Courtesy of Carolinas Golf Association
There’s nothing quite like an 18-hole sprint Championship to start the new year off on the right foot.
After heavy storms swept through Pinehurst on Monday, the 13th playing of the Carolinas Young Amateur Championship turned into an abbreviated shootout, with a loaded field delivering at the top of the leaderboard in both the Men’s and Women’s Divisions.
In the Women’s Division, it was Jodee Tindal
of Rock Hill, S.C. who won in an exciting two-hole playoff, as she outlasted her College of Charleston teammate Emma Schimpf of Daniel Island, S.C.
“Emma is one of my best friends,” said Tindal. “I knew she was gonna birdie one of the last just because she’s so clutch. We have contests back at school all the time. I was kind of hoping to play her in a playoff. It’s the memories that matter the most.”
Tindal turned in a score of 3-over-par, 75 at Pinewild’s Magnolia Course, and collected three birdies on her round. This win gives Tindal her seventh CGA victory.
“This tournament is very mental,” said Tindal. “The weather is bad and I just tried to stay steady. I wasn’t amazing today, but I was able to hang in there.”
Tindal now begins to enter rarified air in the women’s side of amateur golf in the Carolinas as she moves into the top-10 all-time in CGA Championships.
“I have a lot of gratitude towards my dad and also my boyfriend Jack for helping me get some of those wins,” said Tindal. “Those are super memorable because I get to do that with people that I love.”
This is also Tindal’s second career Young Amateur victory, as she also came away with Championship honors in 2019.
“I love this tournament so much,” said Tindal. “All my friends from college and I play this to stay in the game. It’s really great y’all put this on for us just so we don’t completely lose tournament feel over break.”
Schimpf had an excellent day as well at Pinewild, as she fired a 3-over-par, 75. She earned her spot into the Women’s Division playoff with style, birdieing her final hole to match Tindal.
In the Men’s Division, it was more of the same, as regulation was not enough and more free golf commenced at Pinewild. In a playoff that lasted four holes and at the beginning included three players, Symon Balbin
of Pinehurst, N.C. was able to rise above his competitors and take home his first-ever CGA victory.
“It feels so great because I haven’t been playing the best over the past year,” said Balbin. “To finally get it to click in with all the hard work you put in feels really good.”
Balbin was, to put it simply, impressive during his round on the Magnolia course. Birdies on holes two, three, eight, nine, 11 and 13 saw him record a scorching six birdies on his day and finish with a 2-under-par, 70.
“With it being an 18-hole tournament, it’s kind of a free for all,” said Balbin. “You just have to go as low as you can and try to get the most out of your shots. Some of the tees were moved up so it was a bit more gettable.”
Alex Heffner of Harrisburg, N.C. and Jack Parrott of Columbia, S.C. would join him at 2-under-par to force the playoff.
“I was so nervous,” said Balbin. “I know Alex and Jack are both really good players, I’ve played with them a lot.”
After Parrott faltered on the first playoff hole, Balbin and Heffner went back and forth over the next three holes. Balbin outlasted Heffner with a gritty par make on the fourth playoff hole for his first CGA Championship title.
“It feels good going into the college season and the rest of the tournaments for the school year with a win,” said Balbin. “It’s great to start off with a bang.”