The No. 8 NC State men’s golf team is having a tremendous season, its best in recent years, as it prepares for the ACC Championship. The Wolfpack has won four tournaments and is playing well at the right time.
One of the big reasons for this success is the play of graduate Benjamin Shipp. Shipp could have left Raleigh and turned pro, but decided to come back for one more year after the NCAA allowed spring athletes to have another year of eligibility due to COVID-19 canceling their season.
“I’m really grateful [Shipp] and Christian [Salzer] are both COVID-seniors and wanted to come back,” said NC State head coach Press McPhaul on ACC Network’s “Packer and Durham,” Tuesday, April 13. “That meant that our program is in a good place and is a good culture where they want to be.”
This is a decision that has paid off for Shipp, as he has taken home two individual titles this spring. The first was at the Schenkel Invitational in Statesboro, Georgia and the other was the very next tournament at the Hootie Intercollegiate in Awendaw, South Carolina.
“I just feel like every facet of my game is clicking,” Shipp said after the I-40 Cup on April 2. “My statement for myself [is] just hit the first shot I see, which has really gotten me back to the stuff that works for me and keeps me consistent.”
Throughout his career at NC State, Shipp has brought home five individual titles. This puts him at a tie for third place in program history.
The winning putt for @golfmanben as he captures the Hootie Intercollegiate at Bulls Bay with a score of -11. 5th victory of Shipp’s NC State career tied him for third-most in program history. pic.twitter.com/hi6ODJz0LO— NC State Men's Golf (@PackMensGolf) March 30, 2021
With his strong performances week in and week out in April, Shipp was named the ACC Co-Men’s Golfer of the Month with UNC’s Peter Fountain. Shipp defeated Fountain in Match Play at the I-40 Cup at the Carolina Country Club.
In the PGA Tour University Rankings, Shipp sits in 11th place. The only other ACC player above him is John Pak of Florida State who is ranked No. 1.
Shipp is not satisfied with what he has accomplished, as there are always bigger goals to go after. As one of the top golfers in the conference, he will have hopes at being around the top of the leaderboard at the ACC Championships.
“I think there is always something to get better at,” Shipp said. “Keep working hard and trying to get better at every part of the game.”
Watching Shipp play, he can hit it far off the tee, which gives him an advantage for most tournaments, but there is something else about his game that sets him apart. His putting can get very streaky, and once one drops the rest seem to follow suit.
“[Shipp] is one of the best putters I have ever seen in college golf,” McPhaul said. “As long as you wait for something good to happen on the green and roll the ball well, you’re always in the ball game and that’s [Shipp].”
With Shipp at the top along with the others playing well for the Wolfpack, expect to see it make some noise in Atlanta, Georgia for the ACC Championships. NC State will be looking for its first team title in school history. Play begins Friday, April 23 from the Capital City Club.