Standard-bearer Austin Glass watches Marina drive off the second tee Friday. (Photo/Patrick Blain)

Standard-bearing gives local kids on-course role in USWO

Posted: July 12, 2015 5:29 pm

Stacy Lewis and Amy Yang, Saturday’s final twosome, came off the 18th green to cheers and yells from the crowd, followed by a phalanx of security staff, tournament officials and media.

And Erica Corey, 13, an eighth-grader in the Manheim Township School District.

Corey was the standard-bearer, the person who walks the course with each group holding a sign identifying the players and updating their scores.

“It was up and down, up and down,” Corey said. “It made me a little nervous.”

She wasn’t talking about her job, or doing it in such high-profile circumstances.

She was talking about the golf. Corey is a big Stacy Lewis fan, so much so that, after she worked Lewis’ group in a practice round, Lewis, through her mother, requested Corey for the tournament.

It’s usually a bit more random than that. The standard-bearers, a crew of about 80, are largely local kids, many of them participants in the Lancaster County Junior Golf Tour.

One of the tour’s directors. Brian Wassell, oversaw the standard-bearers.

“The kids have been great,” Wassell said in the Lancaster Country Club cart shed, which is his HQ this week. “Everybody has shown up on time, 100 percent. Some of them are here at six in the morning, hanging out.”

Standard-bearers work with the official scorers, who digitally enter scores to central scoring and other data for the U.S.G.A. and Fox TV.

The kids enter their scores on their signs the old fashioned way, with numbers stored in bib-pockets. They try hard to be unobtrusive, and they hustle.

“You have to stay organized,” said Nick Randazzo, 15, a Janus School student who got the prime gig of Michelle Wie’s group Saturday. “I have everything arranged (in his vest) so I can get to it fast.”

A championship golf course is a five-plus-mile walk for a player. For a standard bearer, taking circuitous routes to avoid everything they have to avoid, Wassell said, it’s about six and-a-half.

The best groups have generally been assigned to more experienced, golf-savvy kids. Sunday’s last four groups: Tayler Eynan with Inbee Park and Mi Hyang Lee at 1:32 p.m.; Nick Oleksa with Wie and Chella Choi at 1:43; Tyler Wassell with Shiho Oyama and In Gee Chun at 1:54 and Lewis and Yang at 2:05 p.m.

Erica Corey will watch Lewis from the gallery. She has the day off.