Palmer Jackson is in the final group of the Sunnehanna Amateur.

Jackson's 64 vaults him into contention at Sunnehanna Amateur
By Mike Dudurich • June 19, 2021

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 stood outside the scoring area at Sunnehanna Country Club Thursday and offered his perspective on where he stood after two rounds of the 68th Sunnehanna Amateur.

“I think I’m still in this,” Jackson said. “Especially if I can get out and get a few early birdies, I can put some pressure on those top guys and then we’ll see.”

And see we did.

Friday afternoon, Jackson put on a clinic on a course that was playing terrifyingly difficult thanks to the firmness of the course and the winds association with an approaching storm system that could affect final-round play.

Early birdies? Yep… on the first four holes. Two of them were from short distance.

He was 2-over par coming into the third round but all of a sudden there was noise being made from behind the leaders and, before the day ended, Jackson had put the pressure he talked about and was right in the mix for Saturday’s round.

And as Jackson walked off the final green, he had totaled 9 birdies and 3 bogeys for a 64. That put him in a tie for third, three behind Trent Phillips and two behind Karl Vilips.

“I guess I’m speechless,” Jackson said with a big smile. “Once I turned at 4-under, I felt pretty good. The ball was really rolling on those greens and the wind blew hard at times. Any 64 is a good 64 and I’ll take it.”

That score tied his competitive best and while he wasn’t complaining, he agreed when someone noted that he left a few other shots out there.

“What I do know is that I did everything correctly in my post-round last night and then this morning,” he said. “My timing was good all-around and once I made the birdie on 2, I felt things were going well.”

Only one other of the seven entrants survived the three tough days to make the cut of the low 50 and ties that will play Saturday morning.

Nathan Smith, who won the event in 2013, posted rounds of 73-68-72, is tied for 37th.

“I shot 72 and I don’t think I could play any better,” Smith said. “It was tough out there. The wind got scary there toward the end. For Palmer to shoot that score was incredible. He’s incredible.:

Missing the cut were: Mark Goetz at 6-over, Sean Knapp at 7-over, Connor Schmidt at 14-over, Rick Stimmel at 18-over and Brock Matava at 19-over.

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.