The Best Par-3s of Myrtle Beach
The golf courses in Myrtle Beach are home to plenty of island greens and other memorable - and penal - par 3 holes. Just about every course has at least one standout. Here are some of the finest that stand to make your knees shiver a bit:
Grande Dunes Resort Course, No. 14: Grande Dunes features several holes playing along the waterway, but this is the most stunning of them all. Though pretty, it's long, bold and plenty intimidating. Steep bunkers and hazards short and below the green will ensure you take plenty of club.
Heritage Club, No. 13: Among the longest par-3 carries over water in Myrtle Beach depending on the tees you're playing from, No. 13 at this Lowcounty gem along the Waccamaw River begins a brutal stretch of holes, making up one of Myrtle Beach's toughest back sides.
King's North at Myrtle Beach National Golf Club, No. 12: Each of King's North's par 3s play over water, and No. 12's green is surrounded by it. Just a pitch at between 115-150 yards, but this island green is plenty tough to hit and features the 'S' and 'C' bunkers to further complicate things. The green is misleadingly deep, so mind your club selection.
The Dunes Golf and Beach Club, No. 12: Before you walk off the 11th hole of the Dunes Club, be sure to seek out No. 12's championship tee box: over 230 yards all over marsh to a smallish target, a box used during the Senior PGA Tour Championship when held here.
Soak it in, and then your own box might not look as difficult, though you'll still be forced with all carry to the green.
True Blue Plantation, No. 3: Each of True Blue's par 3s will give you sweaty palms thanks to Mike Strantz's imaginative shaping, with No. 3 perhaps being the most likely to intimidate. Bunkers slope straight into the water, and on a sunny day, don't be surprised if you see a resident gator sunning in the front one - all the more reason to take one more club.
Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club, No. 13: There are a lot of island greens in Myrtle Beach that are very large. This isn't one of them. This unlucky 13 is the climax of a stunning, marshy back nine at this Jack Nicklaus-designed course. This sliver of green juts out into marsh, with just a sliver of turf wide enough to walk on from the cart path.
When the tide is out, you'll see the sheer carnage of golf balls that have fallen victim here - likely a couple of your own, too.
Glen Dornoch, No. 17: Considered one of the area's toughest closing stretches, the 17th green features marsh front, left and long, but that's not all. Players must also hit over a tree from the tee. Those sheepish enough to bail out on the right side will find themselves atop a bunker-laden mound, making a chip back to the green even tougher than the tee shot.
The Dye Course at Barefoot Resort, No. 17: Like most Pete Dye-designed golf courses, the Barefoot is no easy finish. Before a brutally long par-4 finisher, golfers must hit a pure mid or long iron into a diagonally placed green, making yardage and line all that more important. Waste and hazard surrounds the green. If the pin is in the back right, good luck.
Myrtle Beach's top bargain par-3s
You don't have to pay three figures to find a good par 3 in Myrtle Beach. Here are some bargain courses with their own stiff tests:
The Wizard Golf Course, No. 17: After about 15 holes of links-style golf, The Wizard finishes off in the middle of a 100-acre manmade lake, which the 17th green sticks right out of. The tee sticks up even higher, giving you some good elevation and visibility, but the wind out here can sometimes make that a detriment.
Palmetto Course at Myrtlewood Golf Club, No. 17: The Pinehills Course at Myrtlewood is probably an all-around better test of golf, but they don't have the two waterway holes of the original Palmetto course. No. 17 plays with the waterway to your left and a canal funneling into it in front. The green is narrow and elevated, guarded by an enormous bunker in front. Though just about 140-150 yards, hitting this green (especially with pin tucked left) is no cakewalk.
Arrowhead Country Club (The Waterway), No. 3: A stern, 175-yard shot entirely over water to a green guarded all around by bunkers. A front pin location up against the water will certainly test your mettle.
Crow Creek Golf Club, No. 8: Architects at Crow Creek in Brunswick County flooded the land around the eighth hole to create a unique looking par 3, with many bare trees sticking out, including a cypress tree that guards the left side of the green, which can cause havoc for slicers. It's a favorite perch for bird life, so don't expect total silence on your backswing.
West Course, Myrtle Beach National Golf Club, No. 18: A rare par-3 finishing hole, and it's a doozy from the championship tees, playing 220 yards entirely over water. Swing too hard and you stand to find yourself left into the drink, too.
by Ian Lenton, WorldGolf.com
Also available at WorldGolf.com
Kim cruises to first win, final Open invite at Deere
Following the best week of his professional career, Michael Kim is both a winner on the PGA Tour and the 156th and final player to earn a tee time next week at The Open.
Kim entered the final round of the John Deere Classic with a five-shot lead, and the former Cal standout removed any lingering doubt about the tournament's outcome with birdies on each of his first three holes. He cruised from there, shooting a bogey-free 66 to finish the week at 27 under and win by eight shots over Francesco Molinari, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Bronson Burgoon.
It equals the tournament scoring record and ties for the largest margin of victory on Tour this season, matching Dustin Johnson's eight-shot romp at Kapalua in January and Molinari's margin two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National.
"Just super thankful," Kim said. "It's been a tough first half of the year. But to be able to finish it out in style like this means a lot."
Kim, 25, received the Haskins Award as the nation's top collegiate player back in 2013, but his ascent to the professional ranks has been slow. He had only one top-10 finish in 83 starts on Tour entering the week, tying for third at the Safeway Open in October 2016, and had missed the cut each of the last three weeks.
But the pieces all came together at TPC Deere Run, where Kim opened with 63 and held a three-shot lead after 36 holes. His advantage was trimmed to a single shot during a rain-delayed third round, but Kim returned to the course late Saturday and closed with four straight birdies on Nos. 15-18 to build a five-shot cushion and inch closer to his maiden victory.
As the top finisher among the top five not otherwise exempt, Kim earned the final spot at Carnoustie as part of the Open Qualifying Series. It will be his first major championship appearance since earning low amateur honors with a T-17 finish at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and he is also now exempt for the PGA Championship and next year's Masters.
The last player to earn the final Open spot at the Deere and make the cut the following week was Brian Harman, who captured his first career win at TPC Deere Run in 2014 and went on to tie for 26th at Royal Liverpool.
Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal
Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.
Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.
Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.
"I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."
Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:
Disappointing. Clearly misunderstood my explanation. pic.twitter.com/YcKHMPf2v7— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) July 15, 2018
Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.
Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker
A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.
The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.
There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.
But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.
As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.
This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.
Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie
There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.
Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.
Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.
Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.
The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.
Stone was not yet qualified for The Open, and as a result of his performance at Gullane Golf Club he will tee it up next week at Carnoustie. Stone headlined a group of three Open qualifiers, as Pepperell and Dantorp (T-3) also earned invites by virtue of their performance this week. The final spot in the Open will go to the top finisher not otherwise qualified from the John Deere Classic.