Neal Shipley is Pennsylvania Amateur champion
Neal Shipley (Credit: Pennsylvania GA)
Neal Shipley (Credit: Pennsylvania GA)

Neal Shipley made five birdies on his front nine en route to capturing the 109th Pennsylvania State Amateur Championship at Llanerch Country Club.

Shipley, representing St. Clair Country Club, knew he made up a lot of ground with his red-hot 30, where he made birdies on hole Nos. 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8.

“If you shoot just 1-under par on the front nine here, you’re probably getting ahead of the field,” said Shipley. “So my mindset was just to keep making birdies because every birdie would help me make up strokes on the field.”

The final round was a stark contrast to Shipley's second round where he shot 38 on the opening nine holes and finished with a 3-over par 73. His final round 67 was the round of the day on Wednesday.

Rij Patel and Nathan Piatt started the final round tied for the lead at 3-under par, four shots clear of Shipley. The leaders lost six shots to Shipley in the opening nine holes; however, they were both able to keep touch with Shipley.

After bogey on the 17th dropped him to 2-under par, Shipley had a big choice to make on the 18th tee.

Shipley had hit 3-wood on 18 in the first two rounds. He decided the conservative play was more prudent and hit 2-iron. His tee shot barely stayed in bounds on the right side of the hole. His pitch ended up just on the fringe about 20 feet away and he two-putted from there to make par and grab the clubhouse lead.

“I didn’t really hit that tee shot very well at all,” said Shipley. “But I hit a pretty good first putt to give myself a good look at par.”

The 18th wasn't as kind to Patel, who also hit his tee shot right. Unfortunately for Patel, his ball tumbled out of bounds. He went from a tie for the lead to even par and a tie for second place with Piatt. Piatt dropped shots hole Nos. 14 and 17 hole to fall off the pace and finish at even par.

“This is a culmination of a lot of hard work for me this summer,” said Shipley. “I’ve really been working on my ball-striking. I’ve learned a lot from some fellow college golf competitors, and trying to emulate what they do, and they’re all really good ball strikers.”

Shipley has had a solid summer. In addition to his Pennsylvania Amateur win he also triumphed in the West Penn Open. He'll also play his college golf at Ohio State as a grad transfer this year. The Buckeyes are getting a solid addition to the squad.

“It’s awesome to win this,” said Shipley. “I’ve worked so hard this summer and the State Am is always circled on the calendar. I played pretty well all week and grinded my way through.”

In the Team Championship, consisting of the best 2 of 3 scores for clubmates over rounds 1 and 2, Oakmont Country Club’s team of Piatt, Aidan Oehrle and Jimmy Meyers combined for a score of 2-under par to win the competition.

Results: Pennsylvania Amateur
1PANeal ShipleyPittsburgh, PA20068-73-67=208
T2MDRij PatelHunt Valley, MD10070-67-73=210
T2PANathan PiattPittsburgh, PA10069-68-73=210
T4PAJohn PetersCarlisle, PA5074-69-68=211
T4PAAmani D'AmbrosioCheswick, PA5072-69-70=211

View full results for Pennsylvania Amateur

ABOUT THE Pennsylvania Amateur

First played in 1909, the Pennsylvania Amateur is 54- hole stroke play event open to any male amateur golfer who is a member of a club belonging to the Pennsylvania Golf Association. Non exempt players must qualify through a sectional qualifying event a month prior. There will be a cut to the low 40 and ties after the second round.

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