Former Lakeside star Emmanuel Kountakis wins Palmetto Amateur

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AIKEN — About the only drama in Saturday’s final round of the Palmetto Amateur was whether Emmanuel Kountakis would make a bogey.

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Emmanuel Kountakis smiles with his trophy after winning the 2014 Palmetto Amateur.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Emmanuel Kountakis smiles with his trophy after winning the 2014 Palmetto Amateur.

John Boyette
Sports Editor
Twitter: @johnboyette
E-mail | 706-823-3337

The former Lakeside High School star eventually did, but it came on the 16th hole when he had matters well in hand. Kountakis fired his second consecutive 3-under-par 67 at Palmetto Golf Club to win by four shots over Billy Kennerly, of Alpharetta, Ga.

The rock-solid Kountakis, who just finished his first season at Mercer University, followed the same game plan as he did all week: play the golf course and not worry about his competitors.

“I wasn’t really worried about where the pins were,” he said. “I was trying to hit the middle of the green, but essentially two putt.”

Kountakis never gave Kennerly or the other challengers much of a chance. He birdied Nos. 2, 8, 10 and 14 before suffering his lone bogey at the long par-3 16th. Even then, Kountakis missed a medium-length par putt after blasting out of the greenside bunker.

Kountakis knew he had command when he saw the leaderboard near the 13th green.

“I knew I had a par-5 hole in front of me and a few holes with iron off tee,” he said.

His caddie, Kyle Olson, also knew his player was in control.

“He basically told me what he was going to do, and I was like, OK,” said Olson, who played with Kountakis one year at Lakeside.

Kennerly began the day one behind Kountakis, but his hopes evaporated when he made three bogeys in his first six holes. He did rally to shoot even-par for the round, but he came away impressed by Kountakis.

“He was really solid,” Kennerly said. “I think he made only one bogey. That’ll do it around here.”

Former North Augusta star Matt NeSmith tied for third along with 36-hole leader Will Long. Both finished at 2-under for 72 holes, seven behind.

Kouontakis’ 67 was the low round Saturday, and it was his fourth consecutive round in the 60s. That feat was even more impressive considering he first played Palmetto during a practice round earlier in the week.

It’s good that I’ve got a couple more years to play this event,” he said.

After he tapped in for par on the final hole, Kountakis was greeted by a large contingent of family and friends.

“It was nice to have the support out here,” he said. “It means a lot.”

The only thing the rest of the elite field has to worry about is Kountakis’ pledge to get better.

“I feel as if I’ve improved a lot in the first year (at Mercer),” he said. “If I keep working on it over the summer, I hope to get better and better.”

Palmetto Amateur

Palmetto Golf Club

Aiken

6,713 yards, par 70

Final round

E. Kountakis 68-69-67-67-271

Billy Kennerly 68-72-65-70-275

Matt NeSmith 72-68-68-70-278

Will Long 65-68-73-72-278

Jimmy Beck 68-70-69-72-279

James Beale 71-70-71-68-280

Will Murphy 70-69-72-69-280

Curtis Thompson 67-74-68-72-281

Zachary Bauchou 71-69-69-72-281

Ross Thomson 71-68-71-72-282

Ted Moon 69-66-74-73-282

Nicholas Reach 75-71-68-69-283

Spencer Ciesla 68-73-67-75-283

Archer Price 73-72-70-69-284

Cameron Champ 71-74-68-71-284

Michael Cromie 72-72-69-71-284

David Cooke 71-73-71-70-285

Cristobal Del Solar 72-74-68-71-285

Clark Palmer 72-69-73-71-285

Eric Brady 69-74-70-72-285

Ryan Eibner 72-70-73-71-286

J.D. Tomlinson 72-74-70-70-286

Austin Vick 69-74-68-75-286

Miller Capps 76-75-66-70-287

Ben Fogler 77-68-68-74-287

David Lee 75-72-71-69-287

Joshua Seiple 66-74-75-73-288

Todd White 73-71-70-74-288

Davis Womble 68-73-75-72-288

Isaiah Logue 76-71-70-71-288

Blaine Woodruff 71-74-74-69-288

Austin Langdale 75-67-73-74-289

Trey Rule 75-71-70-73-289

Matthew Mahle 69-73-74-73-289

Austen Truslow 68-71-77-73-289

Zach Seabolt 71-79-70-70-290

Carson Jacobs 73-70-77-70-290

Cody Proveaux 69-74-72-76-291

Jonathan Hardee 74-70-71-76-291

Branson Davis 73-72-72-74-291

David Gies II 73-72-72-74-291

Mookie DeMoss 75-76-69-71-291

Carter Page 71-74-75-71-291

Matthew Perrine 71-71-74-76-292

Brendan Lemp 75-76-67-75-293

Motin Yeung 70-71-76-77-294

Ben Dietrich 66-72-79-77-294

Taylor Dickson 76-73-69-77-295

Sarosh Adi 73-72-74-78-297

Zachary Healy 73-75-71-80-299

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First class young man. First

First class young man. First class family

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First class young man. First

First class young man. First class family

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