championship.
So far this summer, Dobbelaar has played in three of America's most historic majors (the Dogwood, Sunnehanna, and North & South) and has won two. His American tour continues with a visit to the Monroe Invitational which begins in three days' time.
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