David Ford, Jackson Van Paris impress in opening PGA Tour rounds
07 Mar 2024
by Justin Golba of AmateurGolf.com

see also: David Ford Rankings

David Ford (North Carolina Athletics Photo)
David Ford (North Carolina Athletics Photo)

Two of the top collegiate golfers in the country are playing in PGA Tour events this week, and both have gotten off to solid starts.

David Ford of North Carolina shot a 1-under 71 in the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, currently sitting T25. He recorded four birdies and three bogeys, and he started his round 2-under through four holes, starting birdie-birdie-bogey-birdie on the first four holes. 

He shot 34 on the front nine and 37 on the back nine. 

Ford is currently ranked No. 3, and Van Paris is ranked No. 53 in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Rankings

Ford's path to the API was unique, as each year at the Palmer Cup, a man and woman are voted upon by their peers to receive exemptions into the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard and the Amundi Evian Championship for the women. Ford gained the men’s exemption, while Rachel Kuehn of Wake Forest was awarded the women’s honor.

His 2023 Walker Cup teammate Nick Dunlap shot a first-round even par 72 and is currently T34.

Jackson Van Paris shot a first-round 2-under 70 in the Puerto Rico Open at Grand Reserve Golf Club. He started his round with birdies on the first two holes and then played the other 16 at even par. He is currently T35 in the tournament. 

He recorded four birdies and just two bogeys in his round.

Van Paris earned a place in the field with his victory this fall at the St Andrews Links Collegiate for a sponsor’s exemption.

Van Paris holds the scoring record at Pinehurst No. 4 with a 9-under 61 in the opening round of the 2023 North and South Amateur. He went on to win medalist honors and advance to the semifinals. At the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach in 2018, when he was 14, he became the youngest player since Bob Jones in 1916 to win a match.

Also playing in the Puerto Rico Open is San Diego State junior Justin Hastings, who shot a first-round 1-under 71. Hastings recorded five birdies and four bogeys and is T62 after the first round. 

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