In 1969, Jim Ferree was a few years removed from playing professional golf on tour and settled in as a club professional in Savannah.
But he was pleasantly surprised by an invitation to play in a new tournament on a new golf course on Hilton Head Island.
In that inaugural tournament, Feree proved his skills were still sharp, playing well enough to finish in the money in a tie for 52nd place. He earned $181.80.
"It wasn't a whole lot, but I was damn happy to get it," said Ferree, now a Hilton Head Island resident and past director of golf at his home Long Cove Club . "It was a good deal as far as I was concerned."
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And the finish gave Ferree plenty of time to walk with golfers Arnold Palmer and Rich Crawford, a two-time NCAA champion at University of Houston who would not win in 13 years on the PGA Tour.
Palmer and Crawford were tied as they navigated the finishing holes in search of the title.
On the par-3 17th, the tee then was to the right of the 16th green and played longer than it does now. Feree remembers watching both players hit 2-irons into a little breeze, both falling short of the tricky green.
Palmer made par and Crawford bogeyed in what was the turning point. Palmer, the people's champion, won the inaugural event with a 1-under-par 283.
Golf publications raved about the new course that produced such a high winning score. Harbour Town, the Heritage and Hilton Head Island were on the map.
"That was a tremendous boost for this island at the time and its development," Ferree said.