Jackson Van Paris shot a 9-under 61 in the second round and did enough to fend off a host of challengers down the stretch, winning the 82nd Sunnehanna Amateur on Saturday at Sunnehanna Country Club in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The Sunnehanna was the first tournament of the Elite Amateur Golf Series, a seven-event summer series that offers top finishers exemptions into professional events.
A rising junior at Vanderbilt, Van Paris opened the event with a 1-over 71 that put him seven strokes back of first-round leader Herman Sekne. But after following it up with nine birdies and nine pars in round two, Van Paris gained control of the lead and never relinquished it, closing with 68-67 for a one-stroke victory over Ohio State’s Neal Shipley.
Van Paris, from Pinehurst, North Carolina, came into the final day with a four-stroke cushion. The tournament was hampered by rain – unlucky timing given a long dry spell before the tournament – and required completion of the third round before the fourth round could begin. The final group was only on the seventh hole when play was called Friday night, necessitating a 30-hole Saturday marathon.
The lead would be trimmed during the rest of the third round, and Van Paris went 1-over through the first five holes of his final round to lose the firm control he had at the start of the day. However, eagles on the par-4 sixth and par-5 11th pushed him to 13-under standing on the 12th tee. Shipley, who opened with five birdies in his first 11 holes, got to one shot back. Luke Clanton of Florida State also got to 12-under with five holes remaining but made two late bogeys and settled for a tie for fourth.
Van Paris made a bogey on No. 12 but backed it up with birdies on Nos. 13 and 15. Meanwhile, Shipley made a bogey on No. 15 but made a birdie on No. 17 to get within two strokes heading to the 72nd hole.
Shipley’s final birdie putt slid by the hole, meaning Van Paris didn’t need to convert his par putt. Van Paris made a closing bogey to finish at 13-under 267, one clear of Shipley and two ahead of Sebastian Moss, who concluded with a 7-under 63.
This is a big victory for Van Paris, a highly touted junior golfer who has yet to play a starring role on the talented Vanderbilt golf team. He came into the week ranked No. 123 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and only played in five college tournaments his entire sophomore year. It’s the most meaningful win for Van Paris since the 2020 Junior Invitational at Sage Valley.
The next Elite Amateur Golf Series tournament will be this week’s Northeast Amateur at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rumford, Rhode Island.
Davis Bryant of Aurora, Colorado, shot a 6-under 66 in the final round to erase a five-stroke deficit and successfully defend his title on Saturday in the 108th Southwestern Amateur at Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Bryant, who plays at Colorado State, tracked down LSU’s Luke Haskew in what was a two-man race to the finish. Haskew bogeyed both par-5s on the opening side during the final round, bounced back with birdies at Nos. 11 and 12, but had costly bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17. Bryant was nearly flawless, making six birdies in his first 15 holes, but after a bogey on No. 17, he still needed a birdie at the last to hold off Haskew.
Bryant finished at 22-under 266, one clear of Haskew. He came into the week ranked No. 146 in the WAGR and had not won since last year’s Southwestern Am.
In the women’s Southwestern Amateur, Sophie Zhang-Murphy of Saratoga, California, shot 14-under 274 to edge Camille Boyd by one stroke. Zhang-Murphy, a rising sophomore at Princeton University, shot all four rounds in the 60s (69-69-68-68) to outpace the field.
Germany’s Chiara Horder produced a stunning weekend display to triumph in the 120th Women’s Amateur Championship at Prince’s Golf Club in Sandwich, England.
The 20-year-old, who recently completed her sophomore season at Texas Tech, trounced American Annabelle Pancake, 7 and 6, in the scheduled 36-hole final through a combination of her own fine play and nerves from her opponent. Horder had earned the opportunity to land the first major amateur title
of her career thanks to an upset of the world No. 1-ranked Swede Ingrid Lindblad, 4 and 3, in the semifinals.
With the victory, Horder earns starts in this year’s Amundi Evian Championship and AIG Women’s Open plus next year’s Chevron Championship and U.S. Women’s Open. She also will receive an invitation to the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
Sean Fairholm and Matt Cooper