World Amateur Golfers Championship –To Become World Champion
World Amateur Golfers Championship is the only amateur golf organization to offer the prestigious opportunity to become World Champion. The journey to represent Team USA in the World Championship begins at the start of each new season and culminates at the National Championship. For 2017 that National was held August 3-5 in Orlando, Florida where those who had acquired the status necessary to compete for a National title came to seal the deal. Only five flight winners and one *National Order of Merit winner would leave Orlando with the title National Champion and the honor to represent the United States of America as Team USA!
*The player who accumulates the most points from WAGC USA Major tournaments wins the National Order of Merit and earns a spot on Team USA to compete in the Invitational tournament at the World finals.
Winning their respective flights at the National Championship were John Duval, Gina Gillman, Chad Schuchmann, Marcel Sow, and Adam Reynolds. Carlos Gonzalez won the National Order of Merit and earned his spot among the other champions to become part of Team USA for 2017. As one might expect the battle to be come National Champion came down to the wire with most of the titles being determined in the last nine holes of the the three day National tournament. Marcel Sow won his spot in a playoff with Carmen Holewinski after being tied at the end of regular tournament play.
Traveling To Malaysia as Team USA
The 2017 World Finals were held in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia. Team USA members (except for John Duval who traveled a couple of days earlier) traveled from their respective hometowns to meet at JFK in New York City for the final two legs of the trip. The flight from NYC to Guangzhou, China was 16 hours with a 3 hour layover before the final 3 hour flight to Kuala Lumpur. Team USA members were met at the Kuala Lumpur airport by members of the Malaysia host staff and shuttled to the Marriott Renaissance Hotel in downtown KL.
Seeing The Sights
There’s plenty to see and experience in Kuala Lumpur and getting around the city is quite easy. A system of monorails and trains makes navigating the city very easy….and inexpensive. A group of us took a trip to Batu Caves (a must see) using the monorail to one point and a train to the caves. The entire fare up and back was less than 40 MYR (Malaysian Ringitt) per person…about $10 U.S dollars at the current exchange rate. There were daily excursions scheduled for family members traveling with the the teams.
The Welcome Dinner and Flag-Raising Ceremony
The welcome dinner / reception and flag-raising ceremony was Sunday night of World Championship week at the Kuala Lumpur convention center. All 35 countries donned their team colors for an evening of fellowship and celebration. Highlights of the evening included a Malaysian dance exhibition and the annual flag-raising ceremony. Each team appointed a member to carry that country’s flag during the ceremony. Every member of Team USA who has done this in the past has expressed the honor to be the flag bearer. This year Team USA member, Chad Schuchmann had the honor.
Practice and Tournament Rounds
There were 35 countries represented in the 2017 World Amateur Golfers Championship finals. All players were given the opportunity to play practice rounds on Sunday and Monday of championship week. The four tournament rounds were scheduled for Tuesday through Friday. Team USA had the five National Championship winners competing in the championship rounds in their respective flight / divisions.
WAGI – World Amateur Golfers Invitational
In addition to the World Amateur Golfers Championship, the World Amateur Golfers Invitational is held each year during the World Finals. The invitational is a handicap flighted amateur competition that is open for anyone to pay to play. Team USA provides one all expenses paid position (National Order of Merit Winner) for this competition. The WAGI is an awesome opportunity to participate in a world class event with an opportunity to become World Champion. Team USA founder, Anders Bengtson, Cat Turner, and National Order of Merit winner, Carlos Gonzalez competed in the 2017 World Amateur Golfers Invitational tournament.
The teams from all 35 countries played all four of the outstanding participating golf courses. Those courses were: The Mines Golf & Resort; Kota Permai Golf & Country Club; Templer Park Country Club; and Sungai Long Golf & country Club.
Team USA Results
Team USA placed 5th in the overall team competition. In the individual competitions both Marcel Sow (16-20 handicap division) and Adam Reynolds (21-25 handicap division)) finished 4th. John Duval (0-5 handicap division)) finished 7th, Chadd Schuchmann (6-10 handicap division) was 12th, and Gina Gillman (11-15) finished 14th. In the WAGI competition Anders Bengtson (16-20 handicap division) finished 31st, Cat Turner (21-25 handicap division) finished 17th, and Carlos Gonzalez (11-15 handicap division) finished 22. The final round of the WAGI was shortened for the Team USA members due to rain.
The golf almost seems secondary to the experience of the World Finals. The comradery among competing countries is truly special. The opportunity to visit a foreign country and compete on a world stage in an Olympic-style setting is unmatched for most amateurs competing in any sport. Ask anyone about the World Finals and you’ll hear them describe the experience. For this writer, to be among the Team USA competitors and to be part of this experience is something extremely unique and certainly a career highlight. I had heard others speak about it, but to “feel” the experience was much more than I imagined.
Come Join Us
To find the nearest WAGC division to you visit our Team USA Regions page HERE. Become a member and play in regular tournaments in your region, or become a member and play in our four Major Championships to earn a spot in the WAGC Team USA National Championship. Winners of each flight at the National Championship along with a National Order of Merit winner will get an all expense paid opportunity to represent Team USA against the world and an experience of a lifetime.