The Travelers Championship has long greeted golf’s rising young stars with open arms. Top college players competing as amateurs or making their pro debuts have become a staple of the PGA Tour stop at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn. And they’ve often created their own fulfilling storylines, such as Patrick Cantlay shooing a 60 in 2011, the lowest score shot by an amateur in a PGA Tour event, still one of the more memorable moments for the now two-time winner and eighth-ranked player in the world.
This year is no different. Not long after Oklahoma State standout and NCAA champ Matthew Wolff announced via Instagram that he was leaving school and making his pro debut at the Travelers, tournament officials announced that they also extended an exemption to Wolff’s OSU teammate and top-ranked amateur Viktor Hovland, who also will make his pro debut at the event.
Hovland is the reigning U.S. Amateur champ and recently received the Ben Hogan Award, given annually to the top men’s college golfer accounting for his amateur and college. The 21-year-old Norwegian won three individual titles for the Cowboys this season and was also the low amateur at this year’s Masters, after finishing second at last year’s European Am and helping the Cowboys to the 2018 national championship.
Joining Wolff, who is ranked fourth in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, and Hovland in the Travelers field will be two other college standouts: Justin Suh and Collin Morikawa, who were ranked second and third in the World Amateur Rankings before recently turning pro.
Suh just wrapped up his senior season at USC, where he was named a first-team All-American for a second straight year after claiming two individual titles in 2018-’19. His scoring average of 69.39 this season was the second-best in school history—behind his own mark of 68.73 in his junior year. He made his pro debut as last week’s Memorial, missing the cut after rounds of 74 and 72 to finish at two over.
Morikawa, meanwhile, was a four-time All-American at Cal-Berkeley, including a first-team selection each of his final three years, as well as Pac-12 Player of the Year his senior season after winning the individual conference tournament title. He is making his pro debut at this week’s RBC Canadian Open and on Monday earned a spot into the field at Pebble Beach during U.S. Open sectional qualifying.