Myrtle Beach hosts another year of competition, food, fun and excitement
Third in a series of daily first-person stories from the 33rd Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship – the world’s largest golf tournament.
By TONY LEODORA
The day started bad … and got worse from there.
After the usual warmups at picturesque Glen Dornoch GC, just below the North Carolina border, it was time to make the way back to the line of golf carts for the 9 a.m. shotgun start for Day 2 of the World Amateur Handicap Championship. That’s when I was intercepted by the fellow who was running the daily skins game.
I was reaching for my $20 to pay the daily fee when he said, “I’ve got bad news for you. I need your $230 winnings from yesterday back.”
According to him, a group had gone home after Monday’s rainstorm. After hearing from other players that play resumed after a 90-minute delay, they returned to the course and finished – hours after the rest. One of the players turned in his card and a birdie on the same hole as one of mine cancelled my winnings.
Trudge to the first tee. Play through gritted teeth. Shoot 95 and grumble all the way back to the hotel.
Luckily, I caught another good draw – despite the fact that each of my fellow competitors had difficult days, especially in the trick tifdwarf greens at Glen Dornoch. In fact, the scores for the entire flight were much higher than Day 1. The good news was that pace of play was better – five hours and two minutes.
Bill Kenny retired at age 54 after a career on Wall Street and moved to the Sea Trail golf community in Sunset Beach, North Carolina. The Bronx native’s accent hasn’t softened a bit, despite living in the Myrtle Beach area for 14 years. It was his first World Am, admitting, “Every year I threatened to play in it. This year I finally did and I am glad.” His warm smile never wavered despite a round of 89.
Brian Priebe and Mike Walker are both from Strongsville, Ohio. Ironically, even though they play at the same clubs in the Cleveland area, they didn’t know each other before today.
Priebe is twice retired – first from an Allstate insurance agency, then from a recycling business. He visited the trees often en route to a round of 86. Walker, who plays cross-handed, is a retired FAA computer specialist. He was the most consistent ball-striker on the day but struggled with the putter while posting an 88.
First day leader Gene Patterson followed his 74 with an 86 and fell to second. Jim Troyer took over the lead after posting the best round of the day at 77. Only two players in the flight broke 80.