Old Macfonald

The golfers make their way up a trail past the iconic ghost tree at Old Macdonald during the championship match of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship on Wednesday. 

BANDON — While Scott Harvey and Todd Mitchell earned the trophy at the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort on Wednesday, the players who were in action on the final day all heaped praise on the resort and staff, the golf course and the South Coast community.

“This place is amazing,” said Blake Taylor, who was on the runner-up team. He and partner Logan Shuping, teammates at East Carolina University, were ecstatic when they qualified for the tournament because they knew it was being held on the renowned resort.

“Everybody talked it up so much,” Taylor said, adding that it exceeded all his expectations. “You could have talked it up even more.”

“This place is unbelievable,” Shuping said. “This is the most fun I’ve had playing golf ever.”

Scott Harvey, who teamed with Todd Mitchell to win the event, said the entire atmosphere made the tournament great.

“We’ve been a lot of places,” he said, adding that the people make Bandon Dunes stand out. “We didn’t run into a single person that wasn’t the nicest person.

“When you go somewhere and you’re having a blast and you feel welcome, it’s hard not to play good.”

Mitchell said that wasn’t just on the resort.

“We stayed in Bandon,” he said. “The people of Bandon — it was amazing. They were so nice.”

The duo tried out several restaurants and said all the food was phenomenal and all the people were excited to have the golfers in town.

“This has been a phenomenal week,” he said.

As for the resort, golfers praised the hospitality, the volunteers who helped run the event, the caddies and the quality of the courses.

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Vince Kwon and Troy Vannucci of New Jersey, who reached the final day before losing in the semifinals, each described Bandon Dunes as “golf paradise.”

Andrew Medley, who also lost in the semifinals with teammate Taylor Wood, also walked away thrilled.

“It’s my first time here,” he said. “It’s just a phenomenal piece of property.”

Wood had been at Bandon Dunes for a college tournament before Old Macdonald was built. After spending three days playing matches on the resort’s youngest 18-hole course, he had a new appreciation.

“The more you play it, the more you learn it, the more you understand what the architects intended,” he said, adding that Old Macdonald is a true links course like the best in the world. “You don’t have to go to Scotland.”

Mitchell credited Old Macdonald Superintendent Marcus Lakey and Ken Nice, the resort’s director of agronomy, while discussing the conditions on the course.

“The golf course was fantastic,” he said. “To have it playable in 40 mile per hour winds is not only a testament to the design of the course, but to the people who take care of it.”

The winners also praised their caddies, Bandon Dunes regulars Brandon Skytta and Adam Burlison, who were among more than 100 resort caddies used by the golfers during the tournament, providing their knowledge on tricky breaks for putts and the best places to hit the ball.

Mitchell had met Burlison on a trip to the resort several years ago and asked him to be caddie for the week. Burlison, a 12-year veteran of the resort, suggested Skytta to carry Harvey’s bag.

“There is absolutely no chance we are standing here without them,” Harvey said.

The resort doesn’t have to wait long for another chance to impress golfers from around the country. Bandon Dunes hosts the 2020 U.S. Amateur next August.

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Sports Editor John Gunther can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 241, or by email at john.gunther@theworldlink.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jguntherworld.