Fifth in a series of daily first-person stories from the 36th Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship – the world’s largest golf tournament.
By TONY LEODORA
The Myrtle Beach version of the Bataan Death March came to a conclusion for most on Thursday. The Flight Winners moved on to the Championship Round at the Dye Club at Barefoot Resort. The rest were left licking their wounds.
And nobody did more wound licking than the Reunion Foursome that played at Glen Dornoch GC. It was a reunion because I got to play with:
a) Herbert Thompson, the retired college president from Jamaica. He was in my foursome on Tuesday.
b) Len Everett, who lives in Northeast Philadelphia and works in the Golf Galaxy store in that neighborhood.
c) Tom Griswold, who lives near Augusta, Georgia and was in my flight two years ago.
This foursome was engaged in mortal combat to avoid the ignominious title of finishing DFL in their flight.
Being from Jamaica, Thompson was unfamiliar with DFL terminology. Using his best southern inflection and accent, Griswold was quick to explain it to him.
A bit later in the round, I took the lead to explain another American golf expression to our Jamaican visitor. After he curled in a 20 foot putt … to save a score of 7 on a hole, I explained we call that “whipped cream on s – – t.”
Just like the first new bit of golf terminology, this one drew a belly laugh from Thompson. He then proved to be a quick learner.
A few holes later, on a par 3 hole, I scraped an ugly tee shot, then messed up an easy chip and pushed it past the hole by 10 feet. I then made the comeback putt to save par. Thompson quickly added, “There was a bit of whipped cream on that also.”
Bottom line … the difficult Glen Dornoch was made even tougher by course conditions … and course setup.
The greens were extremely firm. They did not receive shots from the fairway well … nor were they receptive to chip shots. And, once on the greens, they were quite slick. Nothing but center-cut putts went in the hole. Many of the hole locations were difficult … and a few were diabolical.
A total of 10 players in the flight – all with handicaps of 9.1 to 9.6 – shot 100 or higher.
Only 25 of the 50 players in the flight topped my score of 93 – a score that was inflated by some bad chipping, putting … and luck. After a desperate search all week, I finally rediscovered some semblance of a golf swing. I “surged” to a final ranking of 44th in my flight of 50.
Denny Burch, the first and second round leader who fell to fourth place after playing with me in the third round, made a great comeback to win the flight. To illustrate how difficult/unfair Glen Dornoch was for the final round, the Harrisburg resident and Villanova grad had the second lowest round of the day – 85.
He was one of the few players at Glen Dornoch who did not leave the course grumbling. On to the finals.