Golf tournament brings international flavor to Pawleys Island Golf course
True Blue Golf Club in Pawleys Island has been ranked among America’s top 100 public courses, it’s home to an annual collegiate tournament, and now it can add host to one of amateur golf’s majors to an already impressive résumé.
The International Mid-Am/Senior Championship, a 54-hole event that attracted 150 players from across America, Canada, Britain, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, was contested at True Blue Aug. 5-7. It drew lots of media attention.
The International Mid-Am/Senior Championship, formerly known as the Midwest Cup, featured 50 of the world’s top 80 senior golfers (defined as 50 years of age and older) and 20 of the top 50 Mid-Amateurs (25+ years old) in the stroke play competition.
Playing a course of True Blue’s caliber allowed Larry Festa, the event’s director of operations, to challenge players with length – the course played nearly 6,800 yards – and creative pin positions.
“True Blue is an exceptional golf course,” said Jerry Slagle, who was responsible for assembling the star-studded field. “If anything, it’s underrated. It’s in phenomenal condition and the course gives Larry the opportunity to really do it right.”
Californian Jon Engellenner, buoyed by a final round 66, won the Mid-Amateur with a three-round score of -12, three shots better than runner-up Justin Young. In the senior championship, Colorado’s Jon Lindstrom finished at -9, one stroke clear of a surging Rob Royak of Alpharetta, Georgia.
The event also featured team competitions, something previously lacking. The event’s CEO, Eric Hjortness, added the team component prior to the 2021 tournament, filling a hole in golf’s competitive calendar while broadening the appeal of the event.
Maryland and West Virginia tied for the team mid-am title, while South-Georgia won the senior team title.
“This is the second year in a three-year plan to create a national team championship,” Hjortness said. “This year we went international with it and all 150 players will go home and say 1 of 2 things: either I want to go back or I don’t, so this year had to be a win. Thank goodness we came to True Blue. It’s a great golf course.”
In addition to the good times on the course, the historic island of Pawleys Island and the area known as South Carolina’s Hammock Coast, proved to be a more than accommodating host.
“As a host destination, it’s phenomenal,” Hjortness said. “Guys can only play golf for 4-5 hours and they don’t want to go to a hotel and do nothing. Now, they can go one mile to the Atlantic Ocean and it’s one of the most phenomenal tourist destinations in the United States.”