Former US Junior Amateur golf champion still going strong 60 years later


PINEHURST, N.C. (WNCN) – Buddy Baker’s scorecard of life checks in at 80. On this day, his golf scorecard was 10 better — a two-under par 70.

“Fun,” Baker said. “Exercise and fun — that’s all it is.”

Yet there was a time when Baker took the game of golf more seriously. It’s been a few years, but Baker won the U.S. Junior Amateur in 1958.

Baker remembers it like it was yesterday — not 63 years ago — how he was able to outlast the field at the University of Minnesota Golf Club.

“I was two up and it was the 17th hole. I make it I win the championship,” Baker recalled. “If I miss it, there ‘aint no telling what the hell is going to happen.”

Baker made the putt. And in just over a month, he will see a another U.S. Junior Amateur champion crowned on the course he calls home — the Country Club of North Carolina.

“I think it’s good for Junior Golf in this area,” Baker said. “We’ve got a lot of good junior golfers at the club.”.

That includes Jackson Van Paris, who recently won the 4A state individual title while leading Pinecrest High School to the team championship.

Whoever does win may be in line to get the same treatment as Baker, who had a friend who just couldn’t resist singing his praises.

“Every time he introduced me, he introduced me as a national junior champion,” Baker said. “That kind of sticks with you and makes you feel real good.”

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