Photo courtesy of the Post & Courier
left his challengers in his wake on Saturday, separating himself from the field with a 3-under round of 67 to win the Palmetto Amateur in Aiken, S.C.
His Saturday round at Palmetto Golf Club left him at 9-under 271 for the 72-hole event, good for a five stroke win over Jason Quinlan
, who recently finished his freshman season at the University of South Carolina.
Just three other players, of the 42 who survived the 54-hole cut, finished the week under par. Sam Nicholson
(Atlantic Beach, Fl.) closed with a 69 to finish alone in third place at 2-under par 278. Ryan Marter
(Columbia, S.C.), and Tim Bunten
(Concord, N.C.) were both at 279 after rounds of 68 and 70, respectively.
Gough, a native of Slough, England, some 30 minutes west of London, who recently concluded his career at UNC-Charlotte, began his final round two shots clear of Quinn, the two played in the same group along with Zheng.
Quinlan got off to an impressive start recording birdies on two of the first four holes to move into a tie for the lead. Gough had to hole a 10-foot par putt at the par-4 fourth to stay even with his challenger.
At the par-4 fifth, Gough found himself in the fairway, 160 yards from the flagstick and contemplating the fact he had double bogeyed the hole the day before.
“With the pin today, you were actually almost better off attacking it,” he said.
And so he did, hitting a nine-iron approach to six inches from the pin.
“That was probably my shot of the day actually,” Gough said.
Gough made the kick-in birdie putt to regain the lead alone. Quinlan bogeyed the ninth to fall two shots behind; both players turned in 1-under par 33.
Gough proceeded to leave his pursuers behind by recording birdies at the 10th and 14th, both par fives, and at the par-3 16th. He bogeyed the par-4 17th, the only blemish on his Saturday card.
Gough had success on the greens this week, recording 18 birdies and two eagles, but said the putting surfaces were Palmetto’s first line of defense.
“Just from hitting into them,” he said, “to putting on them. But essentially, the greens all stemmed from the tee box, because if you were in the rough, you didn’t really have a chance to get close to the pin.”
Gough is soon headed home to England to compete in the English Amateur which begins on July 27. “Obviously, it’s a very different type of golf,” he said. “It will be fun to get back and change up a bit and hopefully play good again.”
Gough sees professional golf in his future, hopefully in 2022. “That’s my plan to turn pro next year,” he said, “and just make sure I turn at the right time. Everyone asks, ‘When is the right time?’ I don’t think there is one but all I know is I want to finish this year and have some sort of status before committing my life to turning pro.”
ABOUT THE Palmetto Amateur
72-hole stroke play event held on a classic
MacKenzie design. The field of 84 is
applicants based on handicap, participation
amateur golf events and competitive
previous Palmetto Amateurs and other
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