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Players Amateur tees off Thursday

  • Beaufort Today file photo Bluffton native Bryson Nimmer, seen here chipping at last year’s tournament, will look to bring the Players Amateur title back to Beaufort County this week.

Berkeley Hall Club’s North Course will welcome some of the world’s premier amateur golfers this week for the 18th annual Players Amateur, with a sponsor exemption into the 2018 RBC Heritage on the line for the winner.

Bluffton native Bryson Nimmer and Hilton Head Island native Will Miles will headline the field from a local standpoint.

Nimmer, who graduated from Hilton Head Christian Academy, has already solidified a decorated career in two seasons at Clemson.

The rising junior is a two-time first-team All-ACC selection with an average career stroke figure of 71.97, which ranks fifth in Clemson history, trailing only former Tigers who went on to play on the PGA Tour.

Nimmer has also delivered in his two ACC tournaments, garnering a fourth-place finish in 2016 and a tie for second last season.

As a 19-year old at last year’s Players Amateur, Nimmer placed sixth, five strokes behind defending champion Cheng Jin.

Nimmer was in the mix after his first two rounds, but a 1-over third round took him out of contention. He currently is 59th in the Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings.

Miles, a junior at South Carolina, made the cut at last year’s Players Amateur. He’ll look to improve on his 6-over final score that landed him in 33rd.

The Heritage Academy grad has enjoyed higher amateur finishes, notably a tying for second at last year’s Rice Planters Amateur in Charleston.

Nimmer and Miles will try to become the first local winner since Beaufort native Mark Anderson won the event in 2008 at 22-under. They’ll have to outshoot the favorite, Cheng Jin from Beijing.

Jin, a 19-year old sophomore at the University of Southern California, is considered one of the world’s top amateurs.

Jin broke onto the scene in 2015 after winning a PGA Tour China Series event. He also boasts an appearance at the Masters.

Jin competed in the RBC Heritage in April, missing the cut after putting up scores of 78 in the first two rounds.

The field will try follow in the footsteps of past winners who have gone on to have notable careers, like 2017 RBC Heritage champ Wesley Bryan, Brooks Koepka, Savannah’s Brian Harman, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Lucas Glover, Matt Kuchar, Justin Thomas, Camilo Villegas and Bill Haas.

The first groupings for Thursday’s first round will tee off at 7 a.m.

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