Fifth in a series of daily first-person stories from the 35th Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship – the world’s largest golf tournament.
By TONY LEODORA
You can tell it is the fourth and final day of the World Amateur Handicap Championship by the greatly dwindled crowds at the post-golf 19th Hole. Many of the players have been rode hard and put up wet (as they say in horse circles).
At least that’s the way it is for most of us – those who did not win their flight, thus being forced in to the role of spectators on Championship Friday. The flight winners are energized about another round of play. The rest of us are happy to pack up our golf clubs. It’s an exhausting week.
Today’s episode of golf mediocrity came from the Jack Nicklaus-designed Pawley’s Plantation, at the far southern end of the Myrtle Beach area. It is a picturesque combination of parkland holes and windswept open holes along the marsh between the mainland and the beach.
The main portion of the course was in excellent condition. But the greens had recently been aerated and were top-dressed. That made putting difficult. Not many putts fell on the day and only three players in our flight scored in the 70s, while there were 15 who shot in the 90s.
My round, short and sweet, was feast or famine. I had a triple-bogey on my first hole, a short par 3, and four more double-bogeys. That’s 11 over par on five holes – and 4 over par on the other 13 holes. Without making a birdie.
I finished in 35th place, out of 52 in my flight. A humbling experience. At least I wasn’t high man in my foursome.
Russ Hammond, originally from Chester County, PA, was low man with 84. He moved to Brunswick Plantation in the Calabash area of North Carolina four years ago and says it was the best move of his life.
My 87 was next. Ed Bailey, an affable attorney from Queens, NY, was next at 89. He had a bad hip and hobbled around the course most of the day. I was cart driver and tried to minimize his walk between shots. For that, he gave me Golf Uber status.
The chatty Don Bailey (no relation) was in my group for the second straight day. Once again he made sure there was no dead air time. He posted a 90.
Another World Am in the books. Post the scores … and start dreaming about a better performance next year.