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How a top amateur secured a PGA Tour card while still in college

October 18, 2023

Andrew Redington

Vanderbilt’s Gordon Sargent became the first player to earn a PGA Tour card through the tour’s new University Accelerated program.

The tour’s Accelerated endeavor was announced last year, bestowing an avenue for college underclassmen to earn tour membership. Players earn points based on their accomplishments in college, amateur and professional golf. If a player earns at least 20 points by the end of their third year of NCAA eligibility, they become eligible for tour membership.

Sargent, the 2022 NCAA Championship and current-ranked No. 2 in the World Amatuer Golf Rank, officially earned status on Wednesday when teeing it up at the World Amateur Team Championships in Abu Dhabi.

“Since winning the NCAA Championship as a freshman, Gordon has consistently proven himself as one of the top amateurs in the game, and he’s very deserving of becoming the first underclassman to earn PGA Tour membership through PGA Tour University Accelerated,” said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. “We look forward to welcoming him to the PGA Tour after he concludes his collegiate career at Vanderbilt.”

Sargent, 20, earned low am honors at this year’s U.S. Open. He was also the recipient of a special invite to the Masters, becoming the first amateur since Aaaron Baddeley to earn such an honor. Augusta National announced during tournament week that a new field exemption for the reigning NCAA champion going forward. Sargent also went 4-0 at last month’s Walker Cup at the Old Course to lead the United States to victory.

Sargent, who shot 67 Wednesday at the Team Championship, is expected to forgo his senior season at Vanderbilt to turn professional. However, should he stay in school, he’d be after to defer his tour membership until 2025.

In May, Ludvig Aberg finished atop the PGA Tour U Rankings, becoming the first player to earn tour membership through that program. Aberg has five top-five finishes in his first 10 starts as a pro, highlighted by a victory at the DP World Tour’s Omega European Masters, and competed in last month’s Ryder Cup.