Katherine Schuster wins Girls North & South Junior Amateur at Pinehurst

Katherine Schuster can add a Putter Boy to her impressive – and growing – collection of trophies. [Photo and story courtesy AmatuerGolf.com]

Already a Drive, Chip & Putt Champion at Augusta National and a two-time North Carolina high school state champion, Katherine Schuster shrugged off the struggles of her playing partners to win the 41st Girls’ North & South Junior Championship on Wednesday in Pinehurst.

“I think this (win) is above everything,” Schuster said. “This is amazing. To win at Pinehurst? I mean, it’s always a beautiful day at Pinehurst.

“And to win having played Pinehurst No. 2? There are no words to describe it.”

Schuster, just 16 and from Kill Devil Hills, perhaps wasn’t at her best in the final round on Pinehurst No. 6, but still managed to record four birdies on her way to a 2-over 74 for a three-day total of 1-over-par 217, good enough to edge Honolulu’s Karissa Kilby by two strokes.

One of the top prep players in North Carolina, Schuster has overcome a lot just to remain on the golf course. She has battled with Multiple Hereditary Exstosis, which has forced her to endure multiple surgeries to remove bone spurs.

Schuster entered the final round with just a one-shot lead over Emily Dunlap and Julia Misemer. But both Dunlap (80) and Misemer (81) had tough days on No. 6. Earlier in the championship, Schuster shot 74 in the first round on No. 2, which included a birdie on the par-3 15th.

“It’s pretty cool to get one of those ‘2 on 2’ Deuce coins,” she said. “Pinehurst is Disneyland for golfers. It’s beautiful. It’s magical.”

Kelley Topiwala shot an even par 72 to move from eighth place into third for the championship.

With the victory, Schuster’s name will be emblazoned in bronze on the Perpetual Wall in the Heritage Hall of Pinehurst’s main clubhouse. She will also earn a berth into the Women’s North & South Amateur.