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Charlotte native hoping to break through at N.C. Amateur golf tournament

Tradition is important in Bailey Patrick Jr.’s family, as evidence he is the fourth Patrick in as many generations to be named Bailey.

He also joined nearly his entire father’s side of the family in attending college at the University of North Carolina. That’s after following his father, grandfather, two siblings and four cousins in enrolling at Episcopal High in Alexandria, Va.

And finally, the the Charlotte native plays golf, same as much of his family does.

Thursday at Carolina Golf Club, Patrick will be one of 141 golfers in the field for the 54th North Carolina Amateur Championship in his hometown.

But it all began when Patrick’s father got 5-year-old Bailey started at Charlotte Country Club. Soon afterward, it was clear the young Patrick was better than the rest of his family.

In his junior year of high school, Patrick won the Virginia State Independent Schools championship and tied for medalist honors. Two months later, he committed to play college golf at North Carolina.

Although he was the best golfer in his family by high school, Patrick saw a big leap in his play once he reached college.

“I played football and basketball too, so I didn’t really focus on golf until college,” Patrick said. “I tried to stay well rounded in sports, and I’ve really had a very steady progression in golf, especially since I’ve been able to focus on it in college.”

And the results speak for themselves. After his freshman year at North Carolina, Patrick finished fifth at the 2012 North Carolina Amateur Championship, his best finish in a tournament at the time. In last year’s tournament, he shot a 64 in the final round – his lowest competitive round ever – to finish in a tie for second, one stroke out of a playoff.

But despite his rise through the years – including earning a spot at the U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier last week and a familiarity with the Carolina Golf Club (a course he’s played about 10 times), Patrick hopes to temper his expectations for this week’s N.C. Amateur.

“I definitely have high expectations, but expectations can be a difficult thing in golf because you play your best when you’re most free and not thinking about expectations,” said Patrick, who will start his round on the back nine at on Thursday afternoon. “I’ve actually found that my best tournaments come when I’m not expecting a whole lot.”