James Madison University golfer Rich Leeper of Chapel Hill will be among the 152 entrants teeing off Thursday in the 51st North Carolina Amateur Championship in Greensboro.
Leeper was a four-time all-conference selection and team MVP at Carrboro High School. He'll be heading into his junior year at James Madison next season.
The N.C. Junior Amateur runs through Sunday at The Farm Course of the Greensboro Country Club. Leeper tees off at 12:54 p.m. Thursday for the opening round.
Greensboro favorite son Ryan Heisey, a 2010 graduate of UNCG, won the title a year ago at Wilson Country Club with an all-time tournament record score of 11-under-par 269. That included a last-round 64.
Heisey and 2010 runnerup Sherrill Britt of West End, a former Carolinas PGA professional, are expected back this year, as are 2009 winner Mark McMillen of Smithfield and 2008 winner Jack Fields of Southern Pines, who lettered in golf at Carolina.
A total of 472 golfers with handicap indexes of 5.4 or less submitted entries for this year's Amateur. Leeper, like most in the field, qualified at one of the six one-day tournaments held around the state in late May and early June. The field will be cut to the low 60 scorers and ties after 36 holes.
The N.C. Amateur's 72-hole, stroke play competition was last played on Greensboro CC's Farm Course in 1982. Originally designed by Ellis Maples, the course underwent a dramatic transformation when Scottish architect Donald Steel completed a $6 million reconstruction in 2010, notes the CGA. Steel built five entirely new holes and did significant work on the remaining 13, including changes in routing and elevation. The old greens were replaced and now sport A1/A4 bentgrass, while the fairways and tees are now composed of zoysia grass instead of the customary Bermuda grass.
Steel's work produced a couple of honors in 2010. The course was named Best New Course in the state by members of the North Carolina Golf Panel and was named "Renovation of the Year" by Golf Magazine.
The par-72 layout will play at approximately 7,223 yards for the N.C. Amateur.