Top amateur golfers come from all around the world to compete in the Players Amateur, but the favorite to win the prestigious event Sunday is feeling right at home.
Because he is.
Bluffton native Bryson Nimmer fired a 6-under-par 65 – the best round of the day and tied for the lowest in the tournament – in Saturday’s third round and claimed a share of the 54-hole lead. Nimmer, a former Hilton Head Christian Academy star and current Clemson All-American, is tied with Vanderbilt’s Theo Humphrey at 10-under heading into Sunday’s final round.
The duo separated itself from the pack Saturday, as Nimmer carded a bogey-free 65 and Humphrey matched Nimmer’s six birdies en route to a 67. The two are the only players in the field who have posted three rounds in the 60s, and they lead by three shots over Virginia’s Danny Walker and former College of Charleston player William Rainey.
Nimmer was one shot behind Humphrey when a thunderstorm moved through and halted play, but the break didn’t derail his charge up the leaderboard.
“I actually think it helped,” Nimmer said. “The course was a little softer, and I think that made it a little more score-able. Some of those pins coming in were pretty tough if we had played it before the weather delay, but after the weather delay I think they were a little bit easier.”
Nimmer took advantage of the soft green at the par-4 17th, sticking his approach to about 3 feet for a birdie to pull even, and got up and down from a greenside bunker to save par at No. 18. Humphrey moved back in front with a birdie at the par-5 15th, but he gave a shot back with a bogey at No. 17 to create a tie at the top.
Nimmer, whose family is in the process of moving to Berkeley Hall from nearby Rose Hill Plantation, should have a large local following as he tries to join Beaufort’s Mark Anderson as the only Beaufort County players to win the Players Amateur. Doing so would grant Nimmer a sponsor’s exemption to play in next April’s RBC Heritage presented by Boeing, which he has dreamed about since he was a young boy.
So you can bet the hometown favorite has a low-key Saturday night in store.
“Just get some rest and cool down,” Nimmer said. “Just go back home and rest and try to get ready for tomorrow.”
Nimmer was the only local player to make the cut, as the field was trimmed to the 43 players for Sunday’s final round. Bluffton’s Trace Crowe (+5), Michael Balzer (+15), and Alec Weary (+25), and Hilton Head Island’s Tate Hoisington (+7), Will Miles (+7), and Bubba Jacoby (+29) all failed to qualify.
The final round is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m Sunday with players starting on both tees. The leaders are slated to go off the first tee at 8:47 a.m. The event is open to the public, and admission is free.