Jackson competing for Notre Dame during the fall season. Photo courtesy of the University of Notre Dame.

Jackson wins Frank Fuhrer, III Award
By Mike Dudurich • June 8, 2020

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.

Palmer Jackson loves playing golf and he loves winning.

He’s been doing a lot of both of those things lately, including his freshman season at Notre Dame.

But that season wasn’t without its ups and downs.

“The week before our only home tournament, I was struggling,” Jackson related. “I had shot rounds of 73-71-72 in my last event and wasn’t happy with my game. On Friday morning of our event, I went out and played 18 holes at a local course from the ladies’ tees. I needed to feel success again, needed to score again and it worked. I learned how to think again.”

He shot 66-69 in the first two rounds of that event before tailing off in the final round.

That story shows how much the graduate of Franklin Regional High School puts into his game both mentally and physically. That effort has paid off nicely especially the 2019-20 season he had.

Jackson registered his first collegiate victory last fall, advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst in August and, earlier in the summer, won the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association’s C.R. Miller Match Play event.

It was those results that earned Jackson the Frank Fuhrer III Award for 2019-2020. He joins Chris Kupniewski (2016-17), Andy Butler (2017-18) and Connor Schmidt (2018-19) as previous winners of the award, given to the best college golfer of the year.

The award is named for the son of Frank B. Fuhrer who had an outstanding collegiate and amateur career in the 70s and 80s. He played collegiately at the University of North Carolina and was the second-ranked amateur by Golf Digest in 1981.

“It’s not something you think about during the season, but it’s very, very special to be included with the guys already there,” Jackson said. “I very honored.”

Jackson won the Fighting Irish’s final tournament of the season, the Quail Valley Collegiate, shooting rounds of 67-66-67. Those rounds enabled him to finish with a team-leading 70.07 scoring average.

“I was pleased with my freshman year and was confident I’d have a good spring as well,” he said. That, of course, didn’t take place because of the COVAD-19 pandemic.

Jackson’s quarterfinal finish in the U.S. Amateur qualified him for this year’s Am, which will be played Aug. 10-16 at Bandon Dunes in Oregon. That’s the same week that classes start in South Bend.

“I’ll be missing the first week of classes,” Jackson said with a smile.

He, like many other golfers, hasn’t had much of spring, but his goes beyond the health restrictions.

“I like to run a lot and in doing so I injured a core muscle and have been out for a month,” Jackson said. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back in another couple weeks.”

He’s not quite sure how much competitive golf he’ll be playing in his home area because of the uncertainty of his schedule and, until recently, the uncertainty of what events would be played here.

“I’ll be playing in the Fuhrer (the Frank B. Invitational) and maybe the West Penn Amateur and the Sunnehanna Amateur,” Jackson said. “I’m grateful for the award and I’m also grateful to Mr. Fuhrer for including me in his event. Mr. Fuhrer’s generosity is unparalleled and I’m very appreciative of everything he does for junior golfers, amateur golfers and professional golfers in our area.”

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.