Wallace sets course record en route to qualifying for Senior British Open

Published 7:55 pm Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Ashland (Ky.) golfer Harold Wallace talks about his British Open qualifier tournament win and setting the Firestone Golf Course record. (The Ironton Tribune/Ryan Walker)

By Jim Walker


ASHLAND, Ky. — It has been said that what you don’t know can’t hurt you.

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Harold Wallace didn’t know a few things and won a golf qualifier. Now, he doesn’t know for sure what lies ahead.

Sounds like Wallace is in for some more good times.

Ashland (Ky.) golfer Harold Wallace talks about playing in the Senior British Open. (The Ironton Tribune/Ryan Walker)

More than 100 golfers teed off at the Firestone West Course in The Senior British Open Championship qualifier on Monday, July 10, sponsored by Rolex that saw 7 players earn a berth in the prestigious tournament including Ashland’s Harold Wallace who not only won the event but set the course record with a round of 63.

Other qualifiers were Omar Uresti with a 65, Jesus Rivas and Michael Muehr at 66, and Esteban Toledo, Carlos Franco and Tim Weinhart all with a 67.

Wallace didn’t know about the course record that saw him fire a 7-under.

“I wasn’t aware (of the record) until I got home,” said Wallace. “When I found out about it it someone put up a post that it was a course record. I said, ‘That was a course record?’ I didn’t even know it. Jesse Hunt said they were going to send me the scorecard for me to sign so they could put it in the (pro) shop which is pretty cool.”

And as for qualifying for The Senior British Open July 27-30?

“It hasn’t set in yet,” said Wallace.

This is only the second year there has been a qualifier in the United States and Wallace was glad this event was at Firestone.

“It was a golf course I really, really like that I’ve played a few times,” said Wallace. “I played the Ohio Senior a couple of times there.”

This will be the fourth time Wallace participates in a PGA tournament. He has also played in the Greater Milwaukee Opening 1998, Michelob Championship in 2001 in Virginia — the final year for that particular tournament — and the 2007 John Deere Classic.

“This is by far the biggest event. This is my first tour event and for it to be a major is unbelievable.This is a bucket list for me that I never thought I’d get to do it and now I get to play in a major event, so it’s pretty cool,” said Wallace.

And here comes some more unknowns.

The Senior British Open will be played at Porthcawl Golf Club in Porthcawl, Wales. Wallace has never played on foreign soil.

Playing in the United Kingdom means Wales is 7 hours ahead of the United States.

Another factor is the weather. The Senior British Open and British Open are both usually played in windy and even rainy conditions.

All theses factors are something Wallace has not experienced but he doesn’t seem to mind the time difference and he has a plan for the weather.

“I don’t sleep much. I think I have sleep apnea. I’ve never had it checked. I’m good with any time zone,” said Wallace with a chuckle.

“I’m sure it will take a bit to get used to it. I’m good in the morning. Morning is probably better over there anyway. You think that maybe the wind ain’t as bad. I’ll just hit it low”

The idea of playing against some of the biggest names in golf doesn’t intimidate Wallace.

“That would be unbelievable,” said Wallace. “I played the three tour events and I was never with anybody that was as big a name as Bernhard (Lunger), but I’ve played with quiet of guys who went on tour. I feel if I play good I can keep up with those guys.”

Wallace started playing golf at a young age but he also played baseball, basketball and some football.

Still, golf seemed to be the sport he gravitated toward the most.

“I loved baseball and I loved basketball. I threw my arm out in baseball as a pitcher,” said Wallace. “When I was younger I played almost non-stop. I played as much as I could. When I’m competing, I don’t even like to miss a day. If I’m playing bad I don’t care, but if I’m playing good I don’t want to miss a day. When I miss a day it’s like I lose something. I get out of sync or something. I’m going to miss almost two days playing golf just getting over there.. It’s going to drive me nuts.”

Something else that is an unknown experience is having his name announced prior to teeing off to start each round.

“It’s going to be weird to have (my name) announced in something like that. I might be too zoned in. I just hope I get it airborne. I might hit a pitching wedge just so I can get it out,” said Wallace.

“It’s definitely going to be the experience of a lifetime.”

That is something that everyone knows to be true and it won’t hurt a bit.

Royal Porthcawl Golf Club Course Layout

Hole Yards Par   Hole Yards Par

1           427       4          10      400.     4

2           374      4           11       355      4

3           451       4          12       194      3

4           455       4          13       551      5

5           212        3          14      435      4

6          515          5          15      173      3

7           381         4.        16      466      4

8           122         3          17      430      4

9           456         4          18     504      5

Out 3,393 35 In 3,508 36

Total 6,901 71