I’ve been interested in the World Amateur Handicap Championship for some time. The idea of participating in a tournament that makes it possible for a mid-handicaper like myself to compete has a great deal of appeal. I also have enjoyed the few rounds of Myrtle Beach golf that I have been fortunate enough to play. (Caledonia is in my top ten courses I have ever played and I am anxious to get back). Unfortunately, the event coincides with the beginning of the school year, so I won’t be able to try it until I retire.
The World Amateur Handicap Championship is a 72-hole, net stroke play event. Golfers are grouped into flights based on age, gender and their handicap index. After 72 holes flight winners and ties advanced to the Flight Winners’ Playoff . This year, the 18-hole shootout that determined the 2018 World Champion was held at Barefoot Landing’s Dye Course. I haven’t had a chance to play that one. The Greg Norman Course at Barefoot Landing, however, is a lot of fun.
What I wonder, however, is how the organizers of the World Amateur Handicap Championship avoid the problem of sandbaggers that has plagued every handicapped competition I have ever been involved with. There is that class of golfers who — knowing that they will be involved in handicapped competitions — will deliberately misrepresent their scores. I have long thought that there had to be a mathematical solution to the problem.
In this year’sWorld Amateur Handicap Championship — the 35th edition — Greg Williams of North Augusta, South Carolina won the Flight Winners Playoff. Williams score of 67 (gross 90) topped a field of 3, 184 golfers and edged Rob Durbin (York, S.C.) and Mark Dey (Decatur, Mich.) by two shots. The playoff was held at Barefoot Resort’s Dye course on August 31.
“Greg Williams played great all week and earned the right to be called World Champ,” Tournament Director Scott Tomasello said. “The World Am is golf’s best and most inclusive event, and we enjoyed another outstanding week of competition and camaraderie. We are already looking forward to 2019.”
There were 66 flights in this year’s tournament and 33 Myrtle Beach golf courses hosted tournament play each day. In total, 55 area courses hosted at least one round of the World Am.
Gross Division Highlights
- Derrick Oyervides of Greer, S.C., shot a 74 for a six-stroke win in the gross division, finishing with a five-round total of 363.
- Bobby Stiffler of Glen Rock, Pa. shot a 76 at the Dye Course to take second.
- Todd Stires (Murrieta, Ca.) finished third, 11 shots back.
Senior Gross Division Highlights
- Steve Comings (Odenton, Md.) shot a 73 at the Dye Course, finishing with a five-round score of 372, one shot clear of second-place finisher Steve Humphrey (Lexington, Ky.), to win the Senior Gross Division.
By virtue of winning the gross divisions, Oyervides and Comings won all expenses-paid trips to compete in the Hainan Amateur in the Yangpu Economic Development Zone in China in November.
Club Choice Ireland Pairs Competition highlights.
- John Long of Allen, Tx. and Ted Johnston of McKinney, Tx. shot a net team score of 150. They won a six-night, five-round trip to Ireland.
In addition to the competition, the World Amateur Handicap Championship featured “The World’s Largest 19th Hole,” a fodo and beverage expo that occupied the 120,000 square foot Myrtle Beach Convention Center. Tournament players and a guest enjoyed free food and drinks, a 70-exhibitor golf expo, live entertainment, demo areas, celebrity appearances and more.
Celebrity appearances at the 35th annual event were Golf Channel stars Charlie Rymer, Damon Hack and Chantel McCabe, billiards legend Ewa Laurance, and media personality Paige Spiranac. The popular Sirius/XM radio show Maginnes on Tap, hosted by Brian Katrek and former PGA Tour player John Maginnes, originated live each night from the World’s Largest 19th Hole.
Golf Channel’s popular Morning Drive program provided live coverage of the tournament on Thursday and Friday mornings, giving viewers an up close look at the event and the World Championship Playoff.
The PlayGolfMyrtleBeach.com World Amateur Handicap Championship, the world’s largest single site tournament, is a Golf Tourism Solutions event.