Hero Dubai Desert Classic to offer exemption to top-ranked PGA TOUR University player
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Written by Staff, PGATOUR.COM
At the end of the fall college golf season, the No. 1 player in the PGA TOUR University Ranking will earn a sponsor exemption into the DP World Tour’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic, tournament officials announced on Thursday. For the third year in a row, PGA TOUR University’s top-ranked player (as of Nov. 29) will earn the exemption and compete in the Rolex Series event at Emirates Golf Club, Jan. 18-21, 2024.
Last year, Ludvig Åberg was No. 1 in PGA TOUR University and competed in the 2023 Hero Dubai Desert Classic, and he shared the first-round lead at 7-under before finishing T70. The Swede closed his Texas Tech career by sweeping the three Player of the Year awards (Haskins, Hogan, Nicklaus), and he finished No. 1 in the final PGA TOUR University Ranking to earn his PGA TOUR card for the 2023 and 2024 seasons.
In his first summer as a pro, Åberg posted four top-25 finishes on the PGA TOUR and three top 10s on the DP World Tour, including a win at the Omega European Masters. His summer culminated with a captain’s pick onto the European Ryder Cup Team, where he tallied two points for the victorious Europeans.
Sam Bennett, a graduate of Texas A&M and the 2022 U.S. Amateur champion, earned the first exemption and represented PGA TOUR University at the 2022 Hero Dubai Desert Classic.
Simon Corkill, executive tournament director of the Dubai Desert Classic, said: “With Sam and Ludvig taking the spots in the first two years of this initiative, we have strong alumni already. The strength of global amateur golf is unbelievable and the talent coming through from the PGA TOUR U is incredible. We are delighted with this partnership, and we look forward to it growing in the coming years. We will make sure that the recipient this year will receive a memorable and inspirational experience in Dubai.”
Stanford’s Michael Thorbjornsen is currently No. 1 in the PGA TOUR University Ranking, and he narrowly leads Georgia Tech’s Christo Lamprecht, who won The Amateur Championship this summer.
The No. 1 player in the PGA TOUR University Ranking on Nov. 29, will receive the exemption, and the player will receive full PGA TOUR University points for his finish in the Hero Dubai Desert Classic. GOLF Channel will air all four rounds live in the United States and Canada, with SKY Sports Golf providing live event coverage in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
“Amateur golf has never been stronger, and this exemption for the top player in PGA TOUR University is a tremendous opportunity for future stars to test their games on a global stage,” said Brendan von Doehren, executive director of PGA TOUR University. “We’re thankful for our partnership with the Hero Dubai Desert Classic and the platform they provide to a very accomplished and deserving player.”
In partnership with the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), PGA TOUR University ranks collegiate players based on their average performance in NCAA Division-I men’s team competitions, official PGA TOUR tournaments and select DP World Tour events over a two-year ranking period.
The No. 1 player in the final PGA TOUR University Ranking on May 27, 2024, will earn PGA TOUR membership, while players Nos. 1-5 (fully exempt) and Nos. 6-10 (conditional) will earn Korn Ferry Tour membership. Additionally, players Nos. 6-20 will earn fully exempt membership for the North America Swing of PGA TOUR Americas.