In North Carolina, Southwick Am's 33 year streak remains intact
Southwick G.C. and 33rd Amateur champ Tony Byerly
Many amateur tournaments have had their consecutive years played streak snapped due to COVID-19, but that was not the case for the 33rd annual Southwick Amateur Championship.
“We had the Graham City Am last month, I think we were the only people to have a tournament in the month of April,” Tony Byerly said in an interview with AmateurGolf.com. “We were going to do anything we could to make sure the tournament didn’t get cancelled.”
Byerly, president of Byerley Management Group LLC and the general manager of Southwick Golf Course in Graham, North Carolina picked up his eighth Southwick Amateur Championship on Sunday.
COVID-19 was not the only threat to the tournament as the course was pounded with over seven inches of rain just days before the tournament, washing out holes 14 and 15. Byerly’s grounds crew worked hard to prepare the course adding an additional longer tee box to No. 1 so players could play No. 1 and No. 2 again in place of the par-five 14th and par-four 15th.
Sitting in a tie for third place following the first round with a 67 (-4) on Saturday, Byerly went on a tear on Sunday posting a nine-under 62 in the second to last group.
“With this being my home course I play it really well, but I didn’t putt really well the first day,” Byerly said. “I was trying to make as many birdies as I could.”
With nine birdies and an eagle, Byerly had just two bogeys dirty his scorecard, keeping him from tying the course record of 60 that he shot in 2008. Not only does Byerly hold the course record at Southwick, but he also holds the lowest tournament score of 126 with a 64, 62.
At age 46, Byerly has hundreds of amateur tournament wins. Turning pro in 1999, he held professional status on multiple tours until regaining his amateur status in 2006. Byerly has aspirations of joining the PGA Champions Tour once eligible when he turns 50. Adopting Fred Couples’ laid-back playing style, that may not be such a stretch.
“That’s my goal if I can stay healthy,” Byerly said about trying to qualify for the Champions Tour. “I don’t practice a lot but I go out and play tournaments and play great.”
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36-hole individual stroke play tournament flighted
after the first round, with Open and Senior (ages 55+)
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