Davis Thompson

Georgia's Davis Thompson is pictured at the 2017 Carmel Cup in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by John Weast)

With two days left in the Pinehurst, North Carolina, North & South Amateur golf tournament, Georgia junior Davis Thompson is making a run for the title.

The No. 4 amateur in the world booked a 3-under 67 and a 1-under 69 in the first two rounds to tie for sixth overall in the 120-golfer field. 

Thompson’s June 30 scorecard was relatively straightforward. With one bogey on both the front and back nine, he didn’t display the fireworks brought by Matthew Sharpstene, who set a course record with his 6-under 64, but his five-birdie effort created a solid buffer before the final preliminary round.

July 1 was more of a rollercoaster. A triple bogey on the par-three sixth threatened to derail his tournament as the junior Bulldog was three-over through six holes. Seemingly unfazed, he parred the next two and stemmed the bleeding with a timely 9th hole eagle to close out the front nine at 1-over 36. 

On the backside, a bogey on the 11th was Thompson’s final dip before he erased the deficit with back-to-back birdies on holes 16 and 17 to finish under par for the day.

Thursday began head-to-head match play in which competitors battled for each hole against one other golfer. Thompson played against Evan Davis, a Belmont junior who’d shot an even 140 over the first two days.

Davis put up more resistance than his preliminary play and his world No. 466 ranking predicted. He took an early two-hole lead over Thompson, who cut it to one by winning the par-three sixth.

Yet Davis’ lead stuck, and although Thompson won the par-four 14th, he trailed by three holes with as many remaining.

Thompson had to shoot lower than Davis on each of the final three holes to force a playoff and avoid elimination. He rose to the occasion, taking birdies on holes 16 and 18 to leave the duo tied at the end of regulation. 

After trailing for 89% of the match, Thompson’s par in the first playoff hole beat Davis’ double bogey and earned him the round win.

Thompson is one of the final 16 golfers still in the hunt for the North & South title. He tees off at 7:08 a.m Friday against William Holcomb V, ranked No. 131 among amateurs. The winner between the pair will advance to the tournament quarterfinals scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. 

Georgia junior Spencer Ralston, who competed at the June 18-21 RBC Heritage, also played at Pinehurst this week. He finished 4-over 74 and 3-over 73 in the preliminary rounds to miss the match play cut.