Locals have extra motivation at Players Amateur

Locals have extra motivation for Players Amateur

BLUFFTON, SC (WTOC) - Everyone in the field for the 2018 Players Amateur wants to win.

There just might be a few who want it a little more.

The 19th annual summer tournament tees off Thursday, with the prestigious title and an exemption for the 2019 RBC Heritage at stake. That's plenty to get some of the best young golfers in the country amped to play Berkeley Hall.

But for those who have grown up honing their skills right down the road, this tournament means a little more.

"We all want to win it, and we all look to win it," says Bluffton native and 2017 runner-up Bryson Nimmer. "It's a tournament that's highlighted on the schedule every year. It's a good one."

Nimmer is just one of nine players in the field with area ties. Some are Hilton Head Island natives, like Will Miles (University of South Carolina) and Andrew Orischack (University of Virginia). Others like Georgia Southern's Steven Fisk have built their names not far from the Low Country.

To all, the desire to win this particular tournament is raised.

"It's a big one. You want to peak at this week if you can," Miles says. He should know. This will be the Gamecocks' fourth career appearance in the Players Amateur.

"You don't want to overemphasize it, but it's an important week," he notes. "So you want to have your game ready."

Fisk is making his first start at the Players Am, but is expecting the challenge to be much like he's faced in Statesboro.

"It sort of feels like a home game," he says. "The conditions are going to be pretty similar: weather, grass, things like that. It's comfortable."


If anyone in the field has been waiting for this weekend more than Nimmer, feel free to point them out.

The Bluffton native lost on the second sudden death playoff hole in 2017 to finish second to North Florida's Phillip Knowles. Nimmer says he's excited to have another opportunity at winning a championship he grew up dreaming about.

He says he's been waiting for that second chance since Knowles' putt to win the tournament fell.

"Right after the last hole when I lost, I would have just rather gone and just done 72 more and tried it again," Nimmer laughs. "But I had to wait a whole year. It was a long time waiting, but I'm glad that we're back and I'm ready to go again."

Nimmer won't have to wait long Thursday morning. The Clemson star will tee off on #1 at 7:48 a.m. with defending champ Patrick Knowles and Vanderbilt's Patrick Martin.