Chris Gotterup Captures Inaugural Myrtle Beach Classic

Chris Gotterup fired a 22-under par total to win the PGA Tour's inaugural Myrtle Beach Classic by 6 strokes over Alistair Docherty at Dunes Golf & Beach Club May 12 in the "Golf Capital of the World."

MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina – This was only fitting. The newest tournament on the PGA Tour was won by one of the circuit’s youngest players.

Chris Gotterup, just 24 and barely a year removed from his last college tournament, captured the inaugural Myrtle Beach Classic at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club. He took a four-stroke lead into Sunday’s final round, then floundered twice before finally putting the win away.

Gotterup opened the final round with two bogeys then went birdie-eagle-birdie to open a five-shot lead. The lead was in jeopardy again when he struggled on the first four holes of the back nine. His advantage was cut to two after 13 holes before he regrouped again to beat closest rivals Davis Thompson and Canadian Alistair Docherty.

Denmark’s Thorbjern Oleson fired a course record 10-under par 61 in the final round to finish T-16 a on the ocean-side layout designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr.

“No matter what tournament I’m in, I’m going to grind it out,’’ said Gotterup, whose two comebacks made the surprise arrival of his parents and two brothers all the more special. They weren’t expected here until Monday.

The final round was marked by a 10-under-par 61 by Denmark’s Thorbjern Oleson, a course record on the ocean-side layout designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1948. Gotterup’s closing 67 and gave him a 72-hole score of 22-under-par 262.

Meanwhile, Gotterup had only one top-five finish to show for his first 26 starts on the PGA Tour but is now headed for this week’s PGA Championship at Valhalla, in Louisviile, KY. The year’s second major championship tees off on Thursday and Sunday’s win got him there.

A record crowd for a first time event of over 15,000 fans showed up for round 3 at Dunes Golf & Beach Club.

Gotterup spent his first four collegiate years at Rutgers, where he had a Player of the Year season. Then he took a redshirt year at Oklahoma and was even better there. He followed it up by getting eight starts on the PGA Tour, many through sponsor exemptions.

Those eight starts technically ruled Gotterup out of rookie status on the PGA Tour for this season, but he has no complaints about that.

“Those eight starts were huge for me,’’ he said. “I left school with no status at all but I played good and grinded it out.’’


He also did just that to get his first professional win in the first PGA Tour event at Myrtle Beach, a golf mecca that justifiably bills itself as “the World’s Golf Capital.’’

The tourney, blessed with beautiful weather and good crowd support, made its debut on the same day that the Wells Fargo Championship, held just 173 miles away in Charlotte, N.C., with a much stronger field than Myrtle Beach’s, ended its PGA Tour run. That decision was made by its sponsor several months ago, but its site – Quail Hollow – will host next year’s PGA Championship.

Myrtle Beach Classic Photo Album by Joy Sarver

(PHOTOS – Joy Sarver)

Len has been covering golf for over 56 years. He was the golf columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times for 41 years and has been in the same role for the Daily Herald and several regional newspapers since 2009... Len is also a regular contributor to the Chicago District Golfer magazine and his travel pieces are regularly published in Pro Golf Weekly, New England.Golf, eSouthernGolf and the Ohio Golf Journal. His works for all publications are available at It is in its 15th year of operation and has been enhanced by the photography provided by his partner Joy Sarver... An inductee into the Illinois Soccer Hall of Fame in 2004 (for his reporting and youth coaching, not as a player), Len was also inducted into the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame in 2019. He is also on the Advisory Board of the International Network of Golf, is a lifetime member of the Golf Writers Association of America and a member of the Golf Travel Writers of America.

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