Comebacks Highlight N-S Junior Final Round
Brittany Altomare described playing golf at Pinehurst No. 2 on Wednesday as an amazing feeling.
The next day, the rising senior from Shrewsbury, Mass., and Justin Clement of Lexington, proudly raised Putter Boy trophies as the girls and boys champions of the 30th North and South Junior Championship.
On a steamy day that saw the temperatures reach the high 90s, the girls completed the 54-hole event on No. 5. Altomare passed defending champion Courtney McKim of Raleigh with birdies on the par three 13th and par five 14th holes. McKim bounced back to birdie 15, but Altomare, the No. 1 ranked junior girl in her home state (Golfweek-Titleist), hung on to post a 69 and gain a one-stroke victory.
"Once I hit the fairway on 18, that was a confidence booster," she said.
Altomare's three-day total was 71-71-69-211 compared to 70-71-71-212 for McKim. Third place Stani Schiavone of Bangor, Pa., was another eight strokes back.
The best result for a local golfer was 83-80-73-236 by Amanda D'Ostroph of Whispering Pines, a member of the 2007 Union Pines NCHSAA 3-A state champions.
On her first trip to Pinehurst, Altomare, also the 33rd ranked junior girl in the country, got caught up in the history of the place.
"Walking down the hallway of the clubhouse and seeing all those great names," she said, "it's great to be here."
Michael McGowan of Southern Pines, last year's runner-up in the boys' tournament, and the rest of the final day contenders, fell under the onslaught of a four-under par 67 by Clement on No. 2.
Also competing in his first North and South, the West Davidson High School rising senior began a breakthrough month by winning the North Carolina Junior Amateur in Greenville. During the course of match play in that event, he defeated defending champion Robert Hoadley of Southern Pines.
Trailing Mitch Gray of Florence, S.C., by two strokes at the start of the day on No. 2, Clement took the lead for good with birdies on the first, third and fourth holes. He was four under for the day through 10 holes.
"The heart was up there, and there was a lot of adrenalin pumping," he said. "I sort of started playing a lot more safely, trying not to give up any strokes."
Clement maintained a three-stroke or better lead the rest of the way. He wrapped things up with a birdie on the par five 16th, finishing at 10-under for the three days with scores of 69-69-67-205.
"I'm playing really well right now," he said. "To win two tournaments in a row like this, it's good stuff."
No. 2 was stretched out to 6,927 yards for the boys. Gray finished in second place with rounds of 69-67-73-209. Evan Beck of Virginia Beach, Va., was third with scores of 68-70-72-210. McGowan finished in a tie for 10th place with a final total of 69-72-75-216.
Sam Packard of Pinehurst, a member of Pinecrest's 4-A state championship team, recorded one of the six sub-par rounds at No. 2. He finished in a tie for 13th place after scores of 73-74-70-217.
Other results of local golfers included: Girls Darlea Carr, Pinehurst 79-85-77-241, Katie Roberts, Whispering Pines 86-79-85-250, Laura Kinsman, Whispering Pines 89-83-91-263; Boys Dylan Harris, Southern Pines 74-77-78-229, Austin Dunlap, Pinehurst 84-77-78-239.
Charlie Bergmann can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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