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PGA TOUR’s Pathway to Progression announces Bridgestone APGA Collegiate Ranking Invitational

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The 36-hole tournament featuring 20 APGA players to be played on July 1-2 at Firestone Country Club

    Written by Staff @PGATOUR

    PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. and AKRON, Ohio – The PGA TOUR’s Pathway to Progression player development program announced today the Bridgestone APGA Collegiate Ranking Invitational, a new event that will provide a competitive opportunity for the top Bridgestone APGA Collegiate Rankings over the past four seasons. A field of 20 will compete in a 36-hole tournament from July 1-2, on the South Course at historic Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.

    “The PGA TOUR is incredibly grateful for the continued partnership with Bridgestone, as we work collaboratively to develop golfers of diverse backgrounds,” said Kenyatta Ramsey, PGA TOUR Vice President, Player Development. “Since its creation four years ago, the Bridgestone APGA Collegiate Ranking has provided tremendous benefits and opportunities to collegiate golfers. The creation of this event brings together the top-ranked players from the program’s history, all showcasing their abilities at a tremendous golf course."

    "It’s exciting to see the progression of our work with the PGA TOUR to build a stronger, more inclusive golf community,” said Caitlyn Ranson, senior manager of partnership marketing for Bridgestone Americas. “What really matters is helping create more equitable access to sports and the impactful life experiences they provide, and the Bridgestone APGA Collegiate Ranking Invitational offers yet another unique opportunity for these golfers to compete. It’s an added bonus that it will be at an iconic venue like Firestone Country Club in a Northeast Ohio community that is very special to our company.”

    The Bridgestone Collegiate Development Program – which counts the Bridgestone APGA Collegiate Ranking among its initiatives – is dedicated to enhancing competitive and mentorship opportunities for golfers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and underrepresented communities. The Bridgestone APGA Collegiate ranking aims to create a developmental pathway for a historically underrepresented group of golfers. Eligible players are black golfers from NCCA and NAIA Division I, II or III programs (including HBCUs) who exhaust a minimum of four years of college eligibility. Now in its fourth year, the Collegiate Ranking, in partnership with the APGA Tour, provides transitional support for the top five black senior collegiate golfers as they begin their professional golf careers.

    First unveiled in March of 2023, the PGA TOUR’s Pathway to Progression aims to support the identification and development of junior and collegiate golfers from historically underrepresented communities.

    The Bridgestone APGA Collegiate Ranking Invitational will feature 19 of the 20 golfers who have finished in the top five of the APGA Collegiate Ranking over the past four seasons, including the top finisher from each class: Mulbe Dillard (2020-21), Quinn Riley (2021-22), Troy Taylor II (2022-23) and Cole Stevens (2023-24). The final golfer in the field is Aaron Grimes, an APGA professional who – in addition to his success on the course – has utilized his platform to promote inclusivity, diversity and golf development among underserved communities, supporting the missions of PGA TOUR Pathways to Progression and the APGA.

    Below is the full list of players competing in the event:

    • Joel Basaline, Livingstone (Class of 2022-23)
    • Jeffrey Cunningham, Drexel (Class of 2021-22)
    • Prince Cunningham, Florida A&M (Class of 2020-21)
    • Mulbe Dillard, Florida A&M (Class of 2020-21)*
    • Aaron Grimes, Cal State Northridge
    • Travis Jackson, North Carolina Central (Class of 2021-22)
    • Jason Johnson, Alabama A&M (Class of 2022-23)
    • Steve Kibare, Dalton State (Class of 2023-24)
    • Mahindra Lutchman, Florida A&M (Class of 2020-21)
    • Gregory Odom Jr., Howard (Class of 2023-24)
    • Kasoma Paulina, Henderson State (Class of 2021-22)
    • Cameron Riley, Florida A&M (Class of 2021-22)
    • Quinn Riley, Duke (Class of 2021-22)*
    • Cole Stevens, Augusta (Class of 2023-24)*
    • Kristopher Stiles, San Jose State (Class of 2023-24)
    • Troy Stribling, Florida A&M (Class of 2022-23),
    • Troy Taylor II, Michigan State (Class of 2022-23)*
    • Andrew Walker, Michigan State (Class of 2020-21)
    • Xavier Williams, North Carolina A&T (Class of 2021-22)
    • Everett Whiten Jr., Howard (Class of 2023-24)

    *Denotes top player in that season’s class

    In the week following the Bridgestone Collegiate APGA Invitational, Firestone Country Club will play host to the Kaulig Companies Championship – one of five major championships contested annually on PGA TOUR Champions. The winner of the Kaulig Companies Championship earns an exemption into the following year’s PLAYERS Championship, held at historic TPC Sawgrass.

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