Pinehurst, N.C. – Georgia Tech senior golfer Tyler Strafaci captured the biggest amateur title of his career Saturday, winning the 120th North & South Amateur Championship with a 3&1 victory over William Holcomb V, a senior at Sam Houston State, in the championship match. Strafaci had reached the final with a 2&1 win over Jonathan Yaun of Liberty University in the semifinals.
With the victory, the Davie, Fla., senior won a title his grandfather, Frank, won in 1938 and 1939, and his father, Frank, Jr., competed for many years even into the 2000s. Frank, Jr., caddied for his son this week. Tyler and Frank, Sr., became the first grandfather and grandson to win the North & South. Strafaci also became the first Georgia Tech golfer to win the prestigious event, which has been played every year since 1901 (Tech junior Noah Norton lost in the finals in 2019).
Saturday afternoon, Strafaci won six holes with birdies on the famed Pinehurst No. 2 course, the last three on 13, 14 and 17 to rally from a 1-down deficit and put away the match and the title. The birdie at 17 came after he placed his tee shot within four feet of the hole.
“I first came to Pinehurst when I was a little kid, and mom and dad and would always tell me what my grandfather thought of Pinehurst,” Strafaci said, clutching the coveted Putter Boy trophy on the 18th green. “The first thing we would do, my dad would walk me into the locker room and we’d find Grandpa’s locker. We’d sit in there and look at all of the names.
“I never thought that this day would ever come.”
Strafaci entered the North & South ranked No. 106 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. Holcomb was ranked No. 131, while Yaun, Strafaci’s semifinal foe, was No. 468. On his way to the North & South title, Strafaci defeated No. 109 Joe Highsmith of Lakewood, Wash., 1-up in the quarterfinals, No. 156 Jonathan Brightwell of Charlotte, N.C., 1-up in the round of 16, and No. 176 James Piot of Canton, Mich., 3&2 in the opening round.