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Blades Brown, 16, shoots Saturday 66 to continue Myrtle Beach Classic run

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    Written by Stephanie Royer

    MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- As the sun set over Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on Friday, a boy and his parents gathered by The Dunes Golf and Beach Club clubhouse. The boy was Blades Brown, who had just shot a 4-under 67, rallying with a 4-under 31 coming in, to make the cut at the inaugural Myrtle Beach Classic.

    His father, Parke Brown, beamed with pride at his 16-year-old son's accomplishment: "A year and a half ago, I had a year left to live," he said, holding back tears. "I'd been diagnosed with leukemia and we've been through a lot as a family. ... The Lord gave me some more time. Special."

    Blades Brown, parents speak on making cut in TOUR debut at Myrtle Beach

    It was a special Saturday in Myrtle Beach, too, as the younger Brown one-upped himself with a bogey-free, 5-under 66.

    The Nashville, Tennessee, native made eight pars and one birdie on the front nine, which included par saves from 7 feet on Nos. 3 and 5. Making the turn in 34, he stuck approaches to 4 feet on the 10th hole and 3 feet on the 13th hole, converting the birdie putts and adding two more from 13 and 17 feet, respectively, for a back-nine 4-under 32.

    Blades Brown makes birdie on No. 11 at Myrtle Beach

    Blades' mother and namesake, Rhonda Blades Brown — who was the first player in the WNBA to shoot a three-pointer — said, "I think he loves these moments, the spotlight, the best ones shine brighter when the lights are on, and I think that's him.

    "The way I was able to block out stadiums of thousands of people and focus on my game, he reminds me of that. He gets his demeanor and his name from me. I'm not good at golf, so that's about it."

    Despite his embrace of the spotlight, there has been a slight adjustment process from playing junior golf to on the TOUR.

    "I've reached for my range finder four times and then gone — 'Oh, wait,'" Brown admitted. "After I got acclimated to everything — the only big environment I've ever really been around was the (U.S. Amateur Golf Championship). There were a lot of people there, but nowhere near to how many people are here. But I think this is just perfect for my future. ... You can't practice for this. You can only get this experience playing in a tournament like this.

    "Yes, it would be nice to shoot another 5-under or 6-under tomorrow. It could happen. But I'm 16 playing in a PGA TOUR event, so I'm just stoked to be here."

    "He's just getting going though," said Rhonda. "He knows there's a lot of stuff he can better at in his game. ... Playing with these guys, they're amazing and I think they're great for him and keep raising the bar."

    Stephanie Royer is on staff at the PGA TOUR. She played college golf and is currently pursuing an MBA. A world traveler, she hopes to always keep her country count above her age and to hit every destination in the "National Treasure" movies.

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