The 18th annual Players Amateur concluded Sunday at the Berkeley Hall Golf Course, and there was no shortage of drama in the finale.
Clemson’s Bryson Nimmer and the University of North Florida’s Phillip Knowles battled it out in three rounds on the 18th hole in a playoff round with Knowles finishing one stroke ahead.
Nimmer forced the playoff round after he bogeyed on the 18th hole.
The turn of events came as a huge surprise for Knowles. The seasoned star for the Ospreys will receive a sponsor’s exemption into the 2018 RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing.
“I am so humble right now,” Knowles said. “I am so thankful for this.”
Knowles shot a 71, 69, 67 and 64 in four rounds, while Nimmer went 69, 69, 65 and 68.
Nimmer, who was the favorite heading into the final day, said he’s disappointed but believes he’ll be able to look back at his performance and feel good about it in the long run.
“It was a good week, and I can’t get too upset at myself,” Nimmer said. “The way I finished hurt a lot, but someday I’ll look back on the good stuff.”
Nimmer entered the day tied at the top of the leaderboard with a three-stroke lead along with Vanderbilt’s Theo Humphrey.
“Our group had some momentum,” Nimmer said. “We made the turn, and we saw the scoreboard and it kind of shocked us more than anything, because Phillip and those guys started playing phenomenal. I played well even to the finish.”
However, as things progressed, Knowles and his team battled back, keeping Nimmer on his toes the rest of the way.
“I think I was surprised at just how we started the day,” Nimmer said. “Between Theo and I, we both played pretty well on the front. I think I shot two under — Theo and I were three clear of the field, and Theo may have been one under. I looked at the scoreboard, and I saw those guys had shot five under on the front nine and then I realized they weren’t messing around.”
Along with a dramatic finish, players sat through multiple rain delays. Nimmer refused to blame the weather on the outcome, saying he’s learned to deal with whatever Mother Nature has in store.
“There were times in the past where I’ve got a little anxious,” Nimmer said. “However, this time I wasn’t that anxious. It was really good to come in and take a break, because it was getting hot out there. It may have been a longer break than we wanted because we had to wait 2 1/2 hours, but I don’t think that made a difference.”
Nimmer received praise from locals who were hoping the Bluffton native would secure the first-place finish.
“It means a lot to have so much support,” Nimmer said. “I guess it means I’m doing the right thing and setting a good example. It makes it tough when things like this happen, but you just have to keep going and keep pushing forward.”
The second-place finish certainly won’t slow Nimmer down. He’s already looking forward to what next year has in store.
“This is my favorite tournament of the year,” Nimmer said. “I enjoy being out here and enjoyed the week. We have friends stay with us, and obviously I love the golf course. It was definitely eye-opening. I think I learned a lot, and I just have to keep getting better.”