Grateful Damian Palanyandi hails ʽspecial’ bond before PGA Tour debut
Damian Palanyandi is grateful for the opportunity to showcase his talents against some of the world’s elite at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course this week.
He became only the second local amateur to qualify for the championship, behind Jarryd Dillas, after securing the fourth and final spot during the local qualifying tournament.
“I am really excited for the opportunity to play in my first PGA Tour event and very grateful for this opportunity,” Palanyandi told The Royal Gazette.
“I’d really like to thank the PGA, Bermuda Golf Association and the Bermuda Government for giving Bermudians this opportunity to compete at the highest level.
“Also none of this would be possible for me without my supportive parents, coaches, friends and my co-workers over at Anchor Investment Management.”
The player has tapered his expectations heading into the 72-hole tournament at the par-71 Southampton layout.
“Being I’m the only amateur in the field and playing against some of the best players in the world, I don’t really have any expectations,” Palanyandi added.
“I’m just going to go out there and do what I do best; enjoy every moment and hopefully learn something from these guys.”
Palanyandi, 29, is particularly thrilled to make his debut in a PGA Tour event alongside coach and fellow debutant Brian Morris.
“I think the most special moment after qualifying was when I realised I would be making my PGA debut with my good friend Brian Morris,” he said. “He’s been a coach and mentor to me for over 15 years.
“Every guy growing up playing golf has dreamt of playing on the PGA Tour and for us to make our debut together as coach and student is really special.”
Morris, the Ocean View Golf Club head professional, agrees.
“It’s so cool that I used to teach him at 12, 13 years old and to see him now teeing off at the same tournament with me, that is pretty cool,” said Morris, who is battling with brain cancer.
Morris, who was extended a sponsor exemption, has always had high expectations for Palanyandi.
“I always knew from young that he was going to be something special,” he added. “He was so dedicated and such a good golfer.
“We spent a lot of time together weekends. His father was a huge support for him. His father used to encourage him and bring him regular.
“I always knew something special was going to come out of him because he had so much talent and he is so dedicated.
“We worked a lot on his mental game as well. He used to struggle with that a bit, but I think he has gotten past that stage.
“We are still really close. I wish him well before every tournament and I am really proud of him.”
Michael Sims, Camiko Smith and Chaka DeSilva are the other local players set to compete in the Bermuda Championship to be held from October 28 to 31.
The star-studded Bermuda Championship field boasts four major winners as well as last year’s champion Brian Gay, who beat Wyndham Clark in a play-off to clinch a first PGA Tour title in seven years.