Palmer Jackson competing for Notre Dame. Photo courtesy of the University of Notre Dame.

Jackson surges into lead after round two of West Penn Open
By Mike Dudurich • July 21, 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 produced a statement round of golf Tuesday at Westmoreland Country Club.

In the second round of the 118th West Penn Open, the soon-to-be junior at Notre Dame was simply awesome. Six birdies, one bogey and an ace highlighted his 64 that made a couple of statements.

First, Jackson leads his closest pursuer, Gregory Meyer, by four shots with 18 holes to play.

The first statement made by Jackson? If anyone in the top 10 (or beyond) have any designs on making a run at the leader, they’d be wise to pack a considerable lunch as well as their ‘A’ games because Jackson appears to be firing on every cylinder possible.

The second statement? Winning the West Penn Open has long been among his goals and if he’s holding that trophy this afternoon, it would be another step in his career as well as great preparation for the U.S. Amateur in a few weeks.

Jackson was having a nice front nine Tuesday with three birdies and no bogeys through the first eight holes. When he and his caddie stepped onto the ninth tee, they agreed a seven-iron would be the correct club for the 180-yard uphill shot.

“I hit it and it landed maybe a yard or so to the right and came right back into the hole,” Jackson said. “And I didn’t even see it. I thought it stopped short and bent down to pick up my tee and the other guys started yelling.”

His second ace in competition now in the books, Jackson and his group walked around the clubhouse to the 10th hole, a 393-yard uphill par four. He was now seven-under par and seemed to have a grip on things, until he bogeyed the 10th.

“As we were walking to 10, I was thinking about a goal for myself to shoot low and not just sit on the lead,” Jackson said. “I’ve always heard about how different it is to play after making an ace and there I go and make bogey on the next hole. So, I had to come up with another goal.”

And that turned out to be making three more birdies on the final eight holes, including 10-foot birdie putts on the 16th and 17th.

“I’m just excited about tomorrow,” Jackson said. “Whatever happens is going to make me better.”

Two players are tied for third going into the final round, Allegheny CC pro John Aber and Pittsburgh’s Sasha Lobel, at four-under. Jake Sollon of Venetia is at three-under and a trio of players – Mark Goetz of Greensburg, host pro Shawn McCall and Kevin Fajt of Greensburg – are tied at 2-under.

“I played pretty good,” said Goetz, who missed the last two greens, the only two he missed all day. “I hit some really good putts but left a couple out there. I’m not really frustrated, I just have to play a little better tomorrow.

Thirty-six players made the cut into the final round, which gets underway at 8 a.m. with the players playing in pairs.

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.