Exhausted McGirt Loves “Old School” Courses Like The Dunes Club

Story by Bob Gillespie and Chris King

Former Wofford player William McGirt looked spent after Saturday’s round of 2-over par 73 at the Myrtle Beach Classic, but then he had every right to be pooped. “I’m out of nerves, and about out of energy,” he said after his even-par 213 score left him near the bottom of the field.

Still, his results were far better than those who didn’t make the 36-hole cut. McGirt did – barely. On Friday, he had to birdie his final two holes to get in under the wire at 2-under par.
And that was after a frantic finish in Monday’s 18-hole qualifying round, where he earned the tournament’s final spot. “I’m not surprised I got nothing going today,” he said.

McGirt, miffed at not receiving a sponsor’s exemption into the tournament, had arrived at the 18th tee at TPC Myrtle Beach on Monday knowing he needed an eagle on the par-5 hole just to make a playoff for the tournament spot.

“I’d bogeyed the 16th hole with a poor chip and missed 8-foot putt,” he said. After a par at 17, “I looked at my phone and told Mac (his 11-year-old son who was caddying for his dad), ‘Well, if we want to get in, we gotta make (an eagle) 3.’”

He did, but it was an adventure. His drive into the trees luckily kicked out and forward, leaving him 278 yards to the flag. Normally, he said, he would’ve laid up, but with no choice, he went for the green and made it. “I couldn’t have gotten another inch out of that shot,” he said. His 15-footer for eagle barely slid into the hole.

By comparison, the subsequent playoff was stress-free, as Mickey DeMorat hit two shots into the water and McGirt’s birdie putt wrapped up his spot.

Earning that was “a big deal” for McGirt, whose only previous visit to The Dunes Club came 27 years earlier, the week before he enrolled at Wofford. “I wanted to play here (because) it’s 65 miles by car from where I grew up,” he said. “It’s nice to play close to home, especially on a golf course you love.

“I’d put (The Dunes Club) in my top 10, and I’ve played a lot of good ones. The old courses stand the test of time. Give me (architects) Donald Ross, Seth Raynor, Robert Tree Jones (who built The Dunes in 1948), Alister Mackenzie; you can have (modern architects Tom) Fazio and Pete Dye.”

Fond memories of The Dunes Club for NeSmith

Former USC player Matt NeSmith started the week as one of 17 entrants with ties to South Carolina. By Saturday morning, he was one of six survivors, and made the most of the opportunity by shooting 4-under par 67 – two shots better than his 2-under total after Friday, which barely made the cut.

But there were good memories at The Dunes Club for the North Augusta native, who now lives in Aiken. “I played a college tournament here my senior year (2016),” he said, “and I was co-champion with Jimmy Stanger,” a former Virginia player who shot 73-75 and missed the cut this week.

“Yeah, I’ve got good memories here,” NeSmith said, and laughed. “I wish the course had treated me as well this week as it did back then. At 6-under through three rounds, he’s far back of the 54-hole lead.

NeSmith, as did most of the S.C. contingent, was highly impressed with Myrtle Beach’s first PGA Tour event. “I love golf here, and the fans here for a first-year event are amazing,” he said. “We’ve got great weather, and it’s a great thing for South Carolina.”

And for S.C. residents, he added. “I didn’t have to travel. I could drive here in my own car,” he said. “We’ve got family and friends here, and I saw some USC fans in my gallery.”

No Clemson fans? “Not following me,” he said with a grin. Jacob Bridgeman and Carson Young were more likely to get those.

Like grandfather, like grandsons: Coody name stands out

Parker Coody and his twin brother Pierceson stood out in the Myrtle Beach Classic field for their famous surname. They’re the grandsons of Charles Coody, who won the 1971 Masters. Chances are Granddad would’ve been proud of both on Saturday, but especially Parker, who birdied five holes on the back nine including the final three to shoot 6-under 65, the best round among earlier finishers.

That vaulted him to 9-under par and in legitimate contention. Brother Pierceson, meanwhile, shot 3-under 68 and was at 5-under for the week.

The brothers were six years old when their grandfather played his last Masters in 2006, and they were Charles Coody’s caddies in the Par-3 Contest. According to family lore, Pierceson sank a 40-foot putt on the short course’s final hole.

Something else the Coody boys have in common with their granddad, who won three PGA Tour events including the Masters: both won PGA Tour affiliated events, with Parker (37 minutes older than his twin) claiming the PGA Tour Canada 2022 Manitoba Open and Pierceson winning on the Korn Ferry Tour. Father Kyle also played 20 Korn Ferry tournaments from 1990-96.

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Dunes Golf & Beach Club

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