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PGA TOUR’s Pathway to Progression announces field for inaugural Bridgestone Collegiate Invitational

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PGA TOUR’s Pathway to Progression announces field for inaugural Bridgestone Collegiate Invitational

Field features top-level NCAA Division I men’s golf programs and HBCU schools; event set for March 25-26 at Silverado Country Club

    Written by Staff, PGATOUR.COM

    PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The PGA TOUR’s Pathway to Progression announced Monday the field for the inaugural Bridgestone Collegiate Invitational, a competitive element of the Bridgestone Collegiate Development Program. The event features top-level NCAA Division I men’s golf programs and historically Black colleges and universities in addition to four high-ranking individual golfers from underrepresented communities.

    The Bridgestone Collegiate Invitational will be contested March 25-26 at Silverado Country Club in Napa, California, in collaboration with the Golf Coaches Association of America.

    The Bridgestone Collegiate Invitational is a 54-hole team and individual stroke-play event. It will feature seven Division I men’s golf teams in addition to three HBCU men’s golf teams, with the individual winner earning an exemption into a 2024 Korn Ferry Tour event to be announced at a later date. The participating schools are Arkansas Pine Bluff, BYU, tournament co-host Central Michigan, Elon, Florida A&M, Howard, Michigan State, Nihon (Japan), North Alabama, Sam Houston State and UConn.

    In addition, Dalton State College’s Steve Kibare, Tennessee State’s Jared Southerland, North Carolina Central’s Jamal Hutchison and Savannah State University’s Jaden Saunders will compete as individuals. Kibare qualified based on his standing in the 2024 Bridgestone APGA Collegiate Ranking, while Southerland, Hutchison and Saunders earned exemptions based on their development as top-rated underclassmen from an underrepresented community.

    “The PGA TOUR is thrilled to partner with the Golf Coaches Association of America in this exciting new opportunity for collegiate golfers from diverse backgrounds,” said Kenyatta Ramsey, PGA TOUR vice president, Player Development. “The Bridgestone Collegiate Invitational will soon welcome some of the top individuals and teams from underrepresented communities to Silverado Resort, and we could not be more appreciative of Bridgestone and the GCAA in helping to make this event a reality.”

    “Last year, we launched the Bridgestone Collegiate Development Program to help build a stronger, more inclusive golf community both on and off the course,” said Caitlyn Ranson, head of partnerships, Bridgestone Americas. “It’s exciting to see that impact taking shape at this year’s Bridgestone Collegiate Invitational, where our first-ever Bridgestone HBCU Invitational winners will be competing against some of the highest-ranked players in the sport. We congratulate and thank these teams for helping us create more equitable access to opportunity, in golf and beyond, for generations to come.”

    The Bridgestone Collegiate Development Program is dedicated to enhancing competitive and mentorship opportunities for golfers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and underrepresented communities. Additionally, it offers tangible career development opportunities for both players and coaches. Among its initiatives are the Bridgestone APGA Collegiate Ranking, the HBCU Coaches Summit presented by Bridgestone, the Pathway to Progression HBCU Performance Day presented by Bridgestone and two new collegiate golf tournaments – the Bridgestone HBCU Invitational and the Bridgestone Collegiate Invitational.

    “The GCAA is proud to partner with the PGA TOUR’s Pathway to Progression program and tournament co-host Central Michigan University to host the Bridgestone Collegiate Invitational,” said Dustin Roberts, Chief Executive Officer, GCAA. “The opportunity to support Central Michigan’s Kevin Jennings – one of two Division I Black head golf coaches not at an HBCU – and provide quality competition between HBCU and non-HBCU golf programs is important to the Association. We look forward to working with our partners to grow the Bridgestone Collegiate Invitational into one of the most impactful tournaments on the college schedule.”

    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. Now in its third 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.

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