Continuing our tour through Dogwood Invitational history, we go back to last year and one of the more unlikely stories in that history. Prior to the third round of the 2019 Dogwood, the course record was 60, set by Webb Simpson in the 2007 Am-Am practice round, the same year he won the trophy. Several subsequent players have missed that incredibly low score by just one shot. By the time he made the turn last year, Alex Ross (Davidson College) drew an impressive, impressed crowd when he posted 27 to the live scoreboard. The day was already slightly askew, as Ross and his competitors were playing their second round of the day, a last-minute schedule change forced by foul weather. That change also required split-tees, putting Ross on the back nine first. He opened the first seven holes with six birdies and an eagle. In a classic case of understatement, Ross later said, “I was in a complete daze by that time.” Amped up after posting that score with such a crowd around, Ross hit his drive 360 down the first fairway, a “short flip-wedge in,” he would recount in the post-round interview.
With four-day totals regularly in the mid 20-under range, Druid Hills gives its fair shares of low scores. The low tournament total of -28 was set by Micheal Johnson (2013), who now plays on the Korn Ferry Tour. Yet, on June 6, 2019, no one expected to best the course record by 3 strokes, even if Alex Ross had asked the starter about the course record as he set to tee off in the third round.
Ross’ back nine featured 6 more birdies, including a tap in on the final hole after narrowly missing his 30’ eagle putt. His mother was among the 80 or so spectators cheering in amazement as he walked off the green. His record-setting round behind him, Ross would take hours to come out of those clouds, that daze. In reality, though, that feeling has stayed with him through the year since: “I really do think about it most everyday.”
Alex Ross’ incredible feat is the pinnacle achievement by any player in the Dogwood’s tremendous history. His course record will surely stand for many years to come; it ties the lowest round ever shot in a tournament any where in the world. To hear Ross talk through his experience, listen to the tremendous interview he gave to Amateur Golf: https://soundcloud.com/amateurgolf/tournament-talk-alex-ross-unheard-of-15-under-57-at-the-dogwood-invitational
The promise of the future suggests we can expect more dynamic happenings in forthcoming Dogwoods. And, as we’ll read tomorrow, the Dogwood continues to contribute to dynamic community engagement through the Druid Hills Foundation.