HJGT Alum Shipley Wins Low Am Honors at US Open; Turns Pro

No one has set the amateur golf world on fire more than Neal Shipley.

The former Hurricane Junior Golf Tour competitor added to his illustrious resume by winning the low amateur honors at the US Open in Pinehurst. Just two months earlier, Shipley replicated the feat at the Masters in Augusta, GA.

Shipley is only the 9th golfer in history to earn such honors, and joins the likes of Sam Randolph, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, and Viktor Hovland. He is only the second Ohio State golfer to achieve this, joining Buckeye legend, Jack Nicklaus.

Next week, Shipley’s amateur golf career comes to an end, and he turns pro. In this week’s feature, the HJGT takes a closer look at Neal Shipley’s journey and what led him to these inspiring heights.

Shipley’s Path To Success

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Neal Shipley at the 2024 US Open in Pinehurst, NC.

Neal Shipley was born in Pittsburg, PA, and found a passion for golf at a young age. While in high school, he helped lead Pittsburgh Central Catholic HS to their first two state championships in program history. He also played in several HJGT events where he collected multiple top 15 finishes.

Shipley recently told PING that in preparation for junior events, he would, “focus on my iron play, especially gap wedge to 8 iron, and then getting the speed of the greens down. I always spent a good bit of time on the putting green.”

Some advice he would give himself back when he was playing on the junior circuit: “Commit to every golf shot, and trust in what you are doing.”

Having this level of confidence is a big reason why Shipley has experienced success of late, and it was his success in junior golf that created an opportunity to play college golf at James Madison University before transferring to Ohio State, where he earned his master’s degree. 

As a junior at JMU, Shipley posted a season average of 72.41 (+0.52), second-lowest on the team and eighth-lowest in program history. Then at Ohio State, he enjoyed the best year of his career, averaging a career-best and team-leading 71.35. During his last year at Ohio State, Shipley notched his first collegiate victory at the Southwestern Invitational, finished fifth at the Big Ten Championship, won All-American Honorable Mention honors for the second year in a row, and helped lead the Buckeyes into the match play portion of the NCAA Championship.

Shipley is known for being one of the best players off the tee box, but when asked about which area of his game he would still like to build on, he said, “From 130 (yards) and in, I would love to be a bit more consistent in this area.” 

What’s Next for Neal Shipley

The most impressive feat for Shipley – what has propelled him into becoming a superstar – is his performances on the biggest stages. Shipley made the cut and shot 70-73-71-72 in his first U.S. Open start. At this year’s Masters tournament, he posted scores of 71-76-80-73.

Shipley has now accomplished something that he didn’t think was possible a few years ago.

“It’s been wild,” Shipley told the Augusta Chronicle. “It’s been something that maybe three, four years ago I didn’t think was possible, and to accomplish all this has just been phenomenal. Just the stuff of dreams really as an amateur to do everything I’ve done. I think I’ve checked all the boxes now.”

As for what’s next, Shipley concluded his amateur career and turned pro this week, joining PGA Tour Americas, a North American-based tour that includes stops in Canada and Latin America. And in his first tournament as a professional golfer, Shipley continued his hot streak, finishing T9 at The Beachlands Victoria Open in Victoria, British Columbia. His prize money was reportedly just over $6,500.

Stay tuned for more articles about what’s going on with HJGT Blogs.

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