Howard University’s Gregory Odom Jr., Oklahoma State’s Eugenio Chacarra and Clemson’s Jacob Bridgeman have all received exemptions and now count as the highest number of amateurs to participate in a Wells Fargo Championship.
As some of the top players in the world tee off at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm on Thursday, May 5, many eyes will be on these amateurs as they compete against professionals.
Odom recently led Howard University Bison to the MEAC Championship title, winning the individual honors.
Chacarra gained the No. 2 ranking on the PGA Tour University boards this season before electing to return to school for one more year and forgo the option to join the professional ranks.
Bridgeman, second in Clemson history in stroke average, ranked 10th on the PGA Tour University rankings heading into this season and will also return to school.
Rory McIlroy, the No. 7 ranked player in the world, and other top players, including Rickie Fowler, and Tony Finau, are among those to announce their commitment to participating in the championships.
Seven past champions of the Wells Fargo Championship, held annually at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, have announced they’ll play this year in the D.C. area.
Tournament officials have noted the availability of grounds tickets where prices start at $20. The $175 Weekly Grounds Pass remains the most popular option and consists of a ticket to each of the five days. Children ages 15 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult.
“It is always good to have Rory in the field, as he adds another element to the competition whenever he plays,” said Gary Sobba, tournament director. “To have him defending his title will be a special experience for the fans and all involved in this year’s tournament.”
McIlroy won the first of his 20 PGA Tour titles in 2010 at the Wells Fargo Championship. The four-time major champion won again in 2015 in record fashion and picked up his first win in two years with a victory in Charlotte last year.
Seven of the tournament’s 16 champions have earned major championship titles and four have held the No. 1 spot on the Official World Golf Rankings since the inception of the Wells Fargo Championship in 2003.
According to a news release, Odom has finished among the top 10 in individual play in the Bison’s last two collegiate events. He also has a pair of top-five and top-15 finishes during the 2021-2022 season.
Last spring, he won the PGA Works National Championship at the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass for his first collegiate title. In November, he finished third at the Golf Coaches Association of America Championship and earned an exemption to play in the 2022 Ontario Open on the PGA Tour Canada circuit.
“I am extremely grateful to have this opportunity to play in a PGA Tour event near where I will be winding down my collegiate experience,” said Odom, who tied for fifth in last year’s MEAC Championship.
“I really appreciate Wells Fargo and the tournament staff for giving me this opportunity and I look forward to the challenge of competing with the best players in the world,” he said.
As a junior golfer, Odom finished second in the Tennessee State Championship during his senior year at Middle College High School, where he also earned All-State honors in 2016.
In addition, he counted as the 2017 First Tee of Memphis Player of The Year and the 2017 Boys High School USJGT Player of the Year.
Celebrating its 19th year, the Wells Fargo Championship serves as one of the premier golf events on the PGA Tour. Since 2003, it has welcomed the world’s top 25 players.
In 2019, the players voted the event as “Best in Class” among other events on the Tour schedule.
On behalf of Champions for Education, the tournament has distributed over $26 million and raised awareness for numerous charitable foundations in the Charlotte area, and in 2022 plans to do the same in the Washington, D.C. area.
For more information, go to www.wellsfargochampionship.com or call 202-864-3444.