Industry News

Jimmy Self Invitational is a special event in junior golf — and at Palmetto Dunes

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (July 2022) — The 2022 Jimmy Self Invitational will be contested this month — Friday, July 29 through Sunday, July 31— at the Arthur Hills Course at Hilton Head Island’s Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. This will be the 27th annual playing of the prestigious junior golf event.

Named in honor of a man who gave so much to golf, the Jimmy Self Invitational has become one of the top junior tournaments in South Carolina, and has hosted some of the top junior players in the southeast. The Jimmy Self Invitational is one of the major events for the South Carolina Junior Golf Association (SCJGA).

Indeed, golf always held a special place in the life of James C. “Jimmy” Self Jr.

An outstanding player, Self captained the Clemson University golf team in 1964 and 1965. He later served on the Board of the South Carolina Golf Association from 1969 to 1971 and remained generous to the game of golf — particularly junior golf — in the years that followed.

Self served as the Chairperson for Greenwood Development, which was founded in 1979 to acquire Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort on Hilton Head Island.

Jimmy Self died tragically at 52 years old in May 1995, when he was hit by a truck crossing a busy highway. A room at Clemson’s golf team clubhouse is named in his honor. A Greenwood Index-Journal editorial on May 8, 1995, read, “His good works, quiet and unspectacularly, had a positive effect on many. They will never know, and that would make him happy. That was Jimmy Self.”

The Jimmy Self Invitational was introduced in 1996 as a fitting tribute to a man who devoted so much of his life to the game.

“My cousin, Thomas Self, played a lot of junior golf,” said Self’s son, Furman. “My uncle was taking him to a lot of junior golf tournaments with the South Carolina Junior Golf Association. It was during that summer he approached my older brother, Jay, and myself to ask what we thought about possibly having a tournament in our father’s honor.”

The 54-hole event has been presented by Greenwood Development since its inception. The original idea was to rotate the tournament’s location between Greenwood Development properties in Charleston, Greenwood and Hilton Head Island. Now the tournament permanently resides at the Arthur Hills Course at Palmetto Dunes.

The inaugural Jimmy Self Invitational at Coosaw Creek in North Charleston was won by four-time PGA Tour winner Lucas Glover, including the 2009 US Open.

Glover ended up winning the Jimmy Self Invitational in back-to-back years, as did another future PGA Tour player, D.J. Trahan, in 1998 and ’99. Other former champions include PGA Tour members Kevin Kisner, Ben Martin and Bryson Nimmer.

Among the other former contestants who have gone on to PGA and LPGA careers are Dustin Johnson, Bill Haas, Lauren Stephenson and Natalie Srinivasan, who won the 2020 ANNIKA Award honoring the year’s most outstanding female collegiate golfer following her senior year at Furman.

Another former Jimmy Self Invitational contestant, Stephen Behr, was a Byron Nelson Award winner at Clemson University, recognizing college seniors who demonstrated character, integrity and citizenship throughout their college golf career. But Behr hasn’t pursued pro golf. He is now one of the country’s top-ranked Mid-Amateur players.

Last July, the Jimmy Self Invitational returned to Hilton Head Island for the 11th time.

Bluffton’s Bridget Wilkie rallied in the final round to claim the girl’s title. She entered the final round two shots off the lead, but the Hilton Head Prep standout fired a 3-under-par 69 to surge to a five-shot victory on a day when no other player in the field shot better than 74. A rising sophomore at HHP, Wilkie finished the three-day event at 3-over-par 219, edging Columbia’s Caroline Hawkins by five shots.

Wilkie is the second straight HHP player to win the event, following 2020 champion Camila Burnett. Bluffton’s Anne Fernandez tied for fourth, while fellow Bluffton residents Olivia Wilkie and Kylie Bowes placed seventh and eighth.

Simpsonville’s Major Lenning defended his boys title, finishing at 2-under 214 and holding off Mount Pleasant’s Walker Felton by one shot to claim his second straight title. Bluffton’s Luke Block tied for third at 4-over.

This year’s competition at Palmetto Dunes continues the Jimmy Self Invitational’s legacy, adding to South Carolina’s rich history of amateur and junior golf.

“My father was a great golfer in his own right,” Furman Self said. “He knew that in the game you meet a lot of great folks. He always said it’s the only sport where you call a penalty on yourself. That says a lot about the integrity of the people who play the game.”

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