The event began with 3,310 players on Monday, August 26, spread out into dozens of flights based on gender, age and handicap. After four main tournament rounds, the field was whittled down to 99 flight winners who were invited to the Championship Round, held on Friday, August 30 at the Dye Club at Barefoot Resort. Players’ handicaps were adjusted based on the difficulty of the golf course and their stellar scores the first four days in order to level the playing field for the final round to the greatest extent possible.
This time around, that leveling process had to be completed after the round. Former Dye Club member Dr. Otto Susec shot a 77 in the Championship round off a handicap adjusted from 16 to 19 for Friday’s round. The 45-year old who now oversees a department of a hospital in Evansville, Indiana returned a net score of 58 that beat out the next competitor by four strokes. But that score was deemed outside the realm of possibility by the organizers of the tournament and Susec was disqualified. The last time a presumptive World Amateur Handicap Champion was disqualified over similar concerns was 2005, when Charlotte, North Carolina native Al Simon was disqualified after also carding a net score of 58.
Susec’s disqualification left the trophy with Rich Brennan of Maumee, Ohio. Brennan, playing off a handicap of 21, shot a gross 83 for a net 62. He maintains a handicap of 19.6 at his two home courses: Heather Downs Country Club in Toledo, Ohio and Valencia Golf & Country Club in Naples, Florida.
Brennan, 66, is a World Amateur Handicap Championship veteran, having competed in many previous years but only advancing to the Championship Round once in the past. That year, Brennan remembers, he was playing well until carding a 19 on his 13th hole, rattling him and making him question if he would ever play in the event again.
Surely, after his triumph in this year’s event, Brennan is glad he stuck with it.
The total participant number of 3,310 in 2013 was approximately an eight percent increase over 2012’s total field size. The 2014 edition of the event looks to subscribe even more players.
To learn more about the World Amateur Handicap Championship, visit www.WorldAmGolf.com. To investigate the dozens of Myrtle Beach golf courses the tournament visits, check out myrtlebeachgolf.com.