Chapel Hill: Sports

Griffin qualifies for U.S. Amateur

Ben Griffin will enter his sophomore year with UNC’s varsity golf team this fall.
Ben Griffin will enter his sophomore year with UNC’s varsity golf team this fall.

Playing in temperatures approaching 100 last week, UNC sophomore Ben Griffin fired a seven-under-par 65 to tie Clemson’s Miller Capps for medalist honors in qualifying for the upcoming U.S. Amateur championship of golf.

Both finished with 36-hole totals of 136 and earned the only two spots available in the sectional qualifier hosted last Monday by Benvenue Country Club in Rocky Mount. Capps shot two rounds of 68, while Griffin was tied for sixth place heading into the final 18 holes after carding a 71 in the first round.

“The heat started to get to me at the start of the second round, but I just tried to stay hydrated and eat as much as I could,” Griffin said. “There were several contestants that withdrew because of the heat, and I was happy to be able to keep focus and survive.”

Brock Ochsenreiter of Nashville, Tenn., also shot a 136 total, but lost out on the second hole of a playoff and was assigned the first alternate’s spot for the Amateur.

The USGA’s 2016 U.S. Amateur Championship will be conducted Aug. 15-21 at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Griffin, a two-time N.C. High School champion, qualified for last year’s U.S. Amateur at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club by finishing tied for second at a sectional qualifier in Southern Pines in 2015, the same year he was a quarterfinalist at the North and South Amateur in Pinehurst.

“I am really looking forward to making my second appearance at the U.S. Amateur,” Griffin said. “A solid finish would be great for my confidence heading into the season.”

Griffin finished his freshman year at UNC with a stroke average of 71.06, the lowest in a season since the program first recorded stats in 1979.