PGA Tour

Bridgeman shoots 63 to qualify for Rex Hospital Open

Clemson grad Jacob Bridgeman turned pro on Monday and now will be making his professional debut in the Korn-Ferry Tour’s Rex Hospital Open in Raleigh this week instead of the BMW next week.

Bridgeman shot a 63 in one of the Monday Qualifying tournaments for a place in the field this week.

The qualifier was at Bryan Park in Greensboro and Bridgeman made 8 birdies to tie for the low score.

“Last week we checked with the PGA Tour to see if I could play as a pro or would have to play in the qualifier as an amateur,” said Bridgeman. “They said you can play as a pro, so instead of waiting to start in the BMW I decided to enter the Monday qualifier,” he said.

After finishing second in the PGA Tour University rankings instead of waiting to start his professional career at the BMW, Jacob Bridgeman won a spot in Monday qualifying for the Rex Hospital Classic to be played this week in Raleigh.

When the NCAA individual championship was completed on Monday in Arizona, Bridgeman’s position in the PGA University rankings remained at Number 2. The top five on the final ranking receive full Korn-Ferry Tour status.

“Since I was in the top-five I asked if I could just go to Raleigh and get in a week early. They said no. The BMW would be the first event for the top-5, so I decided to try to Monday qualify and get started a week early and it worked out,” he said.

Bridgeman who has carded a couple of 63s this year said his round was low stress and he never struggled for a par.

“It wasn’t real long and I just hit it down the middle and knocked it in close a few times,” he said.

When the Tigers were not able to advance from the Columbus Regional to the national championship, Bridgeman’s attention turned full time to starting his pro career.

Bridgeman won the ACC Championship this year and was named the conference player of the year. He played in his first professional event, but as an amateur, at the Wells Fargo championship.

“With my ranking I figured I would get in the BMW so I played a practice round at Carolina and another one at Thornblade with Carson Young. If I didn’t get in this week I probably would have played a few more rounds at those courses,” he said.

Bridgeman is sill in the process of finalizing some sponsorship details. He will be playing the same brand Taylor Made clubs he has played since he was in 7th grade.

He does have a caddy for Raleigh as former Tour pro and current Legacy Pines course owner Tommy Biershenk will be on his bag at Wakefield Plantation and next week at the BMW.

“I called Tommy and told him to get up here and he was pretty excited. He played in this tournament when he was on Tour and had a third place finish. I think he was more excited than I was,” offered Bridgeman.

Biershenk had an old friend in Raleigh who will host Bridgeman and they will be joined by Trent Phillips.

Phillips has an exemption to play in the tournament after winning the Williams Cup college tournament last fall.

The Georgia golfer from Inman played his last college round on Monday in the NCAA Championship and is expected to get to Raleigh in the next day or so.

Bridgeman got a small sampling of professional golf when he won a PGA Canada Tour qualifier earlier in the spring and then added to his experience when he received an exemption to play in the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship.

“Playing in the Wells-Fargo was different, but I’m super-excited to play as a pro and maybe make my first paycheck,” he said.

Bridgeman has taken the disappointment of not playing in the NCAA Championship and used it as an opportunity.

Bridgeman won a qualifying tournament for PGA Tour Canada earlier this spring.

“It was disappointing, but God has a plan for me and the way things turned out it was a blessing,” said Bridgeman.

The Rex Hospital Classic is not broadcast on TV or cable. Viewers can see the tournament using a pay tv service.

Final PGA Tour University rankings

Categories: PGA Tour

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