(Reuters) – Rank outsider Andy Ogletree became the first player from Mississippi to win the U.S. Amateur Championship when he beat John Augenstein 2&1 in an all-American final in North Carolina on Sunday.
Ogletree survived a dreadful start to claw his way to victory, booking his place in three of the game’s four major championships in 2020.
In a battle of two 21-year-olds, he did not hit the front until the 32nd hole in a final which for the first time was played on two courses, Pinehurst No. 2 and No. 4.
Ogletree was four-down after only five holes, but went into lunch with some positive thoughts, only two-down after sinking an 18-foot putt from the fringe to win the 18th hole.
“To be honest I didn’t play that bad,” he said of his slow start. “John just got off to a great start.
“It’s a long day, 36 holes is a lot of golf and you can’t really beat yourself up over the first six. I knew if I just kept hitting fairways and greens and putting myself in position it would work out.”
Ogletree started the week ranked outside the top 100 in the world amateur rankings.
The victory earns him spots in next year’s Masters, U.S. Open and British Open, while runner-up Augenstein will be consoled by invitations to the Masters and U.S. Open.
Previous winners of the championship include Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer and Bobby Jones.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)