2016 PATRIOT ALL-AMERICA INVITATIONAL CHAMPION TO RECEIVE SPONSOR EXEMPTION INTO WEB.COM TOUR’S AIR CAPITAL CLASSIC
PHOENIX, Ariz. (September 7, 2016) – The winner of the 2016 Patriot All-America Invitational collegiate golf tournament, to be played at The Wigwam Golf Club in Litchfield Park, Ariz., December 27-31, will receive a sponsor exemption into the Web.com Tour’s 2017 Air Capital Classic in Wichita, Kansas. The Patriot All-America is regarded as a top amateur event nationally, attracting PING All-America golfers from all three NCAA Divisions, NAIA and NJCAA rankings as well as from universities outside the United States. The Arizona Golf Association (AGA), JDM Partners and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) are once again partnering with the Folds of Honor Foundation to host the 6th annual tournament.
The Web.com Tour’s 2017 Air Capital Classic will be played June 8-18 at Crestview Country Club in Wichita, Kansas. Two Patriot All-America alums have won the Air Capital Classic, including defending 2016 Air Capital Classic champion Ollie Schniederjans (2011 and 2012 Patriot participant) and 2014 Air Capital Classic champion Sebastian Cappelen (2011, 2012 and 2013 Patriot participant and 2012 Patriot champion). In fact, four of the top-10 finishers from the 2016 Air Capital Classic are Patriot alumni, including Schniederjans (1st), Collin Morikawa (2nd), Brandon Hagy (4th) and Austin Cook (T6th).
“Securing a sponsor exemption into the Air Capital Classic for the winner of The Patriot is extremely exciting, not only for the collegiate golfers competing for a spot in a professional tournament, but also for all of us involved with the tournament,” said Karen Conway, executive director, Patriot All-America Invitational. “Each year we’ve tried to grow and improve this incredible event. As we approach our sixth tournament, this exemption validates our efforts and will help us attract top collegiate talent to our event.”
Braden Thornberry from the University of Mississippi is expected to return to defend his 2015 title against a field of top amateur players in a 54-hole, stroke play competition on The Wigwam’s famed Gold Course. Competitive rounds in the 2016 Patriot All-America will be played December 29, 30 and 31 with a champion crowned at approximately 4 PM on New Year’s Eve.
Current PGA TOUR stars who have played in The Patriot All-America Invitational during their college careers, include: Brooks Koepka (2011), Patrick Rodgers (2011), Justin Thomas (2011), Daniel Berger (2012) and Bryson DeChambeau (2013).
Past Patriot All-America champions include:
2015 Braden Thornberry, University of Mississippi
2014 Kyle Kochevar, University of Virginia
2013 Kyle Westmoreland, Air Force Academy
2012 Sebastian Cappelen, University of Arkansas
2011 Cory Whitsett, University of Alabama
Invitations to The Patriot All-America are primarily based on individuals earning PING All-America honors the previous season in NCAA Divisions I, II and III as well as the NAIA and NJCAA Divisions I and II. Additionally, a member from each of the United States Military Academies will be invited as well as GCAA national award recipients, members of the most recent Arnold Palmer Cup Teams and AJGA All-Americans and Toyota Junior Golf World Cup participants currently enrolled in their freshman year of college.
In its sixth year, The Patriot All-America continues to receive tremendous community support by a variety of local businesses and organizations including The Thunderbirds, host organization of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
In cooperation with the Folds of Honor Foundation, the golfers in The Patriot All-America will continue the tradition to represent a fallen soldier. Every participant will receive a golf bag at the event’s opening ceremony with the name and branch of service of a fallen or injured military member whom they shall represent. At the conclusion of the tournament, the golf bags will be shipped to players’ schools and auctioned with all proceeds benefitting the Folds of Honor Foundation, which provides post-secondary educational scholarships for children and spouses of military service men and women killed or disabled while in active service.
About Wigwam Golf Club
The Wigwam’s three 18-hole championship golf courses offer a diversity that cannot be matched by any other Arizona resort. Here, the golf enthusiast has their pick of not just one or two courses, but three 18-hole courses – 54 holes of championship golf including two courses designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones, Sr. And, in true Wigwam style, each course – The Gold, Patriot, which just celebrated their 50th anniversaries, and Heritage – offers a unique challenge that adds spice and variety to one’s stay at this timeless and relaxing retreat. In December 2009, The Wigwam (including the golf courses and resort property) was purchased by JDM Partners, led by sports icon Jerry Colangelo.
The Gold Course has hosted many signature tournaments over the years, including numerous U.S. Open Qualifiers, U.S. Amateur Qualifiers, several NCAA Regional Championships and the annual Patriot All-America Invitational, one of the top amateur competitions in the world. The 7,430 yard, par 72 course has also received various industry awards and accolades since opening in 1965, including being named one of the “Top 100 Golf Courses in America.” For more information, please visit www.wigwamgolf.com.
About Arizona Golf Association
The Arizona Golf Association has been serving amateur golfers in Arizona since 1923 when it held the first State Amateur Championship. Today, it is licensed by the United States Golf Association to provide handicapping and course rating services to member clubs, to provide tournament and rules expertise and to oversee the application of amateur status.
About Golf Coaches Association of America
Established in 1958, the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) is the professional organization of golf coaches. The GCAA’s mission is to support its member coaches by creating educational opportunities, providing resources, and promoting its members with the purpose of enhancing their overall performance as coaches, mentors, and teachers. The GCAA also recognizes the excellence and achievements of its members and their student-athletes in academic, athletic and civic endeavors.