Check-in at the 35th annual World Amateur Handicap Championship opened at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, but the first person in line arrived much earlier.
Daniel Messner left Wynne, Arkansas at 7:30 p.m. Friday and drove through the night, pulling into the North Myrtle Beach PGA Tour Superstore parking lot at 8 a.m. He had time to walk to the Pancake House for breakfast and coffee before leading the parade of 3,184 golfers who will play in this year’s tournament.
While some may wonder why Messner didn’t wait until Saturday morning to leave, he never considered other options. He got tired a couple hours into the trip but after a stop for gas was otherwise fine.
Messner planned to take a short nap Saturday morning and play in a skins game in the afternoon, maximizing the fun and golf.
“This is my one-time a year vacation for Dan,” he said.
After playing in the event for the first time last year, Messner got bit by the World Am bug. He started playing in Golf Channel and Golfweek Am Tour events to prep for the World Am and believes better results are in the cards in 2018
“Last year, i had fairly reasonable expectations – I just didn’t want to be last in my flight,” Messner said with a laugh. “I accomplished that. This year, I don’t want to have the first day blow up, so I can finish higher. My expectation is I’ll be in the top quarter of my flight this year.”
While Messner will be on his own – his wife is in Hawaii (but not threatened by Hurricane Lane) – he’d like for his buddies from Arkansas to make the trip one year, something their line of work makes difficult.
“If you can get a group of guys together and come down here and do this (it would be great),” he said. “I live in an agriculture driven area and all my friends are farmers (the harvest season has started), but if you can get a group of guys to come in here, for the dollar value, you aren’t going to beat it.”