The 59th Asheboro City Amateur got underway today when Pinewood Country Club hosted the annual Shootout event pitting the top ten finishers from the previous city amateur. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, this year’s field included the top ten from 2019.
The event started with a bang when 9 of the 10 competitors hit their tee shots in playing position. With all the others in play, Josh Turner lost his drive to the right near the cart path on 18. His low punch shot sailed long over the green and the Big Man failed to get it up and down for par and was the first victim.
On 11, the entire field hit the fairway or rough. 6 of those 9 found the green. Steve Kidd came up short left in the sand, Ryan Hutchins missed pin high right in the first cut, and rookie shootout contestant Josh Spell found the right bunker. Spell’s bunker shot was not his best, and Kidd left his explosion 20 feet short. Hutchins 3 putted and Spell and Kidd made bogeys and they all headed to a chip off. After a lackluster chip from Kidd started it off, the other two safely hit their chips and advanced.
Hole 3 (#12)
On the long par 3, 12th only one player hit the green, Zach Green’s iron shot came up 7 feet left of the pin. After several players struggled to get the ball in the hole, Chris Brown and Nick Cromer had a chip off with Cromer advancing.
After a lengthy and explosive rain delay, play resumed on hole 13. All the players were safe off the tee save for Ryan Hutchins. He blew his tee ball right and had to punch out. The rest of the field made 4 or 5 and Hutch was eliminated with a double.
On 14, playing from the back tees, most players were forced to hit a long iron into the green. Davidson hit his drive right, a foreshadowing of things to come, and was forced to pitch it down in front of the green. After the dust cleared there was a chip-off between Sam Davidson, Josh Spell, and Gary Pugh. After Pugh caught his chip a tad thin, he was eliminated.
With 5 players left, the pressure was on. Tee shots here were no issue but the approach shots were a different story. Campbell and Green both came up short with their approach but even after Green canned a tough 6-foot bogey putt, it was just not enough as the rising UNC sophomore was eliminated.
The reachable par 5, 16th was going to be a pivotal hole. All 4 guys hit the tee shot in play and Davidson and Spell reached the green in 2. Nic Cromer hit the shot of the day with a nifty pitch to about 3 inches. After Spell, Davidson, and Cromer made birdie, Jeremy Campbell’s par was out.
The devilish par 3, 17th brought some theatrics. When the three players reached the tee, Chad Clark added a wrinkle to the shot. He threw down a hundred dollar bill for the closest to the pin. Davidson was the lone green in regulation taking the cash with Spell just off the left front fringe. “I didn’t really even know about that, I thought Chad was joking…” Davidson said in amusement…..then, Cromer, playing from the left rough hits a solid shot. His 15 footer came up short and after Spell made bogey, we headed to another chip-off. Spell survived with a super chip and then there were two.
With the tees up on 18, it would be a go for it par 5. Sam Davidson said “I was trying to hit the center of the fairway, but ended up hitting a block cut”…..his drive to the right ended up close to the rough on the 10th hole. “I just set up down the left side of the fairway and swung hard and it came up good” Spell said. That was a good swing thought because he bombed it down the right-center and had 147 yards in. With a little opening to hit through, Davidson was hoping to get it in the front bunker for an easy up and down. His shot came up a bit short. Spell then hit a tasty ¾ nine iron to 15 feet for his eagle attempt. Davidson, the Guilford College rising sophomore then hit his approach a bit thin but kept it in the back fringe. “Just caught it a bit thin” Davidson said…then, his must make birdie attempt went sailing 5 feet by. With Davidson looking at par, Spell only needed a 2 putt to win. Instead, he was thinking make….. ”it was small left to righter and I hadn’t made many today” Spell recalled…. he then calmly stroked in the putt and the eagle had landed. Congrats to all the participants and a job well done to the 2021 City Am Shootout Champion, Josh Spell.