Carolinas Golf Magazine

SPR 2019

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Page 19 of 51

Sam Adams is the name of: (A) A Founding Father of our country (B) The namesake of a popular beer (C) The first U.S.-born left handed golfer to win a PGA Tour event (D) All of the above Of course, the answer is (D) All of the above. And while answers A and B refer to the same individual, that Sam Adams died in 1803, long before the PGA Tour got started. In September of 1973, the Sam Adams mentioned in (C) bested the field by three strokes to win the Quad Cities Open contested at Crow Valley Country Club in Bettendorf, Iowa, becoming the first U.S. born left-handed golfer to win a PGA Tour event. And, if you think that the victory was over a lesser field while the big names were across the pond at the British Open, you would be wrong. The Quad Cities tournament was moved to the week of the Open Championship, as the Brits now insist it be called, in 1975. In 1973, the Quad Cities field included eight golfers who, during their careers, won a total of 19 major championships. The Sam Adams who won that tournament was born and raised in Boone, North Carolina, and in his own words, he was probably the "least experienced golfer to ever qualify for the PGA T our." Sam typically played only one or two stroke tournaments a year throughout his high school and college days. He played college golf at A ppalachian State, Sam's "home- town school," but in those days college golf was largely a match play world. Nonetheless, Sam made it through PGA Tour Qualifying School in 1971 and headed out to the big time, rarified air for the small town guy. T hat lack of experience showed in his early days on the Tour, as Sam found himself one shot off the cut line in 19 tournaments in his first two years on Tour. But Sam never doubted his ability. After all, he had finished second in the qualifying tournament, sharing that spot with a guy named Lanny Wadkins. So, Sam persevered. That perseverance and self-confidence became 18 | | S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 F E AT U R E The Hıstoric Golfer North Carolina's Sam Adams left his mark on the history books with a dramatic victory in the 1970s BY JEFF MORRIS T here are certainly historians who are golfers, and there are golfers who are historians. They might all puzzle over the following multiple-choice question:

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