Tournament officials extended one of the 20 available special invitations to the BHI to Saunders just days after the son of Roy and Amy Saunders, Palmer’s daughter and son-in-law, won the men’s club championship on the tournament course by 17 strokes. It was the second Bay Hill title for the Trinity Prep student, who plans to pursue his education and golf career at Clemson University.
“Sam has displayed his talent through the past couple of years and this is an opportunity for a young man to get out and get some experience in the game that might not otherwise come his way,” Palmer said. “So, we’ll see how he does with the big boys. I think that will be great.”
Among Saunders’ golfing achievements to date, he won the Florida State High School championship as a junior, was medalist at last year’s USGA Junior Amateur, was local medalist and played in the 2004 U.S. Men’s Amateur at the Winged Foot Club, site of this year’s U.S. Open, and won several national junior events, including the prestigious Sawgrass Invitational. He first won the Bay Hill men’s championship when he was a 15-year-old high school freshman.