Palmer Jackson after winning the Jones Cup Invitational. Photo courtesy of Ben Adelberg.

Palmer Jackson wins the Jones Cup Invitational
By Mike Dudurich • February 8, 2022

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.

Over the course of a high school, collegiate and amateur career, Palmer Jackson has had plenty of success on golf courses.

The Franklin Regional High School graduate and Notre Dame junior has won big tournaments against top-flight competition. But after a bit of serious thought, Jackson admitted his latest victory was his best.

That took place at the historic Jones Cup Invitational in Sea Island, Ga.

"I won the R.J. Siegel and my collegiate win at Quail Valley were two of the best, but this one is even better," Palmer said. "This is the top of the list for me. It's one of the elite amateur tournaments, with events like Sunnehanna and the U.S. Amateur."

The Jones annually pits some of the best collegiate players in the country on a difficult golf course that can turn nasty if the weather goes south, as it did in Sunday's final round.

But after surviving a difficult 5-hour walk there Sunday, Jackson's first step onto the 72nd green triggered the realization of something he hadn't talked about or thought much about all week.

When he holed out his last putt, one of his long-time dreams had come true.

He was going to play in a PGA Tour event, the RSM Classic, on the same island in November of this year.

"This was the first time I won something and it meant something," Jackson said. "Once I hit that green and had a birdie putt, I really enjoyed that moment."

At 5-under 211, he beat Oklahoma senior Logan McAllister by three shots.

Like all of the other elite young golfers, Jackson has long had the goal of making it to the PGA Tour. He has proven to possess the talent to get to that level, but knows that he'll need to earn those playing privileges.

Getting an exemption like this one will give Jackson a taste of the bright lights and the best players in the world, something that's special to him.

"I have been extremely focused. I do everything in my power to give me the best shot to win," he said. "That includes controlling my emotions, doing everything with intent."

Jackson managed to post a four-over 76 in the final round after blistering the Ocean Forest Golf Club with rounds off 66 and 69. Those first two rounds included six birdies and an eagle in the first round and five birdies in the second.

The numbers that mattered for Sunday's round were temps in the 40s and winds that whipped across St. Simon's Island.

“That was the most difficult tournament round I’ve ever had to play,” Jackson said. “I think I have faced similar conditions to that before, but not on a golf course where you’ve got to hit it straight on every hole. And, when the wind picked up out here out by the coast, it was a true challenge. Just making par felt like birdie on a lot of holes. That’s fun to do, but not when you’re in the lead. So, I’m happy I got it in.”

Jackson joins a list of previous winners that includes Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Kyle Stanley, Luke List and Nicholas Thompson.

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.