Palmer Jackson with the champions trophy at Latrobe CC

Jackson wins third C.R. Miller Invitational
By Mike Dudurich • July 15, 2019

Mike is a freelance writer and host of The Golf Show on 93.7 The Fan Saturday mornings from 7-8 AM. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeDudurich.

Given the circumstances surrounding the last few holes of the West Penn Amateur Oakmont Country Club, the question put to Palmer Jackson not long after he won the C.R. Miller Invitational seemed to be a reasonable one.

“How much of an affect did what happened at Oakmont have on how you played at Latrobe CC?”

“Not much, really,” Jackson said with little hesitation. “I may have thought about it once or twice, but not very much.”

The reason the question made sense was the way Jackson dominated the C.R. Miller. After getting a first-round bye, Jackson won his three matches 6 & 5, 6 & 5 and 7 & 6. As a result, he became the youngest champion of the event, its only three-time champion and his victories came without him repeating.

Jackson hammered Shane Kelley, Skylar Fox and Angus McHolme in rapid succession, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered who he was playing.

“I was able to execute the same game plan that I always have,” Jackson said. “I want to win the first hole every time I play and then win the second and the third and hope to be four, five or six up by the time I get to nine. And then I tried to win 7 & 6 every match.”

Not surprisingly, that plan worked out quite well.

“I lost one hole in three matches,” Jackson said. “Hitting first off the tee is gigantic, it puts a lot of pressure on the other person.”

And judging by the match scores, that pressure wasn’t handled very well by his opponents.

Jackson was aware of where he was in the hierarchy and that also played strongly in his mindset.

“My goal was to make history at Latrobe,” he said.

The event started in 1974 by Richie Miller of Fox Chapel Golf Club to honor his father, Charles R. Miller.

The list of winners reads like the who’s who of West Penn Golf Association greats.

Frank Fuhrer III, Arnie Cutrell, John Aber, Brian Tutich, Nathan Smith, Justin Smith, Mike Van Sickle all have raised the trophy.

“I’ve played junior amateur golf for a long time and I’ve gotten a lot out of it,” Jackson said. “To win at Arnold Palmer’s club makes this even more special.”

He’s competing this week at the U.S. Junior Amateur at Toledo, Ohio’s Inverness Club which will keep him from being at Valley Brook Country Club for the West Penn Open. And then there will be the Junior PGA early in August and then on Aug. 21 he’ll be off to Notre Dame to begin his college career.

“I’m playing solid, but I know I could always get better,” Jackson said. “I know my game is strong and I’m doing what I know I can do.”

About the WPGA
Founded in 1899, the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association is the steward of amateur golf in the region. Started by five Member Clubs, the association now has nearly 200 Member Clubs and 33,000 members. The WPGA conducts 14 individual competitions and 10 team events, and administers the WPGA Scholarship Fund.