MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The 39th annual World Amateur Handicap Championship – the game’s most inclusive event – teed off Monday morning as more than 3,200 players from all 50 states and seven countries began their quest to claim the mantle of World Champion.

A 72-hole, net stroke play tournament, the World Am, which is open to all players 18 years of age and older, is being played August 29 – September 2 on 49 of the Myrtle Beach area’s premier courses. At the conclusion of Thursday’s fourth round, all flight winners and ties will advance to the Flight Winner’s Playoff at TPC Myrtle Beach, where a World Champion will be crowned.

Defending champion Jean Oberg, the sixth woman to claim the mantle of world champ, returned to defend her crown.

“The World Amateur Handicap Championship is a one-of-a-kind event, allowing regular golfers to enjoy the thrill of 72 holes of competition,” tournament director Scott Tomasello said. “With more than 3,200 players from all 50 states and 15 different countries coming to Myrtle Beach, I couldn’t be more excited about this year’s tournament.”

Entry into the event, which included at least four rounds of golf, nightly admission to the World’s Largest 19th Hole and a gift bag, was $699.

The World Am places players into 11 divisions – men 49 and under, senior men (50-59), mid-senior men (60-69), super senior men (70-79), seasoned seniors (80+), women (59 and under), senior women (60+), the gross division, senior (50+) gross division, mid-senior (60+) gross divison, and women’s gross division. There is also a “Just For Fun” flight, created for players who want to enjoy the World Am experience without the pressure of competition.

After four days of play, all flight winners and ties will advance to the World Championship Playoff at TPC Myrtle Beach, an 18-hole shootout that crowns the event’s winner.

While the competition is initially what lures players to the tournament, it’s only part of what keeps them coming back. At the heart of the World Am’s appeal is the camaraderie among its participants and much of that kinship is fostered at the World’s Largest 19th Hole.

Each night of the event, the 19th Hole overtakes all 120,000-square feet of the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, providing participants with free food and drinks, live entertainment, celebrity guest appearances, a golf expo and more. Among the big names that have appeared at the 19th Hole in recent years are David Feherty, Brandel Chamblee, Charlie Rymer and John Daly.

Players also received a gift bag that included a polo, a pullover, a golf towel, a logo’d hat, a PGA Tour Superstore gift card and an assortment of other goodies valued cumulatively at $250.

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Chris King

A 20-year marketing a public relations professional, Chris King spent the six years prior to launching Kingfish Communications directing the public relations, social media and email marketing efforts of Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, golf’s largest marketing cooperative. King launched a blog that helped increase MBGH’s website traffic exponentially and nearly tripled email open rates.

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