Under the sunny skies of Harbour Town Golf Links in April, Bryson Nimmer’s childhood dreams officially became reality. Just two months later, he has another shot at golf glory right here at home.
After the RBC Canadian Open announced its 2021 cancellation, the Lowcountry came calling. The Palmetto Championship at Congaree was born — and Nimmer was invited. After his appearance in the RBC Heritage, the Bluffton native now gets a second chance to shine on the big stage with the home crowd behind him.
His roots run deep right in Ridgeland, the town that envelopes the land that became Congaree Golf Club. Both his parents grew up here, and his grandparents called it home their whole lives. The script couldn’t be more perfect for Nimmer to conjure a career-defining moment.
After tearing up the newly-created LOCALiQ Series last fall, the Hilton Head Christian Academy and Clemson University alumnus made his first PGA Tour start of the year in Puerto Rico, notching a solid T39 finish. Then, Nimmer made the journey home in April to compete in Hilton Head’s very own RBC Heritage.
With hundreds of fans pouring into Harbour Town Golf Links to watch the hometown kid tee it up, Bryson lived out a vision years in the making. Although the first-round 80 was one to forget, the up-and-coming star rebounded the next day, carding a brilliant 3-under 69 to close out his Heritage debut.
Now, with the nerves of his first home tournament behind him, Nimmer is looking forward to another shot at stardom in his old stomping grounds with a sponsor’s exemption in the first and possibly only Palmetto Championship.
“I definitely learned a lot in the previous experiences,” Nimmer said. “Being my fifth (PGA Tour event), I kind of feel more comfortable now and learned a lot from the Heritage, kind of playing in front of my hometown crowd for the first time, and it will be that again this week, which I’m super excited about. I’ve got my whole family coming out to watch, a lot of local people in Ridgeland, Bluffton, Hilton Head. So it will be a pretty big crowd, which I’m excited for.”
The venue may be new to most PGA Tour pros when they arrive at the majestic Congaree Golf Club, but it will be a familiar sight for Nimmer. The 24-year-old has already played the course a handful of times and could have a leg up on the many competitors who will be virtually flying blind coming into the week.
Despite the recent rain coming down in the Ridgeland area, Nimmer is expecting a challenging and firm track that will test even the best golfer’s shot selection and accuracy. But Bryson’s knowledge of what to expect as the Lowcountry’s hidden gem shines its light on the golfing world can certainly give him a leg up heading into the one-off event.
“Out here it’s kind of like a rolling design, everything’s running off, you have to be very particular with what you’re aiming at,” Nimmer said, “kind of visualizing where the ball’s going to land, where it’s going to roll. It’s a whole different beast and I’m excited to get to play it this week.”
With his own section of Clemson faithful and local friends cheering him on from the gallery, Nimmer will look to find some added energy from the crowd to get off on the right footing. The former Tiger standout will be joined by several other young stars from across the country, including Florida State’s John Pak, the 2021 Ben Hogan and Fred Haskins Award winner as the nation’s top collegiate player. Davis Thompson and Cole Hammer, two members of the victorious 2021 Walker Cup team alongside Pak, will also join Nimmer at Congaree.
“I’ve had the opportunity to play with John and Davis and Cole,” Nimmer said. “They’re all awesome players. But yeah, they will hold their own.”
After spending the past week in paradise down in the Bahamas, it’s go-time for the hometown hero, who will look to deliver a week to remember back where it all started. It has come full-circle for Nimmer, and starting on Thursday as the curtains open on a majestic new venue, the stage will be all his.
“I’m really excited,” Nimmer said. “My game’s in really good form. I’ve been playing really good golf for a couple months now. So we’ll see what happens this week, and I’m just going to do the best I can.”
By Wes Kerr