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North & South: Late drama as two juniors advance to final eight
Ben James (Credit: Matt Gibson)
Ben James (Credit: Matt Gibson)

In what was meant to be a day where four players would emerge from two rounds of match play turned into a lighting delayed quarterfinal round, which will continue on Saturday morning.

However, the round of 16 was rife with drama and close finishes.

It took the full 18 holes for Luke Clanton to beat Karl Vilips 1 up. Clanton has enjoyed some success in the Pinehurst area in the past. At age 12 he shot a 63 on course No. 2 in the Van Horn Cup. His U.S. Amateur debut was at Pinehurst in 2019. He ended up on the short side of a 27 for 3 playoff to make match play, but he's right at home this week.

Clanton won holes 8, 10, and 12 to flip a 1 down deficit into a 2 up lead that he never relinquished. Clanton would love to add a North & South Putterboy trophy to his Azalea victory earlier this spring.

The Ford brothers hopes of a semi-final match were dashed early on Friday morning, as Maxwell Ford lost to Ben Woodruff, a rising senior at UNC Charlotte 4 and 3. Woodruff came out blazing hot, making birdied on three of the first four holes. Ford could only battle back to as close as 2 down.

David Ford fared better than his brother in his match against Evan Vo. It was a nip and tuck battle the entire way. A birdie on the 12th hole gave Ford a two hole lead that he maintained the rest of the way, clinching a 2 and 1 victory on the 17th green.

Ben James, one of the best junior golfers in the world, had a rollercoaster battle with Ross Steelman. James shot an impressive 34 on the front nine, four strokes better than Steelman, but he only had a two up lead at the turn. Steelman ran off three straight birdies on hole Nos. 9-12 to wrestle back the lead as James could only muster pars on the same stretch.

James pulled the match back to square with a birdie on the 17th hole and won the match on the 20th hole.

Tommy Morrison took advantage in the early stages of the back nine against Caleb Surratt. It appeared the match would be close to the end, then Morrison won holes 10, 12, 13, and 14 to grab a 4 up lead and cruise to a 3 and 2 win.

Nick Lyerly and Maxwell Moldovan won their respective matches 1 up. Moldovan never trailed in his match. Lyerly made the turn 1 down and won two holes on the back to win his match on the 18th green.

The most dramatic match of the round was between Bryant Davis and Evans Lewis. Lewis didn't trail in the whole match until Davis' birdie putt tumbled into the hole on the 18th hole. Davis birdied the final two holes to turn a 1 down deficit into a 1 up victory and a birth into the quarterfinals.

Round of 16 results:

No. 16 Luke Clanton d. No. 1 Karl Vilips, 1up

No. 8 David Ford d. No. 9 Evan Vo, 2&1

No. 13 Ben Woodruff d. No. 4 Maxwell Ford, 4&3

No. 21 Nick Lyerly d. No. 5 Jackson Koivun, 1up

No. 15 Ben James d. No. 2 Ross Steelman, 20 holes

No. 10 Thomas Morrison d. No. 7 Caleb Surratt, 3&2

No. 30 Maxwell Moldovan d. No. 14 Ian Siebers, 1up

No. 6 Davis Bryant d. No. 11 Evans Lewis, 1up

Results: North & South Amateur
WinFLLuke ClantonMiami Lakes, FL1000
Runner-upTXTommy MorrisonDallas, TX700
SemifinalsNCNick LyerlySalisbury, NC500
SemifinalsOHMaxwell MoldovanUniontown, OH500
QuarterfinalsGADavid FordPeachtree Corners, GA400

View full results for North & South Amateur

ABOUT THE North & South Amateur

The North & South Amateur Championship is the longest consecutively run amateur tournament in the United States. Its past winners list includes names like Walter Travis, Francis Ouimet, Billy Joe Patton, Jack Nicklaus and Curtis Strange. The field is made up of invited players as well as open applications. Two rounds of stroke play are followed by five rounds of match play (32 qualifiers) to determine the Champion. All stroke & match play rounds are contested on Pinehurst No. 2.

View Complete Tournament Information

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