Local golf: Near miss for Lyerly in North Carolina Amateur
RALEIGH — Former East Rowan standout Nick Lyerly made a strong bid to win the North Carolina Amateur for the second time on Sunday.
Lyerly tied for first after four rounds at the Lonnie Poole Course at N.C. State, but lost on the first playoff hole (No. 18) to Nick Mathews. Lyerly shot 9-under for the tournament.
Lyerly made history on Father’s Day, June 19, 2016, when he won in Chapel Hill and became the youngest winner in tournament history. He was 17 then.
Now he’s 22 and a college graduate with a great career at UNC Greensboro under his belt. Lyerly still has two years of college eligibility after COVID disrupted the 2020 college season and limited the 2021 season. UNCG didn’t have a fall season this school year and Lyerly redshirted in the spring.
“So what it looks like right now is I’ll continue to play golf for UNCG as a grad student,” Lyerly said.
Lyerly opened the 61st edition of the North Carolina Amateur with a 73, but he got back into contention with a second-round 69. He shot 70 in the third round and was five shots off the pace entering the final day.
“I felt like I still had a pretty good chance,” Lyerly said. “The weather wasn’t supposed to be good, and I usually play pretty well in the rain. I thought the leaders might come back to me.”
And he very got hot in Sunday’s final round. He birdied the first four holes and added another birdie on No. 7 to zoom to the top of the leaderboard.
“I was hitting it close and converting on some putts,” Lyerly said.
Lyerly parred his last 11 holes to finish with a 5-under 67. Mathews birdied 16 and 17 to force a playoff.
Both golfers endured a weather delay before the playoff.
“My only bogey of the day was on that playoff hole,” Lyerly said. “Hit my worst iron shot of the day and then the worst chip of my life. Then my 20-footer for par lipped out. But I can’t be too disappointed. Anytime you’re in a playoff, it means you had a good tournament.”
Next for Lyerly and many of the top local golfers is the Rowan Masters that will be held at Warrior this weekend.
“I’m excited about it,” Lyerly said. “In the local tournaments, you know everybody. It’s kind of laid-back, but I still want to win.”
As the defending champion, Lyerly was exempt from qualifying and will be the No. 1 seed for the 32-player event.
There were some sizzling rounds in qualifying.
Ronald Otile, one of Livingstone College’s small army of Ugandan golfers, shot 65 for qualifying medalist honors and is the No. 2 seed.
Eric Edwards, former Salisbury and George Mason University standout, shot 66 and is seeded third.
Scott Fagg and Hank Robins were next in qualifying with 70s.
For all the qualifying scores, see Tuesday’s Scoreboard.
Lyerly plans to play in the North & South Men’s Amateur in Pinehurst right after the Rowan Masters.
Michael Childress is set to play in the 107th Carolinas Amateur at Biltmore Forest Country Club in Asheville on July 8-11.
Rowan Masters, Warrior
First round, Friday, June 25
(1) Lyerly vs. (32) Okwong
(16) Shoaf vs. (17) Braude
(8) Burkhart vs. (25) Mills
(9) Morgan vs. (24) Benfield
(4) Fagg vs. (29) Fowler
(13) Girard vs. (20) Lipe
(5) Robins vs. (28) Jakisa
(12) Hurd vs. (21) Baguma
(2) Otile vs. (31) Shackleford
(15) Kramer vs. (18) Hill
(7) Jones vs. (26) Mattila
(10) Cobb vs. (23) Lipe
(3) Edwards vs. (30) Lentz
(14) Perrino vs. (19) Debri
(6) Little vs. (27) Merrell
(11) Tucker vs. (22) Johns