Blalock, Redding win North and South Jr. titles
Will Blalock wasn’t about to be threatened by playing in the final group as Will Grimmer, who a day earlier had set a Pinehurst record with a 59 on Pinehurst No. 1.
No, not Will Blalock. Not the Gastonia native whose former teacher, Mike Taylor, won the fourth North and South Junior Championship in 1982.
No, not Blalock, the N.C. State recruit who finished second in the 2011 North and South Junior, and who came back with an 11th-place finish last year.
No, not the 17-year-old who on Thursday capped his North and South Junior career without shooting a round over par in the prestigious junior championship. Eight rounds, all par or better.
And so it was fitting Blalock, even with Grimmer throwing a 59 at him, would find some way to not only win the 35th North and South Junior Championship, but do it with a three-day total of 15-under-par 198, four shots better than runner-up Cole Berman, five shots better than defending champion Kendrick Vinar, and six shots better than Grimmer, who turned the golf world upside down Wednesday when news spread of his 59.
“I’m the guy who beat the guy who shot 59,” Blalock said, clutching the iconic Putter Boy trophy to his chest. “Will (Grimmer) played great – I mean, he shot 59 – but he still wasn’t leading, and he never had the lead. It is kind of funny.”
Blalock, who did not have a three-putt all week and had just two bogeys total for the week, opened his championship with an 8-under 63 on Pinehurst No. 6, a round consisting of eight birdies and 10 pars. He made his two bogeys on No. 1 on Wednesday but still managed a 2-under 68, taking a two-shot lead into the final round. He led Grimmer by three through 36 holes as the tournament shifted to Pinehurst No. 5.
And while Grimmer was swept through a whirlwind of media attention over the next 24 hours, the 16-year-old from Cincinnati still managed to card a 1-under 71 to finish at 9-under 204. He was no match for Blalock, who closed with a 5-under 67 for a remarkable three-day total.
“I didn’t think about (the 59),” Blalock said. “I was just playing my own game.”
So, too, was Grimmer – as best he could.
“You know, I didn’t shoot 78 or 76,” he said. “I came back with a round under par on a tight golf course with tough pins at Pinehurst. I played really well and don’t feel like I really made a lot of mistakes. Will (Blalock) just played phenomenally.”
Still, Wednesday was a day Grimmer will never forget.
“I’ve never gotten more texts, e-mails and Facebook messages in my life,” he said. “And then I click on The Golf Channel (Wednesday) night and I see the interview I did with (Pinehurst Resort). I couldn’t believe that. I was like, “Oh my gosh. That’s me on TV.’
“It’s still cool to have gotten the attention of shooting 59. No one can ever take that away from me.”
Concord’s Anna Redding, 16, won the 35th North and South Junior Girls Championship, finishing as the lone player under par with a 1-under 212 following a third-round 73 on Pinehurst No. 1.
“This is the best win I’ve ever had,” she said. “It’s amazing. I still can’t believe it right now.”
Kayla Katterhenry and Rei Nakatani were second two strokes back with 1-over 214.