John Eages, of Charlotte, N.C., calmly walked up to the first tee of famed Pinehurst No. 2 just after dawn this morning to start his first of two 18-hole rounds of stroke play, beginning the 119th U.S. Amateur, the oldest, toughest and most prestigious amateur golf championship in America.
Unlike most of the other college-aged competitors in the field this week, John is a 36-year-old businessman with a family that keeps him grounded. No stranger to going up against much younger players, John beat back some of the best college-level golfers on his way to winning the N.C. Amateur Championship in June.
A look at the practice green of Pinehurst No. 2 just after sunrise as the competitors warm up prior to their first round in the 119th U.S. Amateur.
The schedule of play is unique to all of golf because the championship is contested over seven days, and for the first time in its history, will be played on two courses, Pinehurst No. 2 and No. 4.
After stroke play on Monday and Tuesday, the field of 312 players, average age of 22 with handicaps lower than 2.4, will be cut to 64. Match play begins with 2 rounds on Wednesday and will end with a 36-hole championship match on Sunday.
Players, coaches and caddies make their final preparations on the practice putting green with the historic Pinehurst Resort and County Club in the background and steps away from the first tee of Pinehurst No. 2.
Tickets are $20 for a single-day and $100 for a week-long pass. More information on tickets is available at www.Pinehurst.com/2019-u-s-amateur.
Feature photo: John Eages of Charlotte, N.C. hits the first tee ball of the 119th U.S. Amateur on Pinehurst No. 2 at 7:15 a.m this morning. A large billboard placed by the USGA depicts famous winner of the event of the years – Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Bryson DeChambeau and Viktor Hovland.
~Written and photos by Sandhills Sentinel Sports Reporter/Photographer John Patota.