Delays don't affect Gray at Palmetto Amateur

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AIKEN — Mitch Gray didn’t let the constant rain and delays affect his game, and when it came down to executing the clinching shot on one of the final holes, he didn’t let pressure affect him, either.

Mitch Gray (center) receives the trophy after winning the Palmetto Amateur on Sunday.  DAVID LEE/STAFF
DAVID LEE/STAFF
Mitch Gray (center) receives the trophy after winning the Palmetto Amateur on Sunday.

A calm and collected Gray withstood three weather stoppages and a battling Scott Strohmeyer to win the Palmetto Amateur by five strokes Sunday.

“On a day like today you need to be even-keeled, because if you’re up and down with the weather delays, you can get worn out pretty easily,” said Gray, whose previous best finish at Palmetto was 16th last year. “I’m proud of myself for staying in it all day.”

The Campbell University and Florence, S.C., product shot 1-under-par 69 to defeat Strohmeyer, but despite the five-stroke margin, the outcome was unknown after 16 holes. Gray bogeyed No. 11 and Strohmeyer birdied, putting the two in a tie at 4-under.

The two remained tied through No. 16, as both players bogeyed No. 15 and parred the other four holes. After Strohmeyer left his approach shot short and in the greenside bunker on No. 17, Gray stepped to his ball knowing he had an opening.

“I was in between yardage, but I had some adrenaline going so I figured I would hit a hard 7 iron and it should get there,” Gray said. “I hit exactly the shot I wanted to.”

Gray stuck his approach to five feet from the pin, and after Strohmeyer bogeyed, Gray sank the birdie for a clinching two-stroke lead. He would go on to birdie No. 18 while Strohmeyer double-bogeyed for the five-stroke win.

“Whether I ran out of gas or had poor swings, I don’t know,” said Stroh­meyer, a redshirt senior at Ala­bam­a and a runner-up at Pal­metto in 2009. “It was frustrating, but it would have been more so if (Gray) hadn’t beaten me outright. He played a great round.”

The field was forced to play in a steady rain throughout the day, resulting in three delays that averaged 30 minutes in length. At one point, the final group was delayed on consecutive holes on the back nine.

Alabama golfer Tom Love­lady carded a final-round 70 to finish in third at 1-over. Kansas State’s Ben Juffer produced the low round of the day at 65 to finish fourth at 2-over.

Georgia Southern’s Scott Wolfes, who entered the final round in second place at two shots behind Gray, had six bogeys to finish tied for fifth at 3-over with Louisiana State’s Curtis Thompson, who carded a final-round 67.

Palmetto Amateur Scores
Palmetto Golf Club
Aiken
6,713 yards, par 70
Fourth Round
275­-Mitch Gray (72-68-66-69). 280-Scott Strohmeyer (73-69-67-71). 281-Tom Lovelady (72-73-66-70). 282-Ben Juffer (71-73-73-65). 283-Curtis Thompson (70-74-72-67), Scott Wolfes (70-70-68-75). 284-James Marchesani (75-68-71-70), Matt Atkins (69-71-69-75), Matt NeSmith (70-76-64-74).
285-Spencer Cole (69-74-70-72), J.D. Tomlinson (72-67-73-73), Austin Langdale (66-70-74-75). 286-Chandler Brazeal (69-71-75-71), Motin Yeung (69-74-69-74). 287­-Dykes Harbin (73-71-73-70), Sepp Straka (72-68-70-77). 288-Charlie Saxon (74-73-68-73), Tyler Chandler (72-70-70-76), Logan Harrell (75-69-73-71), Zachary Edmondson (74-70-73-71), Clark Palmer (75-70-72-71), Chase Parker (70-73-73-72).
289-Brian Carter (78-73-69-69), Victor Wiggins (71-75-68-75). 290-Todd White (71-74-71-74), Crawford Reeves (73-76-71-70), Jay Mulieri (75-74-66-75), Will Pearson (76-75-68-71), Davin White (74-73-72-71), Gaines Milliner (70-73-71-76), Billy Kennerly (67-75-74-74).
291-Taylor Zoller (73-72-71-75), Brandon Rodgers (70-70-75-76), Marshall Talkington (69-78-72-72), Drew Czuchry (74-77-67-73). 292-Cody Shafer (69-79-68-76). 293-Davis Womble (75-72-73-73), Thomas Bradshaw (72-71-72-78), Derek Chang (75-71-72-75).
294-Josh Lorenzetti (72-74-70-78), Sean Kelly (74-77-69-74). 295-Hayden Garrett (76-69-74-76), Sebastian Pinzon (77-71-69-78). 296-Kamito Hirai (70-74-73-79). 297-Chris Meyer (75-69-74-79). 298-Jordan Sease (74-74-72-78), Lee Knox (73-74-70-81).
300-Austin Cody (74-70-74-82). 301-Craig DeBerg (74-76-70-81). 302-Devin Komline (75-71-74-82).


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