Even though he’s got a year remaining with Pinehurst High School’s boys golf team, Joshua Martin is already racking up trophies as one of the state’s top golfers.
Martin added a big one to his trophy case Sunday, rallying past Charlotte’s Bailey Patrick Jr., a rising senior who plays for North Carolina, after a rain delay to win his first N.C. Amateur Championship.
Martin, 17, shot a 4-under-par 67 during Sunday’s final round at the Carolina Golf Club in Charlotte to finish the four-day tournament at 14-under 270, three strokes ahead of Patrick.
That made Martin – who has committed to play for the Tar Heels beginning in 2015 – the youngest winner of the N.C. Amateur in the tournament’s 54-year history.
“This means a lot, seeing all those great champions on there,” said Martin, pointing to the 3 1/2-foot-tall N.C. Amateur champions’ trophy, which carries the names of all the past winners.
“It’s an honor that I’m going to be on there. There’s some great players on there like (Gastonia native) Harold Varner III (who won the N.C. Amateur title in 2011).”
Patrick, who tied for second in last year’s N.C. Amateur, took a two-shot lead into Sunday’s final round, and increased it to three strokes over Martin after three birdies and a bogey on the front nine holes.
Then came the rain delay, which kept the golfers off the course for nearly 21/2 hours. The rainfall – more than six-tenths of an inch, according to tournament officials – also softened up the greens and fairways.
That’s also when the tournament swung for Martin and Patrick.
Patrick bogeyed No. 10 to cut his lead to two shots, and Martin pulled within one stroke with a birdie on No. 13. Then came the par-4 15th hole – Patrick picked up another bogey, while Martin birdied the hole to take a one-shot lead.
“I hit a really good shot (on No. 15), to within 20 feet, then I three-putted,” Patrick said. “(The greens) had been slower the four previous holes because of the rain, and I was just trying to make the putt. Instead, I just rammed it by the hole.”
Patrick had a chance to force a playoff, but a bad tee shot on No. 18 forced him to take a second shot to get the ball on the fairway. He wound up missing a 15-foot putt for par, while Martin sank an 8-foot birdie putt.
“I’ve come from behind to win before, but it’s definitely a different feeling being the one who’s chased,” said Patrick. “I’m really happy with the way I dealt with it, but Josh played great. He beat me.”