The Rice Planters Amateur Golf Tournament was the inspiration of amateur golfer Dick Horne. During his first Porter Cup at the Niagara Falls Country Club in 1973, Horne befriended cup chairman Dick Harvey. Harvey encouraged a receptive Horne to develop his own southern tournament and, consequently, along with other Porter Cup officials, shared enough useful information to get Horne started in the South. That same year Horne, Tournament Chairman Ernie Chandler and other supporters organized the first Rice Planters Invitational Golf Tournament at Snee Farm Country Club in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Horne, already equipped with the Porter Cup mailing list, set out to do some local recruiting. “It’s the most enjoyable thing I’ve ever done,” said Horne. His pioneering efforts found him in downtown Charleston diligently distributing flyers to anyone who wanted to play golf.
The inaugural field of 51 players was mostly comprised of Snee Farm Country Club (SFCC) members and other local golf enthusiasts. However, the top three players were from out of town. Dave Canipe, a 20-year-old University of Georgia Junior, won with an 8-over par 296. Bill Harvey, the 42-year-old veteran from North Carolina (no relation to Dick Harvey) placed second with a 12-over 300. Bill Lewis from Florence placed third, narrowly beating Mt. Pleasant’s Dick Horne. In 1974, Bill Harvey emerged as the winner of the second annual Rice Planters by edging the home course favorite, Dick Horne, during a sudden death playoff. Friends Harvey and Horne had an amazing display of ‘I don’t want it, you take it.’ The rest of the field of one hundred players still had a predominantly local flavor.
By the third year the Rice Planters proceeded to change. The focus became amateur status, and the tournament began attracting more prominent players. Andy Bean, an All-America from the University of Florida’s outstanding golf team, agreed to attend if his requests were met: availability of housing, a vehicle, and permission to bring a fellow Floridian golfer. Horne, happy to extend some southern hospitality, especially to top players and their golfing companions, willingly complied with Bean’s requests. Bean became the tournament favorite, shot a 70 his first time on the course, and subsequently captured the 1975 Rice Planters Amateur Championship title.
Throughout the years, an illustrious group of golfers have made the Rice Planters Amateur part of their rite of passage. Tom Lehman, Davis Love III, Andy Bean, Stewart Cink, Scott Verplank, Duffy Waldorf, Brian Watts, Scott Hoch, Hal Sutton, Jeff Sluman, Steve Jones, Mark O’Meara, Brian Gay and others have all competed at the Rice Planters.
Tournament Record: 268 (-20)
2012 -Thomas Bradshaw (Columbia, SC)
Course Record: 62 ( -10)
2010 – Pete Kellerman (Jacksonville, FL)