Top-ranked North Carolina amateur Caleb Surratt leads the 45th annual Palmetto Amateur after firing a seven-under 63 in the opening round at Palmetto Golf Club. Surratt Monday qualified for the tournament to get in the 72-man field. 19 states and several colleges and universities are represented in the field.
Baylor’s Mark Reppe and Penn State’s Ryan Davis are tied for second, two shots back at five-under. Locally, there are several players of interest, including 37 year-old Alex Hamilton. Hamilton grew up in Aiken, South Carolina and won state championships with the golf team at South Aiken High School. He was a teammate of current PGA Tour pro Kevin Kisner. He went on to play and coach at the University of South Carolina. Hamilton is now the head men’s golf coach at Wofford. Despite only playing eight or nine rounds this year by his count, his opening round one-under 69 beat some of the players on his Wofford team who are also in the field this week.
“It’s nice to come home,” said Hamilton. “It’s a fantastic venue and the guys do a great job, Brad Crain, John Roy, the whole staff they do a fantastic tournament so I try to support them when I can. You know, it’s fun to get out here and mix it up with these guys, they’re such talented players. I think already there’s been a 63 today. There’s some really good kids, elite players that you’re going to see on TV one day. So just to come out here and try to have fun is what my goal is,” Hamilton added.
Also in the field is 2005 Palmetto Amateur winner Dane Burkhart. Burkhart was also part of those state championship teams at South Aiken before going on to win three-straight NCAA DII national championships at USC Aiken. Burkhart holds the course record at Palmett GC with a 59. He is currently T31 with an opening round one-over 71.
You can find the complete leaderboard here.
Due to COVID-19, tournament organizers limited the field to just 72 players. No fans or caddies will be allowed on tournament grounds. The tournament will be cut to the low 36 players and ties after Friday’s third round.