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Lyon Lazare leads World Amateur in Myrtle Beach
[Mark Gardiner of Illinois, pictured left]

MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina (August 26, 2014) -- If the new scratch division keeps growing like this, the World Amateur Handicap Championship might have to change its name to the "World Amateur Handicap (or no handicap) Championship."

That's because 50 players registered for the inaugural scratch division this year, in a tournament that has been traditionally known for its flighted play. With 3405 players broken down over an amazing 76 divisions at more than 50 different courses, there has always been plenty of single digit handicappers in the event. But here's the thing -- they were always using their handicap (no matter how small or even if it was a plus) to figure the winner of their flight.

Now, players who enter the scratch flight play without handicaps, similar to any other major amateur event. And at the end of the week, there is additional incentive to be one of the lower scores. Those lucky players get to represent the USA against their counterparts from China at a later date in a set of matches called the Sino-USA Cup that was launched in July. [Read a story about my experience in those matches]

Lyon Lazare posted two solid rounds of 73- 74 to lead the new scratch division; he's two shots in front of Zachary Knott and Mark Gardiner. Gardiner, of Illinois, has been having a great summer after qualifying for the US Senior Amateur and nearly making the US Mid Am (he's first alternate).

ROUNDS OF THE TOURNAMENT (SO FAR)

In scanning just the 2nd flight (played at Net) and the 1st Senior Flight (Age 50-59, also played at net) I found two interesting players. The first one, a plus-2 handicapper named Shawn Eric King, fired gross scores of 67-69 for 36 holes but his net was four higher since he was "giving back" two shots to the field each day. He's tied with a 4-handicap golfer who posted rounds of 77-75. That's the handicap system working. King must have a method to his madness in the way he selected his flight; maybe he will wind up as a captain's pick in the next Sino-USA Cup.

In the Senior Division, Brian James in the 50-59 bracket fired 67 today at Crown Park on top of an 80 yesterday; that puts him in third position Net but likely feeling pretty good about his prospects heading into Wednesday's third round.

FUN CONTINUES OFF THE COURSE

Players gather in the Myrtle Beach convention center for all sorts of festivities including the "World's Biggest 19th hole" with Sirius-XM radio personalities Brian Katrek and John Maginnes broadcasting their "On Tap" program live each afternoon.

View results for Myrtle Beach World Amateur Golf Tournament

ABOUT THE World Amateur

"The largest amateur golf tournament in the world" now has a gross division. The event attracts 3500 players annually. Barefoot Resort is just one of over 40 of Myrtle Beach area’s championship courses on which this tournament is contested. The winner of each flight competes on the fifth day for the overall title Senior Division ages 55- 64, Super-Senior ages 65 and up.

View Complete Tournament Information

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