The Country Club of North Carolina continues its rich championship lineage by hosting the 73rd U.S. Junior Amateur in July
The Country Club of North Carolina (CCNC) in Pinehurst, N.C., is gearing up to host the 73rd U.S. Junior Amateur from July 19-24. The record-setting 264-player field for this prestigious USGA event will feature many of the top junior golfers from across the globe, all vying to join the likes of Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, David Duval and Johnny Miller as former champions.
Established in 1963, CCNC is a member-owned, 2,000-acre facility renowned for its longleaf pines, three picturesque lakes and a pair of highly regarded championship golf venues. The Dogwood Course — which was designed by Ellis Maples and Willard Byrd, and renovated by Kris Spence in 2016 — will be the U.S. Junior Am’s main championship site. CCNC’s Cardinal Course, designed by Byrd and Robert Trent Jones Sr., and renovated by Arthur Hills, will serve as the stroke-play co-host course for the first two days of competition. This will be the first time the event has been contested over multiple golf courses.
CCNC is located less than a mile from Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, the site of three U.S. Open Championships and five future U.S. Opens, including in 2024. This summer’s U.S. Junior Am at CCNC will be the 34th USGA championship and first U.S. Junior Amateur contested in the Tar Heel State. In 2022, the U.S. Women’s Open will be played at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines.
CCNC continues to add to its already impressive championship lineage. The U.S. Junior Amateur is the third USGA championship to be conducted at the club. In 1980, future PGA Tour standout Hal Sutton defeated Bob Lewis Jr., 9 and 8, to capture the U.S. Amateur at CCNC. Sutton’s victory capped a spectacular summer in which he won the Western Amateur, North & South Amateur and Northeast Amateur, and also helped the USA capture the World Amateur Team Championship.
CCNC also becomes the 16th site to have hosted both the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Girls’ Junior. In 2010, Doris Chen won the U.S. Girls’ Junior at CCNC, rallying in the afternoon round to post a 3-and-2 victory over Katelyn Dambaugh.
Back in 1971, CCNC debuted a PGA Tour event. In the time since, the club has played host to seven Southern Amateurs, four Carolinas Amateurs and seven North Carolina Amateurs — compiling a virtual Who’s Who of former champions including Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Webb Simpson, Scott Hoch and Len Mattiace.
The U.S. Professional Match Play Championship was the PGA Tour event that made its debut at CCNC in the early 1970s. DeWitt Weaver captured the 1971 Liggett & Myers Open Match Play Championship at CCNC and a young Nicklaus was victorious at the 1972 U.S. Professional Match Play Championship.
From Wikipedia: “The event was first played as the Liggett & Myers Open Match Play Championship in 1971 at The Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst. The field of 64 players in 1971 consisted of the winners of tour events from the previous 12 months and the leaders from the 1971 money list. The tournament was played in medal match play. The purse in 1971 was $267,500 with $35,000 going to the winner.
“For 1972, the tournament, now called the U.S. Professional Match Play Championship, was held in conjunction with the Liggett & Myers Open. Eight players were exempt into the field of 16 with the other eight players being the leaders after the first two rounds of the Liggett & Myers Open. The tournament was played on Saturday and Sunday, two rounds each day, concurrently with the final two rounds of the Liggett & Myers Open. The tournament was played at normal match play. The purse in 1972 was $150,000 with $40,000 going to the winner. Losers in the first round received $5,000, or more than the fourth-place finisher in the Liggett & Myers Open.”
The Southern Amateur, meanwhile, is one of the country’s longest-running amateur golf tournaments, organized by the Southern Golf Association and played since 1902. From 1902 to 1963, the event was contested as match play. Since 1964, it’s been stroke play.
From 1971 through 2017, CCNC played host to the Southern Amateur seven times. Demonstrating all the legendary talent that competed at CCNC’s first Southern Amateur in 1971, the New York Times wrote: “Ben Crenshaw, the National Collegiate champion from the University of Texas, shot a par 72 today and won the Southern Amateur golf tournament with a 281 total by four strokes.
“Gary Koch, an 18‐year‐old University of Florida sophomore, had birdies on two of the last three holes to finish with a 73 and take second place. Dale Morey of High Point, N.C., tied with Crenshaw after 54 holes, shot a 78, dropping to a third‐place tie at 287. He was deadlocked with a Walker Cup player, Tom Kite of Austin, Tex., who finished with a 71. Vinnie Giles, another Walker Cup player from Richmond, Va., closed with 75 for fifth place at 289.”
A pair of Wake Forest Demon Deacons and future PGA Tour competitors later captured Southern Amateurs at CCNC, Mattiace in 1985 and Simpson in 2007.
Simpson, a Raleigh native and the 2012 U.S Open champion, is the honorary chairman of the 2021 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. Simpson grew up playing at CCNC and has spearheaded a local youth tournament at the club called the Webb Simpson Challenge. He will be involved with pre-championship activities, as well as player and club-related functions during the competition dates.
“As the honorary chairman, I’m glad to provide as much assistance to the players and CCNC as I can,” said Simpson, who competed in two U.S. Junior Amateurs and advanced to the quarterfinals in 2003. “The Simpson family is excited about the Junior Amateur coming to North Carolina and getting to know the players and their families during this great event.”
From 1965 through 1979, CCNC hosted the North Carolina Amateur seven times. Hoch won the event in 1979, the final time it was contested at CCNC.
CCNC was also selected to host the ACC Men’s Golf Championship in 2023. “This tournament is generally televised and will give CCNC more national exposure,” said Tom Beddow, CCNC club president. “Overall, we believe this will be another great golf experience for the club. (CCNC) has a great number of members who have played on the golf teams of the universities involved, and many members are alumni of ACC schools.”
The 2021 U.S. Junior Amateur will receive at least four hours of live network coverage from CCNC. Golf Channel will air semifinal matches on Friday and the championship match on Saturday. Times will be announced at a later date.
“The Country Club of North Carolina is honored to host the 2021 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship and to be among the prestigious clubs to host this wonderful event,” Beddow said. “CCNC has a great history and tradition of supporting amateur golf and we have the experience, infrastructure and a committed staff and group of volunteers who will help make this a memorable championship.”
Read about the 73rd U.S. Junior Amateur Championship here.