PALM HARBOR, FL (March 7, 2017) -- Virginia senior Jimmy Stanger is making his PGA Tour debut this week at the Valspar Championship and on Tuesday he found out his first and second round starting times.
Playing in the Valspar on a sponsorship exemption, Stanger will tee off at 1:41 p.m. EST on Thursday from the first tee and then at 8:41 a.m. from No. 10 on Friday. Stanger will spend his first two rounds playing alongside Dominic Bozzelli and Lee McCoy.
From Tampa, FL, Stanger grew up just 45 minutes away from host course Innisbrook Resort.
“I’ve played the course dozens of times in multiple tournaments,” Stanger who plans on turning professional later this year told Virginia athletics in February. “Excited does not begin to describe how I felt when I received the call with the chance to play. I really appreciate everyone that acted on my behalf and to the tournament committee for presenting this opportunity.”
Stanger, a part of the Ben Hogan Watch List, is currently putting the final touches on a stellar career with the Cavilers. Last year as a junior Stanger picked up an individual title at the General Hackler Championship (the 2017 event is being contested this weekend) and also was named to the All-ACC team. This year he has picked up another individual title after sharing medalist honors at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate.
Over the summer Stanger picked up a amateur career defining win at the Southern Amateur while also making a run to the Round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur in August. Currently Stanger is sixth in the Arnold Palmer Cup standings.
Stanger joins classmate and teammate Derek Bard as the second member of this years Virginia team to play in a professional event. Of course as the 2015 U.S. Amateur runner-up Bard had a chance to play in the 2016 Masters.
Last year while at Georgia Lee McCoy received a sponsor exemption and exceeded all expectations by finishing 4 under and in fourth place.
The finish by McCoy was the best finish for an amateur in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event since Justin Rose in the 1998 Open Championship. Rose, 17-years-old at the time finished tied for fourth at Royal Birkdale. It was also just the fifth time that an amateur finished in the top 5 since Phil Mickelson won in 1991 while still at Arizona State.
The return to the Valspar Championship for McCoy will be his first event since fracturing his wrist in November.
“I had two fractures; I had one fracture that wasn’t too bad, and then I had one on the other side on the top of my hand where like the tip of the bone that goes into the hand where all your ligaments attach completely lifted off, so I had to kind of wait for that to settle,” McCoy said according to Golfweek. “But I didn’t have to have any surgery or anything, which was a huge blessing."
McCoy continued, "I had a bunch of face-to-face time with a really good orthopedic surgeon who told me if that bone would have just fractured or would have stayed put, all my ligaments would have detached from that bone and I would have ruptured every ligament in my hand and I probably never would have played golf again.”
Fortunately that wasn't the case and McCoy is ready to make his return to the PGA Tour this week.
-Virginia Athletics, Golf Channel and Golfweek contributed to this story