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Friday, March 5, 2021

Colonial Champions Choices

Some day Tucker Wadkins and Dru Love may look back at this and have the fondest memories of this being where a great PGA career got its start.

The duo have been chosen as the Colonial Champions’ Choice Invitees to this year’s Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club, the first year the tournament will bear that name after Charles Schwab and Company took over corporate sponsorship. The tournament celebrates its 73rd championship this year, with festivities May 20-26 (the actual tournament is May 23-26).

This continues the long-running tournament tradition of champions voting in two players who are promising young professionals who have never before been eligible for the prestigious invitational event.

The champions selected Wadkins and Love from a crop of talented young players who are trying to establish themselves as career professionals.

Wadkins, 26, played his college golf at Arizona State and competed on the Mackenzie

Tour in 2018, the tour headquartered in Canada. His father is 1988 Charles Schwab Challenge champion Lanny Wadkins. The pair won the 2015 PNC Father/Son Challenge in a playoff.

Love, 25, ironically, was in that Father/Son playoff with his dad, Davis Love III. They

teamed up to win the event three years later in 2018. Love is a graduate of the University of Alabama, and qualified to play in the 2017 U.S. Open Championship.

The younger Wadkins is following in his father’s footsteps with this honor. Lanny Wadkins made his Colonial debut as a Champions’ Choice in 1986, and won his first PGA Tour event one year later.

Colonial champions have done well over the years with their picks, and some choices have returned to win the tournament later in their careers. Other Champions’ Choice invitees who made their professional debut in Fort Worth with this honor include Paul Azinger, Billy Mayfair, Mark O’Meara, Curtis Strange and Stewart Cink.

Six years ago, 2015 Masters and U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth was invited as a Champions’ Choice. He later became the 2016 Colonial champion, and a three-time champion in major tournaments.

Bryson DeChambeau got a Champions’ invite in 2016 and is now among the top 10 in the world.

In all, 75 of the former 129 choices have become PGA Tour tournament winners,

racking up 415 victories and 28 majors. This year, a purse of $7.3 million awaits the final field of 120 contestants at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

Tickets are on sale now at www.charlesschwabchallenge.com and at local Tom

Thumb and Albertsons stores.

Among the pros expected to play this year are:

Byeong-Hun An

Alex Noren

Abraham Ancer

Louis Oosthuizen

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

Ryan Palmer

Ryan Armour

Rod Pampling

Aaron Baddeley

C.T. Pan

Bronson Burgoon

Pat Perez

Paul Casey

Kenny Perry

Cameron Champ

Scott Piercy

Stewart Cink

Tom Purtzer

Keith Clearwater

Andrew Putnam

Corey Conners

Jon Rahm

Austin Cook

Chez Reavie

Ben Crane

Justin Rose

Joel Dahmen

Sam Ryder

Jason Dufner

Rory Sabbatini

Matthew Fitzpatrick

Xander Schauffele

Jim Furyk

Charl Schwartzel

Brice Garnett

Ben Silverman

Brian Gay

Brandt Snedeker

Doug Ghim

J.J. Spaun

Lucas Glover

Jordan Spieth

Talor Gooch

Scott Stallings

Emiliano Grillo

Kevin Streelman

Bill Haas

Steve Stricker

Chesson Hadley

Brian Stuard

Tyrrell Hatton

Justin Thomas

J.J. Henry

Michael Thompson

Tim Herron

David Toms

Charley Hoffman

Martin Trainer

Billy Horschel

Kevin Tway

Beau Hossler

Peter Uihlein

Sungjae Im

Tyrone Van Aswegen

Zach Johnson

Harold Varner III

Si Woo Kim

Tucker Wadkins

Whee Kim

Jimmy Walker

Michael Kim

Boo Weekley

Chris Kirk

Mike Weir

Kevin Kisner

Colt Knost

Jason Kokrak

Anirban Lahiri

Andrew Landry

Danny Lee

Adam Long

Dru Love

Graeme McDowell

Troy Merritt

Ryan Moore

Kevin Na

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