World Am is a Family Affair for the Swopes’

World Am JaredFor first time, World Am participant, Jared Swopes, it's not only about the golf, it was time for a getaway with the family and the golf is turning out to be a bonus. The Lubbock, Tex. resident had planned on playing in his first World Am last year, but when it didn't materialize, he made sure 2016 would be the year.

"I listen to (Brian) Katrek and (John) Maginnes on (Sirius XM) PGA Tour Radio and they were broadcasting from here, and I had to look into it and now I'm here, and it's awesome," stated Swopes who made the trip from Texas with his wife Megan and his young son, Jameson.

While the World Am is a "Buddy Trip" for many, for Swopes, it's turned into a family vacation. The Swopes have visited the beaches and have been enjoying meeting fellow competitors in the World Am. Swopes says he's lucky that he has the opportunity to play golf on a regular basis and this week he is in Flight 5.

The first day was a little rough as he shot a 91, but the Golf Gods turned a bit kinder on Tuesday as he shot an 83 and was able to calm his nerves a little.

Megan and Jameson on the other hand have been visiting some of the hot spots in town.

Swopes plays out of the Lakeridge Country Club in Lubbock when he isn't running his automatic door company (think revolving doors at hotels and airports). Swopes says his family looks to plan a beach vacation each year that give him the opportunity to play golf. In recent years, they have visited spots in the Caribbean and Mexico, but they say Myrtle Beach ranks right up there when it comes to golf and things to do.

"I thought I was serious about the tournament, until the first day and I saw there players," admitted Swopes. "There are some good players here and I'm just happy I can experience it for myself."

Swopes said he would recommend the "World Am Experience" to his friends back home and he can foresee one of two of those families venturing to Myrtle Beach in the coming years.

"Most of the guys I play with are younger than me and they would love this. They may not know about it now, but they will when I get back."

Key to Marital Bliss: Couple Plays World Am Together

underwoodThe couple that golfs together stays together.

Or, at the very least, it works for Duane and Lisa Wilkins.

The Winter Park, Fl., couple are celebrating their wedding anniversary this week and they annually schedule vacation to coincide with the special occasion.

This year they are doing it at the World Am. Neither Duane or Lisa had heard of the event prior to receiving an email earlier in the year, but knowing they were taking the week off, the golf nuts took the plunge.

After signing up without doing a lot of research, there was some trepidation, but the experience has more than met their expectations.

“It’s awesome,” Lisa said. “The people are so nice and everyone is so friendly.”

“I haven’t met a bad person yet,” Duane said of the tournament.

While some - men and women - go to the course to escape their spouse, Duane and Lisa do the opposite. The couple plays together every week at Eagle Landing Golf Club in Jacksonville.

The result is a happy marriage and two new World Am players.

Happy Anniversary, Duane and Lisa. We hope to see you again next year.

World Am Day 2 Photo Gallery

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From the Toss of the Tee to a First Swing Ace

Mark Ehlich stood on the 13th tee at the Moorland Course at Legends Resort as one of his playing partners tossed a tee in the air to see who would lead-off in the opening round of the World Am.

Naturally, given that he was playing in the event for the first time, the tee came to a stop pointing at Ehlich, who was left to silently bemoan his luck.

Moments later, fate intervened in a way that it never has the 33-year history of the World Am.

“It was 120 yards (to the hole),” Ehlich said. “It was a little bit down hill so I took a 9-iron and swung easy. (My playing partners) were like it’s a good shot. I said, ‘Yeah, it looks pretty good’ and about that time, clink, it went straight in the hole. It actually damaged the hole and I had to call the clubhouse and have them come repair the cup.”

With his playing partners, one of whom had never seen an ace, celebrating, Ehlich had taken a lead at the World Am on his first swing. Ehlich endured a few good natured jokes about going broke buying drinks at the bar, but his response was on the money.

“It would be worth it,” he said with a laugh.

It was Ehlich’s third career ace and he made a double eagle earlier this year, so he knows how to get the ball in the cup from distance.

As is often the case with golf, the breaks didn’t go his way the rest of the way, and after an early lead, he finished the first round T-27 with a net 81. But there is time to recover and either way, Ehlich has already had an unforgettable World Am.

Photo Gallery: 19th Hole Comes Alive, More Round 1 Action

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Exhibitor Spotlight: Turf Life, SCNS Sports Energy Bars and Tin Cup

By Rick Limpert, Special to MyrtleBeachWorldAmateur.com

Each year some of the top golf apparel, club and accessory manufacturers and retailers flock to the Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship. The World's Largest 19th Hole is part expoWorld Am exhibitor1 and part golf party. It spans the Myrtle Beach Convention Center and gives World Am golfers and their guests a chance to see the latest golf products and what the area has to offer. Here is a look at a couple of our exhibitors:

Turf Life

Turf Life is seeking Turf-Heads to join its party at the World's Largest 19th Hole. Swing by Booth #606 for your free Turf Life Tattoo and switch your party affiliation! Both Republicans and Democrats will be switching parties in Myrtle Beach and joining Turf Life's new favorite party....the Cocktail Party at the World's Largest 19th Hole!

Turf Life celebrates an appreciation for the hard work and science that goes into maintaining and developing a sustainable turf environment. The purpose is to promote the responsible use of water and nutrients so that life is always greener on the Turf Life side! Turf-heads everywhere are reducing their carbon footprint...so please join the club and make your voice heard!  DEFEND YOUR TURF…. by being a part of Turf Life. LET'S MAKE TURF GREAT AGAIN!

For more information on Turf Life and its mission visit www.TurfLife.club.

1st Tee™ and 10th Tee™ Energy Bars

World Am golfers are always looking for a boost  and the perfect energy bar, so SCNS Sports' nutrition and energy bars are a nice addition to the exhibitor section for 2016. There are seven different types of nutrition and energy bars on display that golfers can sample. The original 1st Tee bar comes in two different flavors: oatmeal raisin and chocolate peanut, and contain all-natural chamomile, hops and valerian root to help reduce anxiety on the first tee. Most recent additions to the 1st Tee line are two gluten-free bars: Dark Chocolate Chip Trail Mix bar and Honey Almond Snack bar.

There are three flavors of the 10th Tee bar, two of which contain green tea and panax ginseng extracts to help sustain energy through the back nine. Those flavors are Peanut Honey and Chocolate Peanut Caramel.

"We created the 10th Tee bars to look and taste like a candy bar, because a lot of golfers like to grab a candy bar at the turn," said Bill Stewart, Chief Operating Officer at SCNS Sports Foods. "But our bars contain half the fat and twice the protein of most candy bars. So while you will get the same enjoyment as you would eating a traditional candy bar, you also will gain the energy-sustaining benefit for the back nine from our 10th Tee bars." Earlier this year the company launched a gluten free 10th Tee Cranberry Trail Mix bar.

Visit www.golfenergybar.com to see all of SCNS Sports' energy and nutrition bars.

Tin Cup

Based on USGA Rule 12-2 that states all golfers must be able to "identify their ball" during play, Tin Cup believed there was a need to create something unique as a way to personalize each players golf ball. There is no better way to mark your ball than Tin Cup. It is a stainless steel ball marker that is guaranteed for life and was voted one of the best new overall products at the 2010 PGA Merchandise Show. Since then, Tin Cup has quickly gained industry and consumer recognition for its innovation and design. Tin Cup is constantly coming out with new designs. They now have three different American Flag designs and recently added the University of Alabama and Michigan State logos to their offerings.

Tin Cup sells product online, at retail stores, in pro shops all over the country and at the 19th Hole.

Visit www.tin-cup.com for more information.

Photo Gallery: First Round Play and Welcome Party Delight

First round play teed off this morning at 32 Myrtle Beach golf courses. Enjoy a quick photo gallery spotlighting play at the Moorland Course at Legends Resort and pics from last night's welcome party!

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