The Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship has a new partnership with The Big Apple.
A golf tournament series for amateurs in the New York City area called the New York City Triple Crown Golf Championship has been created and will be serving as a qualifier for the World Am.
The Triple Crown is being held over three weekends in four buroughs of New York City and will ultimately award five spots into the 34th World Am, which will be held Aug. 28 through Sept. 1 on more than 50 Grand Strand courses.
“From their standpoint I think it’s a great way to engage golfers in the New York City area, and we’re happy to be a part of it,” said Jeff Monday, tournaments director for marketing cooperative Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, which operates the World Am. “Any time we can get into players who play tournament golf that’s what we’re looking to do.”
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The inaugural NYC Triple Crown will be held on seven NYC municipal courses over the first three weekends in July.
The tournament field of amateur players will be divided by handicaps into a championship flight and four additional flights. The first 120 players to register will compete in the first round July 1-3 on one of three courses and continue to one of two second-round sites on July 8-9.
The top players from each flight – 60 players overall – qualify for the third leg of the Triple Crown, a two-round championship weekend on July 15-16 at Pelham Bay Golf Course and Split Rock Golf Course in the Bronx. Winners of each flight from the championship weekend receive entry into the World Am.
First-round sites are Douglaston Golf Course in Queens, Clearview Golf Course in Queens and Van Cortlandt Golf Course in the Bronx, and second-round sites are La Tourette Golf Course in Staten Island and Dyker Beach Golf Course in Brooklyn.
The Triple Crown is being organized by New York golf pro Rich McDonough, who is serving as the tournament director, and former Sun News golf writer Nick Nicholas, who is now with Nicholas & Lence Communications.
“That area with direct flights and weather during shoulder season is a key market for us so we like to partner up any time we can,” Monday said. “It’s a chance for us to introduce our tournament to those type of players. Maybe we can open our event to five new players who can come and experience it.”
New York and New Jersey are among the states that have the most participants in the World Am, Monday said.
“When we look at the Northeast, Midwest, Canada and all these areas where we get people to travel to Myrtle Beach during golf season, we struggle more to get players for the World Am because of the time of year,” Monday said. “It’s asking a lot to ask people to take a golf vacation when they can play at home. The fact we still see the numbers we do from the New York/New Jersey area coming in for the World Am is always encouraging.”
An early registration deadline for the World Am is next Thursday, May 18, after which the entry fee goes from $525 to $575.
The tournament’s 19th hole expo at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center will be emceed by Golf Channel personalities Charlie Rymer for its first two days and Damon Hack and Chantel McCabe for the final two days. John Maginnes and Brian Katrek will broadcast their show on Sirius/XM Radio’s PGA Tour Radio each day from the expo and billiards world champion Ewa Mataya Laurance of Conway will be challenging contestants to matches.
HOF seeks nominations
The board of directors for the Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame is accepting nominations for the class of 2017 through June 2.
Nominees must be a current or former resident of Horry, Georgetown or Brunswick counties, can be living or deceased, and will be considered from a variety of categories such as player, instructor, architect, superintendent, owner, management group, volunteer or supporter of the Grand Strand golf tourism industry.
Nominations will only be accepted from a person who has a direct affiliation with the Myrtle Beach golf industry. All nominations must be sent to Jenna Hottel of Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday. She can be reached at 843-477-8833 ext. 237 or Jenna@GolfHoliday.com.
The Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame was created in 2008 to recognize individuals who have made an indelible mark on the Myrtle Beach golf industry.
The 21 existing members of the Hall of Fame, which is located at the Hall of Fame Garden in the courtyard behind the Pine Lakes Country Club clubhouse, are Kelly Tilghman, Edward Burroughs, J. Egerton Burroughs, Carolyn Cudone, General James Hackler, Cecil Brandon, Clay Brittain, Jimmy D’Angelo, Robert White, George 'Buster' Bryan, Charlie Byers, Paul Himmelsbach, Gary Schaal, J. Bryan Floyd, Edward Jerdon, Casper Leon Benton, George Hilliard, Critt Gore, Russell 'Doc' Burgess, Phillip Goings and Sandy Miles.
Locals take part
The close proximity of the Wells Fargo Championship last week with the tournament being moved to Wilmington, N.C., for a year gave some locals a rare opportunity to participate in a PGA Tour event.
In addition to the many people from the Grand Strand who volunteered for the tournament, attended it or participated in one of its pro-ams, a few locals got inside the ropes during the week at Eagle Point Golf Club.
Meghan Tarmey, owner of Myrtle Beach-based The Caddy Girls, and Myrtle Beach resident Ken Hall caddied during pro-ams while Myrtle Beach resident Bradley Bennett served as an Honorary Observer during the final round.
Bennett, owner of Oceanfront Guru Real Estate, was one of two observers permitted to walk alongside Francesco Molinari and Byeong Hun An as they competed Sunday. Observers are allowed as a perk for tournament sponsors and their clients or as fundraising vehicles for tournament-related charities. Two are permitted per pairing, there are generally 20 observers per round and they were with the final 11 groups Sunday.
Tarmey caddied in the Monday pro-am at Eagle Point for an amateur in a grouping with pro Brad Fritsch of Canada, while Hall caddied in the Wednesday pro-am in a group that included pro Jason Bohn.
“As soon as we saw that on the schedule we emailed the caddie master there and asked if we could get a spot,” Tarmey said. “It was super exciting. I was definitely the only female caddie out there. The course was in super shape and it was such a pleasure to walk such a beautiful course, and it was fun to see the interaction between the pro golfers and amateurs.”
Molinari and An were two and three shots off the lead entering the final round, respectively, and finished 24th and eighth.
“We were basically a tour pro for the day is basically what it felt like. It was experiencing what a tour player goes through during the course of the day,” said Bennett, a 4 handicap and member of The Dunes Golf and Beach Club.
The Honorary Obervers received instructions from a PGA Tour official before the round, and were essentially told to stay out of the players’ way, not offer suggestions or assistance, and stay close to the ropes during the action. The observers were announced on the tee box before the players arrived.
“We were close enough to listen to about every conversation they had with their caddie about club selection, how they wanted to play the shot, what the ball was going to do on the green. It was pretty neat,” Bennett said.
The winner, Brian Harman, was in the group behind Bennett. “Walking down 18 was an incredible environment,” Bennett said.
Former South Carolina Gamecock Will Starke of Mount Pleasant shot the low round and was one of five players Monday who earned their way into sectional qualifying for the 2017 U.S. Open through a local qualifier at DeBordieu Club in Georgetown.
The U.S. Open will be held from June 15-18 at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis., and local qualifiers will be assigned sectional sites.
Starke shot a bogey-free 7-under 65 and was followed by Phillip Mollica of Mount Pleasant and Michael Cromie of Cary, N.C., with 67s, Blake Kennedy of Campobello with a 70 and Eric Bae of Pinehurst, N.C. with a 71.
Bae survived a four-man sudden death playoff for the fifth spot. Earning the first alternate position in sectional qualifying from the site was Keenan Huskey of Columbia, and Evan Grenus of Glastonbury, Conn., is the second alternate.
Also in the playoff was Andrew Novak of Mount Pleasant, a past South Carolina Amateur champion who finished second in the 2016 S.C. Amateur at DeBordieu to winner Carson Young.
Patrick Dewildt of Myrtle Beach finished a shot out of the playoff with a 72, and several other Grand Strand residents were among the more than 70 hopefuls Monday.
Conway native Brent Roof of Columbia and partner Paul Tucker of Waxhaw, N.C., were the stroke-play medalists and won three matches this past week in the the 66th Carolinas Four-Ball Championship at Camden Country Club before falling in the semifinals.
The 2013 Carolinas Four-Ball Champions fell 4 and 3 to North Carolina State teammates Justin Hood and Jake McBride. Roof, who played at the University of South Carolina, and Tucker, who played at Duke, are both 38.
The tournament was won Sunday by A.C. Flora High School teammates Ryan Marter and Jack Parrott, who defeated Hood and McBride 1 up in a final match that featured three holed chip shots in the first five holes. Neither team held more than a one-hole lead during the match.
Parrott has committed to South Carolina while Marter is committed to Wofford.