VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. – Peter Williamson came to Pinehurst with hopes of establishing his name among the top amateurs in golf.
As the champion of the 112th North and South Amateur, he’s done so much more.
Williamson, the three-time Ivy League champion, capped a brilliant week of golf with a flawless performance in the final match against Clemson’s Thomas Bradshaw, winning 4 & 3 on famed Pinehurst No. 2 to etch his name in the annals of golf history.
Over the past century, the best in the golf world have vied for the North and South’s coveted Putter Boy Trophy. The winners now serve as legends in the game -- Walter Travis, Billy Joe Patton, Jack Nicklaus, Curtis Strange, Corey Pavin and Davis Love II, among others. The longest consecutive running amateur championship in the United States, it continues to draw the best in amateur golf circles.
“It’s neat. It’s pretty cool to be associated with those names,” said Williamson. “There’s a lot more golf ahead of me, and hopefully I can get to the Open that will be here in a couple of years and play on the professional circuit someday. I’ll take one step at a time, but this is a great start.”
And Williamson fits right in after as dominating a performance the championship has seen.
The self-taught player never relinquished the honor on the tee box in the final match. He did not make a bogey, made the turn in 3-under 32 after a string of birdies from holes 2-4, and needed just two more holes after his fourth birdie of the day, a 5-footer on the 13th, to close out a game Bradshaw.
“He was flawless. Just flawless,” said Bradshaw, a rising senior at Clemson who was making his second appearance at the North and South. “I think it was a butt-whuppin’. I was around par all day and wasn’t playing that bad. But Peter never made a mistake.”
The final match featured a high level of golf, particularly to start. Neither player showed much in the way of nerves, with Williamson taking the lead he would never relinquish after making a 25-foot birdie from off the fringe on the second hole.
With Williamson 1-up, both made birdie at the short par-4 third hole. They then again halved with a birdie on the par-5 4th. Combined, the finalists were 5 under through four holes, but Williamson still led by just one hole.
“I was 2 under and 1 down,” quipped Bradshaw. “I was like, ‘Something isn’t right.’”
“It was an incredible start,” Williamson said of the two of them. “For a while I thought the round was going to be a birdie binge. I bet that’s not said very much around Pinehurst.”
The consistent Williamson never strayed from his conservative game plan on No. 2, aiming for the centers of Donald Ross’ treacherous turtleback greens. While Bradshaw managed to scramble during the middle of the round – he made three par putts of 8 feet or longer – to stay close, Williamson kept methodically marking down pars, keeping Bradshaw from gaining any momentum.
“If I didn’t make bogey, I knew it was going to be tough for him to come back,” Williamson said. “I believed before the match that if somebody could get 18 pars on No. 2, they couldn’t lose.”
Williamson was even better than that. His 10th par on the par-3 15th hole earned him the title of champion of the prestigious event.
Williamson, who was the medalist after three rounds of stroke play on Pinehurst No. 8 earlier in the championship, defeated former top-ranked NCAA Division-II golfer Matt Ewald 2 & 1 in the morning semifinal round. Bradshaw knocked off 2011 North and South Runner-up David Erdy 4 & 2 in his semifinal match to advance to the championship final.
Like Erdy, Bradshaw said he will return to the North and South.
“I love coming to Pinehurst,” he said. “This is a special place. I’m looking forward to coming back next year.”
112th North and South Amateur
Pinehurst No. 2
Saturday, July 7, 2012
1 Peter Williamson def. 4 Matt Ewald 2 & 1
6 Thomas Bradshaw def. 7 David Erdy 4 & 2
1 Peter Williamson def. 6 Thomas Bradshaw 4 & 3