New World Amateur Handicap Champion Is Going to Augusta (Well, Almost)

Sixth and final 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

We have a winner!

Well, all week long we had a winner. It was the weather.

In all of the years of coming to the World Amateur Handicap Championship in Myrtle Beach, I have never experienced a stretch of weather like this year.

Every day was virtually the same – sunny, warm, high in the mid-to-upper 80s, nice breeze, extremely comfortable nights … and not a drop of rain. And, for me, that covered a nine-day stretch of work and playing in the event.

And, yes, there was an overall winner.

Last year that didn’t happen. Torrential rains washed out the championship playoff on Friday. The flight winners went home with their flight trophies … and wondering what might have happened on that pressure-packed final day.

This year’s champion is Greg Williams from North Augusta, South Carolina. He carried a 21.9 handicap index into the age 50-59 division and played solid golf all week.

His secret: “I just tried to keep the ball in play. Whenever I got in trouble, I didn’t try to make it up on one swing. I took my medicine and put the ball back in the fairway.”

On his final round, with his handicap index adjusted to a 23 on the challenging Dye Course at Barefoot Resort, Williams post a round of 90, for a net 67 to win by a shot.

And the best part is that his win put him on a path to Augusta.

Well, not quite. Instead of celebrating the championship throughout a wild night of revelry in Myrtle Beach, Williams jumped in his car and made the three-and-a-half hour drive back to his home in North Augusta – in South Carolina, across the river from the famous golf mecca.

There will be plenty of time for celebrating throughout the rest of the weekend, at his home club, the Jim Fazio-designed River Club in his hometown.

“I’m sure I’ll get to do a little bit of bragging, before the other members start kidding me about this,” he concluded with a big grin.

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