Olympia Fields, Ill. – Mary Chandler Bryan comes from a family of golfers.
For starters her father, George III, runs the George Bryan Golf Academy in Chapin, S.C. He’s played in two USGA championships, those being the 1982 and ’83 U.S. Amateur, where he missed the cut both years. Then there are her two brothers, 23-year-old George IV and Wesley, 21, who is a senior at the University of South Carolina. George IV recently turned professional.
The only one in the family who doesn’t play is mom, Valerie.
Whenever they want a good laugh, said Valerie Bryan, they put a club in my hand.
All laughing aside, they are a golf family who thoroughly enjoy the game. It’s definitely a family affair. Dad estimated that between the four of them, they’ve played in about 23 USGA championships.
George III opened his golf academy the year Mary Chandler was born, in 1994. Mom remembers Mary Chandler being in a stroller wanting to get out and play. When she finally got the chance to play, at age 8, she quickly fell in love with the sport. Her dad certainly influenced her, but never was the over bearing type.
My dad has never pushed me, said Mary Chandler after posting a 9-over 81 in her first round of stroke-play qualifying on Monday at Olympia Fields Country Club. I think that’s why I love golf now.
Mary Chandler, who also goes by M.C., is competitive with the male figures in her life. Recently she played a round with George IV and her dad at Cobble Stone Park Golf Club in Columbia, S.C., and she started off three over par after three holes before rallying to shooting five under on the back nine to beat her dad for the first time. She had a chance to upend her brother too, but a 4-foot birdie putt on the final hole lipped out.
Last year Mary Chandler carried Wesley’s bag at the U.S. Amateur, which was played at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash. While walking off the ninth hole teeing ground, she lost her footing and tumbled down the hill. She ended up having to crawl to the bottom to get there safely.
It was probably my most embarrassing moment in golf, said the 17-year-old Mary Chandler. People were jokingly calling me graceful.
This week, in her second USGA event, she doesn’t have any expectations. She just wants to play well. No matter how she does, her parents are there for support.
I can’t describe the feeling, said her dad when asked what it’s like to see his kids excel in golf. It’s extremely satisfying to see them play.
Ken Klavon is the USGA’s online editor. E-mail him with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.