A North & South final fit for the Fourth of July: Local Jackson Van Paris to meet Aussie Louis Dobbelaar

Jackson Van Paris won the last AJGA event he’s likely to ever play this February at the AJGA Simplify Boys Championship, despite freezing temperatures and an impending snowstorm. His junior-golf swan song will come later this month at the U.S. Junior at Country Club of North Carolina, his home track.

But Van Paris, a 17-year-old incoming freshman at Vanderbilt, has already arrived at the next level. A magical run at the North & South Amateur for the Pinehurst local proves that.

On Sunday, Van Paris will celebrate the Fourth of July by competing in the North & South title match against Louis Dobbelaar, the Australian who has already racked up wins in 2021 at the Dogwood Invitational and the Australian Amateur.

Van Paris arrived there after a dramatic semifinal victory over Chad Wilfong on the 20th hole. He chipped it in on Pinehurst’s second hole for victory over Wilfong, the Carolinas Mid-Amateur champion, in a scene that got the local crowd plenty riled up.

Now he has a chance to add to a resume that also includes victory at the Sage Valley Junior Invitational. In 2018, a 14-year-old Van Paris not only made match play at the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach, but won his first-round match to become the youngest competitor to win a match at the U.S. Amateur since Bobby Jones reached the quarterfinals in 1916.

Van Paris had to get past Cal player Finigan Tilly in Saturday morning’s quarterfinals to even get to Wilfong. On the other side of the bracket, Dobbelaar defeated fellow Aussie Karl Vilips before taking down Clemson’s Zack Gordon for his spot in the final.

Pinehurst No. 2, in the Sand Hills of North Carolina, has typically been a place where Aussies excel, and Dobbelaar might just be the latest one.

The North & South should have been ended on Saturday, but a lengthy weather Friday weather delay pushed the final match into Sunday. The match goes off at 6:50 a.m. ET.


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