19th Hole: Hot Britt Second In N.C. Amateur
Sherrill Britt, the West End resident who has been playing some of the best golf of his career this spring, came within one stray tee shot of winning the 50th North Carolina Amateur Championship last weekend.
Britt, a building contractor and a former golf professional who is a multiple winner of the Moore County Amateur, had built a three-shot lead over the first three rounds of the event being played at Wilson Country Club.
But the errant tee shot on the course’s No. 1 handicap hole opened the door for Ryan Heisey, of Greensboro, and the 23-year-old birdied the final hole for a 64 to set the all-time lowest 72-hole score in the history of the championship with an 11-under-par 269.
Britt was at 11-under for the championship until an out-of-bounds tee shot led to a triple bogey on the par-4 12th hole. Despite the misfortune, Britt battled back with birdies on 16 and 17 heading to the 396-yard par-4 18th hole. He finished at 270 with rounds of 68-66-67-69.
Heisey, playing in front of Britt, had just holed his birdie to take a one-stroke lead. Britt hit the green in regulation but his 40-foot birdie attempt fell just inches short, sealing the win for Heisey, a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Heisey carded five birdies and had a chip-in eagle on the par-5 seventh hole versus only one bogey, but admitted that he survived a scare early in the match.
“I hit my tee shot right on the second hole toward out of bounds,” he said. “Then I hit a provisional ball left that we never found, so I was lucky that my first ball was in bounds.”
He went on to make birdie on the 470-yard par-4 hole.
Heisey said he never really knew how he stood throughout the round, although he had an inkling that he was in contention with the “attention” he was receiving.
“I thought I had gagged it on the 15th with the bogey but was able to bounce back by making birdie on the last two holes,” he said.
With the victory, Heisey gains possession of the Billy Joe Patton Trophy and receives a 10-year exemption into the North Carolina Amateur Championship and a five-year exemption into all other individual CGA championships in which he is eligible.
Defending champion Mark McMillen, of Smithfield, shot a 1-over-par 71 for a total of 282 to finish in a tie for 18th place.
Paul Simson, of Raleigh, and Adam Stephenson, of Greenville, tied for third with 273. Jack Fields, of Southern Pines, a rising junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, tied for fifth with Skip Taylor, of Flat Rock, with 275. Michael McGowan, of Southern Pines, who will be a sophomore at UNC, tied for 22nd with 283.
The inaugural North Carolina Amateur Championship was played at the Willard Byrd-designed Wilson Country Club course in 1961.
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