Golf is a numbers game, and Jeff Holt is a numbers type of guy. As in golf, the lower the number the more Hunt likes it.
Holt, who is the executive director of the South Beach International Amateur, introduced that tournament to South Florida a year ago. The inaugural tournament was ranked the 47th-best amateur event in the world, which is the best ranking a first-year tournament has ever achieved.
Sounds like it’s time to take a breath and feel good about what was accomplished last year.
No way, says Hunt. Let’s make that number even lower — and better.
“We expect to be in the top 25 this year,” he said. “That will make us a major. We already are the No.1 amateur event during the winter season.”
The tournament will be held Dec. 18-21 with play on both the Miami Beach Golf Club and Normandy Shores Golf Club courses the first two days, and the final two days at Miami Beach.
Playing commitments are rolling in, according to Hunt.
“We have 85 commitments already,” he said. “Last year at this time we had 10 commitments.”
He promises there will be more English players in the tournament, and the influx of French players from a year ago should continue.
Among the commitments is Jim Liu, one of the top junior amateurs in the world who will be going to Stanford. Also likely is Scott Harvey, one of the top mid-amateurs in the world. Another good possibility is Tim Mickelson, Phil Mickelson’s brother and the coach at Arizona State.
“The college coaches obviously like this event,” Hunt said.
A year ago, Kelly Kraft — a U.S. Amateur champion — won the inaugural tournament. Kraft has since turned pro and won’t be back.
“The fact we’re doing this well this early is very exciting,” Hunt said. “We’re feeling very good … to put it mildly.”
Owners of Premier Cards, which allow you to pay only cart fees for the summer months, get an extra bonus through Sept. 27.
The card is normally good only for the holder, but until Sept. 27 — only Mondays through Thursdays — on certain courses, a card member can bring up to three other individuals at the same price the Premier Card provides, usually in the $30 range.
The courses participating are Carolina Club; Normandy Shores; Country Club of Miami; Palmetto; Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne; Pembroke Lakes; Grand Palms; Shula’s Golf Club; Miami Shores; and Woodmont’s Cypress Course.
• Parkland’s Steven LaMay and Miami’s Michelle Rodriguez were winners in the Platinum Tour event at Crandon Park Golf Course on Key Biscayne. LaMay shot 72-78 —150 and Rodriguez finished at 71-88 —159.