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Lymphoma survivor earns start at Shriners Children’s Open

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Ian Gilligan won the Southern Highlands Collegiate and earned a spot in this year's Shriners Children's Open. (Courtesy PGA TOUR)

Ian Gilligan won the Southern Highlands Collegiate and earned a spot in this year's Shriners Children's Open. (Courtesy PGA TOUR)

University of Florida junior Ian Gilligan won Southern Highlands Collegiate

    Written by Staff @PGATOUR

    It will be a fitting match between player and tournament when Ian Gilligan makes his PGA TOUR debut in October.

    Gilligan, a junior at Florida who was diagnosed with lymphoma at 15 but is now cancer free, won the Southern Highlands Collegiate on Tuesday to earn a spot in the Shriners Children’s Open.

    The Shriners Children’s, a staple of the fall, benefits Shriners Children’s and its mission is to improve the lives of children, whose stories of perseverance take center stage as they walk alongside the players as standard-bearers.

    Gilligan, who earned PING All-American Second Team and Big West Golfer of the Year honors last season at Long Beach State University, will perhaps connect with their stories more than most, having persevered through his own challenges.

    “To be able to play in a PGA TOUR event would be really cool to get that experience,” he said after shooting 67-71-70 to overcome a two-shot deficit and win the Southern Highlands by one. “Being able to compete with the top players in the world would be really awesome, and kind of get a lot of learning from that.”

    Defending national champion Florida finished fourth in the team portion of the event, with Oklahoma winning at 8-under par and Auburn finishing second, three back. Texas was third at 2-over par.

    It’s been a whirlwind start to 2024 for Gilligan, who has gone second-third-first in his last three starts. He was named SEC Golfer of the Week after going 69-62-69 to help Florida win its home tournament, the Gators Invitational. The 62 tied a school record held by five-time PGA TOUR winner Camilo Villegas.

    Winning the Southern Highlands was especially impactful for Gilligan as Nevada is his home state.

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