Feb. 9, 2017
Charlottesville, Va. - Virginia senior men’s golfer Jimmy Stanger (Tampa, Fla.) has plans to turn professional later this year, but thanks to a unrestricted sponsor exemption, he will have the chance to compete at that level earlier than he expected. Stanger is one of four recent or current college players who have received exemptions for the 2017 Valspar Championship presented by BB&T.
The PGA TOUR tournament runs March 9-12 on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort, in Palm Harbor, Fla. The Golf Channel and NBC Sports will televise the event.
Stanger grew up just 45 minutes from Innisbrook Resort.
“I’ve played the course dozens of times in multiple tournaments,” he said. “Excited does not begin to describe how I felt when I received the call with the chance to play. I really appreciate everyone that acted on my behalf and to the tournament committee for presenting this opportunity.”
Stanger’s play over the past year, coupled with his background as a top amateur from the Tampa area, made him an appealing selection for the tournament.
Stanger, who is No. 29 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, won the 2016 Southern Amateur and advanced to the Round of 16 in last year’s U.S. Amateur. He is ranked No. 4 in the current Arnold Palmer Cup standings.
During UVA’s fall season, he led the Cavaliers with a 69.67 stroke average, helping the Cavaliers to three first-place finishes in four tournaments. He shared top honors at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate. He ended the fall ranked No. 2 in the Golfstat standings.
“Jimmy will miss our two spring break tournaments, but we could not be happier for him. This is a “Dream Come True” scenario for him and a great reflection on our program. A year ago we had Derek Bard compete at The Masters and now Jimmy is playing in his hometown PGA Tour event. I’m not sure another single recruiting class has had that happen anywhere else.”
The other players receiving exemptions are former Georgia standout Lee McCoy, who competed in the tournament last year. The other two exemptions are Beau Hossler, a one-time teammate of Jordan Spieth at Texas and Zach Wright of LSU.
Hossler won the Fred Haskins Award last spring as the top player in college golf and rose to second in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. Wright is the third winner of the Valspar Invitational collegiate event to win an exemption to the PGA TOUR Valspar Championship.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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