On Grand Strand Golf: McDowell, other big names already committed to Heritage

ablondin@thesunnews.comFebruary 3, 2014 

Surfside Beach resident Mark Schoenwald (left) caddied for Bruce Vaughn when Vaughn won the 2008 Senior British Open Championship.


Graeme McDowell has confirmed he will be defending his title in the 46th RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing.

The Northern Irishman, who is ranked 15th in the Official World Golf Ranking, joins seven other past Heritage champions who have made early commitments to South Carolina’s only PGA Tour event, being played April 17-20 at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island.

World No. 17 Brandt Snedeker and No. 21 Jim Furyk have also committed, as have two-time champions Stewart Cink and Boo Weekley, plus Carl Pettersson, Justin Leonard and Glen Day. McDowell, Snedeker and Furyk all have endorsement agreements with tournament title sponsor Royal Bank of Canada.

McDowell earned his second PGA Tour win last year in Hilton Head, defeating Webb Simpson in a sudden-death playoff. He also won two events on the European Tour in 2013, running his career total of European wins to eight. His previous PGA Tour win came in the 2010 U.S. Open.

Pettersson’s 2012 victory in Hilton Head was his fifth on the PGA Tour, tying him with Jesper Parnevik for the most by a Swedish player. Pettersson moved to Greensboro, N.C., while in high school, attended N.C. State and lives in Raleigh, N.C.

Snedeker’s win in 2011 was just his second on the PGA Tour and first in four years, but he’s been one of the better players in the world since, earning two victories in both 2012 (Farmers Insurance Open and Tour Championship) and 2013 (AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and RBC Canadian Open).

Furyk’s win at Harbour Town in 2010 was one of three that year, including the Tour Championship, leading to a FedExCup title. He has six top-three finishes in the past two years and shot a 59 last September at the BMW Championship.

Weekley’s first two PGA Tour wins came at Harbour Town in 2007 and ’08 and he added a third at last year’s 2013 Crown Plaza Invitational at Colonial. Cink, a British Open champion, won in Hilton Head in 2000 and 2004 and has six PGA Tour wins. Leonard’s 12 PGA Tour wins include a 2002 Heritage victory, and a highlight of Day’s career was a win in 1999 in a playoff over Payne Stewart and Jeff Sluman.

Daily tickets and weeklong badges for this year’s tournament are on sale online at www.rbcheritage.com or by calling the tournament office at 843-671-2448.

Schoenwald on tour

Surfside Beach resident Mark Schoenwald is beginning his 22nd season caddying on the Champions Tour.

Schoenwald plans to work the bulk of the early part of the 2014 season with Tom Purtzer, 62, who won five times and had 70 top-10 finishes in 655 starts on the PGA Tour and has five Champions Tour victories, the last in 2007.

Schoenwald, 46, is with Purtzer this week at the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Fla., and will keep a commitment to caddie for Larry Nelson next week at the Ace Group Classic in Naples, Fla., before rejoining Purtzer.

“I’m going to work for Tom for a while other than next week, then we’ll see what happens,” Schoenwald said. “I am working and happy to be.”

Schoenwald first caddied on the tour in 1993 and said he hasn’t missed a full-field Champions tournament in more than 10 years. “If there’s a Champions Tour event I’m going to be there,” he said. “I’m not going to sit home and watch it on television. I still really enjoy caddying.”

Purtzer and Nelson were two of several golfers Schoenwald caddied for last year. He bounced around a bit, also working with longtime employer Bruce Vaughan, Kirk Triplett, Jay Don Blake and Mark McNulty. “Things usually work out somehow,” Schoenwald said. “Usually it’s because I’m in the parking lot but that’s fine, I don’t mind it.”

He caddied for Lee Trevino in the PNC Father/Son Challenge in December. “That was a lot of fun,” Schoenwald said. “That’s a really great tournament.”

Schoenwald will soon be taking Troy Martin of Bucket Boy Graphics on a tour of The Dunes Golf and Beach Club and Grande Dunes Resort Course so Martin can create the yardage books that will be used by players and caddies in the PGA Professional National Championship (a.k.a. national club pro championship) on the two courses from June 22-25.

Glens holding giveaway

The Glens Golf Group is providing a little more incentive to play its courses than most course operators.

In the “Glens Group Golf Giveaway Sweepstakes,” golfers will have a chance to win $10,000 by playing a Glens Group course through Nov. 30 and submitting an entry form to win one of five prizes totaling $22,000. Registering also earns a player a free one-year subscription to Golf Digest.

The five participating Glens Golf Group courses are Glen Dornoch Waterway Golf Links, Heather Glen Golf Links, Shaftesbury Glen Golf and Fish Club, Possum Trot Golf Club and Wicked Stick Golf Links.

“All you have to do is play a golf course and sign up,” said George Gore, general manager of Heather Glen and Glen Dornoch. “We’re trying to get golfers to come in the door and treat them right once they get here. That’s it, plain and simple.”

Golfers can submit a new entry every time they play one of the courses. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on Dec. 10. The other prizes include a one-week vacation to Cozumel, Mexico, a year of unlimited golf on all Glens courses, a set of TaylorMade irons and a four-day Glens golf package.

CN completing change

Carolina National Golf Club in Bolivia, N.C., will complete the conversion of its greens from L93 bentgrass to Champion ultradwarf Bermudagrass this summer when it closes the Ibis nine, likely in late June.

The Egret and Heron nines were converted last summer on the 27-hole Fred Couples and Gene Bates design, which opened in 1998. Champion Turf Farms will handle the change, and is also installing the same grass on Pinehurst No. 2’s greens following the men’s and women’s U.S. Opens in June.

The Ibis nine is expected to be closed for six to eight weeks. “The beauty of this year is we’re not in such a rush to open the Ibis,” said Carolina National head pro Phil Smiley, who said the approximate 380 members at the semi-private course have enjoyed the new Bermuda greens.

“It’s such a nice putting surface,” Smiley said. “It takes a while if you’re used to putting on bent to get used to it, though.”

Carolina National’s fairways are not overseeded this winter and the Bermuda greens are being colored with the Endurant colorant.

Consistent with work that was done on 18 holes last summer, some areas of drainage will be improved on the Ibis while it is shut down, trees will be taken down around some greens, and areas of cart paths and bunkers may be repaired or renovated.

CGA honors players

Two previous winners and four first-timers have been named 2013 Richard S. Tufts Players of the Year by the Carolinas Golf Association.

The six winners are: Scott Harvey of Greensboro, N.C. (Men); Dawn Woodard of Greer (Women); Rick Cloninger of Fort Mill (Senior Men); Ashley Rose of North Augusta (Senior Women); Tim Conover of Holly Springs, N.C. (Junior Boys) and Reona Hirai of Summerville (Junior Girls).

Harvey, 35, claimed his third consecutive Carolinas Men’s Player of the Year award. The 35-year-old property manager won his second straight Carolinas Mid-Amateur Championship for his fifth CGA major title, finished second at the Azalea Invitational, tied for second at the North Carolina Mid-Amateur and a tied for fourth at the Carolinas Amateur. He also advanced to the round of 32 at both the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Mid-Amateur championships.

Woodard, 39, earned the Carolinas Women’s Player of the Year honor for the second consecutive year. She won the Women’s South Carolina Golf Association Match Play Championship for the fourth time in a row and was second at the WSCGA Stroke Play Championship.

The Junior Boys and Junior Girls awards are based on a series of 18 junior tournaments run by 10 associations that are the grassroots of junior golf in the Carolinas. Participating Carolinas associations and tournaments are the Carolinas Golf Association, Carolinas PGA, Trusted Choice Big I Junior Classics, South Carolina Golf Association, Women’s Carolinas Golf Association, WSCGA, South Carolina Junior Golf Association, Tarheel Youth Golf Association, Carolinas-Georgia Junior Championship and the Joe Cheves Junior Invitational.

Award winners were honored Saturday during Carolinas Golf Night and the CGA Annual Meeting at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club.

Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.

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