Fourth in a series of daily first-person stories from the Golf.com World Amateur Handicap Championship in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
By Tony Leodora
MYRTLE BEACH, SC – In a week filled with multiple should-a, could-a instances — and a great bit of disappointment in my final ranking – I am going to throw out all of the negatives and concentrate on one amazing positive. I made it through a practice round and four tournament rounds of golf, after three weeks of physically being unable to swing a club.
Thanks go to my chiropractor, Dr. Veronica Collings and the Celestial Massage staff in Myrtle Beach. They deserve the credit.
As far as the final round goes, my body felt the effects of playing too many days in a row – especially after not being able to play at all for so long. Back spasms plagued the round and I was only able to scrape my way to an 88. Despite the high score, I only slipped four spots in the standings and finished in 16th place.
For the fourth day in a row the weather was spectacular … and the Tradition GC on the south end of the Grand Strand was even better. The Ron Garl-designed layout never looked better – and played very hard.
The international flavor to some of my fellow competitors from earlier in the week (Japan, Samoa, Curacao) was missing in the final round.
Instead I played with three great Americans who really topped off the week.
Lew Stewart, a classy lefthander, hails from Augusta, Georgia. I hear they play a little bit of golf there.
He had a nice all-around game but also seemed to tire during the round and posted an 83. He was the highest-ranking officer of all of the retired military I met during the week. He spent 30 years in the Air Force, retiring with the rank of Colonel.
Dan Walters was a chatty maintenance foreman from St. Louis. The highlight of his round was a nice birdie on No. 16, one of the tougher holes on the course. He finished with a round of 84.
Bob Landry grew up in Lynn, Massachusetts but after spending 20 years in the U.S. Army, he settled in Columbia, South Carolina. He was part of a group of 12 guys who came from Columbia for the tournament and shared a large beachfront house in Garden City. They had an interesting custom: the player who recorded the highest net score for the day had to make lunch for everyone and run other errands.
Talk about motivation. He posted an 83 and finished in 8th place in the flight – avoiding chore duties in his house.
In the end, it was a great week of competition
Tomorrow’s championship round – only for those who won their flight – is at the Dye Club at Barefoot Resort. Lee Richard, who played in my foursome for the third round, won our flight with rounds of 85-76-81-84—326. He will face the flight winners from all of the other flights for the overall title.