Middle Georgia foursome strikes it big at Pebble Beach
The chance to play golf at three of the nicest golf courses in the world in a tournament atmosphere was just too much for four local golfers to turn down.
So when Chris Murman, a PGA Class A professional, asked Steve Welsh, John Walker IV (Delta Omicron–Clemson ’95) and Cole Tidwell to head to California with him to play in the Mizuno Pro-Am, all three of them jumped at the chance to play at Spyglass Hill Golf Club, The Links at Spanish Bay and Pebble Beach Golf Links.
But the four Idle Hour Club golfers did a little more than compete in the event held in February. They used an amazing final round at Pebble Beach to win the 54-team tournament, the first time Murman has won in his seven years of playing in the event.
“The team I had last year finished in the middle of the pack, but more than the golf, you want to be with people that you really enjoy being with,” Murman said. “But when I asked Steve, John and Cole to play, the goal was to win. These guys are three of the premier golf players in Macon, and I truly thought that we could compete with anyone at this tournament.”
The Mizuno Pro-Am format took the best two scores from the team on every hole each team played through four rounds.
The Macon team found itself six shots down heading into the final day, but good things started to happen early in the final round. Playing at Pebble Beach for the second straight day, Tidwell eagled the second hole to give them some early momentum.
“We knew by the time we got to the back nine we had to be close to the lead,” Murman said. “But we really could not be sure where we were, so we just had to keep on plugging.”
With no scoreboards, all the players could do was to just try and continue to play strong and hope for the best. After struggling on the 15th, where they got a saving par from Walker, the team bounced back with a birdie from Tidwell on the par-three 17th, and Murman and Welsh finished it out with two birdies on 18. The result was an 11-under round on the final day and a one-shot victory.
“The entire trip was amazing, but what I will remember the most is No. 17 on the last day,” Tidwell said. “The pin was in the exact location that it was in for the 1982 U.S. Open when Tom Watson chipped in for birdie and ended up winning the tournament. I was a little bit in awe of the entire experience, but we all just really came together on the last day and played some great golf.”
“Winning is always fun, and I admit I try and get my game as strong as I can before I go to this tournament, but it is really a nice thing for me to watch three champion golfers and friends take on Pebble Beach, Spyglass, and Spanish Bay,” Murman said. “I think all of us really enjoyed the week.”