Weekend spree caps victory for Lee Palms at SCGA Mid-Amateur at Oldfield Club

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comSeptember 16, 2013 

Lee Palms speaks after accepting the trophy for having won the 32nd S.C. Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship tournament on Sunday at Oldfield Golf Club.

JAY KARR — Jay Karr Buy Photo

Lee Palms almost called to resign his spot at Oldfield Club this weekend.

Instead, the Greenville resident drove across the state Friday in time for the first round. He dusted off his game during a lackluster opening 18 holes and blitzed the weekend to fire 9-under-par 209 and win the South Carolina Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship.

Palms closed with a 5-under 67 on Saturday and 6-under 66 on Sunday to overtake Bluffton resident John Patterson, who led after 36 holes.

"The Saturday and Sunday is as good as I've played on back-to-back days when it counted in a tournament," said Palms, who only made two bogeys in 54 holes.

"Ever."

The Mid-Am victory was Palms' second. He won the event in 2003 at Musgrove Mill.

Palms also won the 2008 South Carolina Amateur on the Clinton course.

He said the strategic nature of that hilly Arnold Palmer design lent itself to an older player's game. But the Greenville Country Club member found his groove again on the flat Oldfield layout.

The 44-year-old Palms followed a 2-over 74 on Friday with a second round 67 that featured the shot of the tournament, a 3-wood from 240 yards into the wind on the par-5 fourth that stopped an inch from the cup.

"The shadow of the golf ball was in the hole," Palms said.

He closed his victory with a 40-foot birdie putt up the hill on No. 18. Patterson, needing an eagle on the final hole to force a playoff, found the water laying up and made par.

Patterson thought he needed a third consecutive 69 to win. He guessed Oldfield would be susceptible to a low round to somebody driving the ball well and said he struggled to judge the speed of the greens.

"I left too many putts right in the jaws early," Patterson said.

Patterson, the marketing and sales director at Chechessee Creek Club, will play in the invitation-only Crump Cup, a match play event at Pine Valley Golf Club in New Jersey.

For Palms, the victory capped an otherwise uneventful summer. He finished 20th in the state amateur and failed to qualify for the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Mid-Amateur while balancing his work as an insurance broker at KeenanSuggs.

Palms graduated from Emory, where he won the Division III individual national championship in 1991. After playing professionally for a couple of years and not advancing past the first stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School, Palms turned to a career outside golf and enjoyed the amateur circuit.

The victory at Oldfield closes his competitive season.

"It's been a good year for work, so I've gotten to play a little bit more lately," Palms said. "I haven't played a lot of competitive golf this year.

"I'm just fortunate to play good at the right time."

32nd South Carolina Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship

at Oldfield Club; 6,681 yards; par-72

Final results

Lee Palms 74-67-66 -- 207

John Patterson 69-69-71--209

Steve Liebler 69-72-69--210

J.D. Hoft 70-70-71--211

Josh Branyon, Josh 70-70-72--212

Rob Simmons 71-74-69--214

Walter Todd 73-70-72--215

Tom Kennaday 70-74-72--216

Michael Meredith 78-70-68--216

Robert Godfrey 74-72-70--216

Bob Edens 75-69-74--218

Dennis Schwab 74-72-72--218

Mark Gaynor 74-71-73--218

Matt Laydon 77-67-75--219

Eddie Hargett 77-69-74--220

Bert Atkinson 74-71-75--220

Jon Mathias 74-71-75--220

Geno Berchiatti 74-75-72--221

Billy Hall 71-74-76--221

Matt O'Quinn 75-75-71--221

Duane Barnes 75-73-74--222

Brad Ricker 71-77-74--222

Terry Lanning 75-74-73--222

Ron Schroder 71-73-79--223

Cary Phillips 75-71-77--223

Benji Gecy 72-70-81--223

Kevin Hester 75-74-75--224

Kevin King 70-78-76--224

Marcus Byler 75-78-71--224

Graham Worsham 74-78-72--224

Tyler Macolly 77-73-75--225

Stan Rawl 77-77-71--225

Benji McCall 73-79-73--225

Robert Dargan 74-76-76--226

Doug Ramey 75-75-77--227

Chris Mitchell 74-77-76--227

John Obrien 74-76-77--227

Ryan Castle 75-73-79--227

Jeff Wong 77-75-75--227

Chris Calabrese 75-78-74--227

Matt Metz 77-73-78--228

Stephen Tompkins 76-74-78--228

Todd Whitehead 75-77-76--228

Matt Wilson 74-78-76--228

Louis Muir 77-76-76--229

Gus Sylvan 77-75-78--230

Casey Smith 78-73-79--230

Bob Engler 69-82-79--230

Joe Bryant 73-78-79--230

Jeff Pope 75-77-79--231

Kevin Arnold 73-78-80--231

Sean McAvoy 79-72-80--231

Jamie Manning 75-76-81--232

Terry Willis 77-77-79--233

Josh Campbell 76-76-82--234

Tee Opperman 79-74-83--236

Paul Conway 77-74-85--236

Colin Hawkins 76-77-83--236

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