LECOM Suncoast Classic offers opportunity to 2025 New Year's Invitational winner
The LECOM Suncoast Classic proudly announced an exciting partnership with the prestigious St Petersburg Country Club’s New Year's Invitational.

In a move aimed at fostering talent and rewarding excellence, the LECOM Suncoast Classic, a tournament on the Korn Ferry Tour, has awarded a highly sought-after exemption to the winner of the 2025 New Year's Invitational.

Scheduled for January 2-4, 2025, the New Year's Invitational (NYI) is renowned for attracting top amateur golfers from around the globe. Former winners include current PGA TOUR professionals Hayden Buckley, Brandt Snedeker, Luke List, and JB Holmes, along with current Top-10 US-ranked amateur Nick Gabrelcik.

Gabrelcik is ranked No. 6 in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Rankings.

Two of the last four winners on the PGA TOUR are NYI alumni: Peter Malnati and Stephen Jaeger. Hayden Buckley won the NYI in both 2017 & 2018 before turning pro and going on to win the LECOM Suncoast Classic in 2021.

Held for the past 98 years at the esteemed St. Petersburg Country Club, the New Year’s Invitational showcases exceptional skill, unwavering dedication, and a passion for the game. Now, in collaboration with the LECOM Suncoast Classic, the stakes are even higher for the victor: an opportunity to match skills with professional golfers on a Korn Ferry Tour stop.

By granting an exemption to the winner of the New Year's Invitational, the LECOM Suncoast Classic aims to recognize outstanding achievement in the amateur ranks and provide a pathway for deserving players to compete at the professional level.

The exemption recipient will compete alongside some of the best in golf at the LECOM Suncoast Classic, scheduled to take place in April 2025 at the Lakewood National Golf Club in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.

This invaluable experience will not only allow the champion to showcase their skills on a professional stage but to also gain invaluable insights into the game of professional golf.

"The strength of our field has always been impressive," stated NYI Tournament Director Richard Hope, "but this exemption and the chance as an amateur to tee it up against Korn Ferry tour professionals will certainly add an inducement for many of the top college golfers to get their applications in early."

Miles Russell shatters records in Korn Ferry Tour debut

“This is an exciting new way to award an exemption to our tournament,” stated LECOM Suncoast Classic Tournament Director Justin Kristich, “by having these players earn it through one of the longest-standing and renowned invitationals in the state of Florida. Miles Russell’s performance this past week confirmed that up-and-coming amateurs are worthy competitors in our tournament. This also presents a great opportunity for the LECOM Suncoast Classic to increase its presence in the St. Pete and Tampa Bay area.”

To learn more, visit https://newyearsinvitational.com. To apply for the 2025 event, players should contact Anthony Swinford, SPCC Head Golf Professional, at aswinford@stpetecountryclub.com.

Press release courtesy of Anthony Swinford and the New Year's Invitational

ABOUT THE New Year's Invitational

Historic invitational golf tournament that originated on the Lakewood golf course in 1927. This same amateur invitational tournament -- which attracts top Florida amateurs and a strong group of out-of- state players as well -- continues, unbroken, each year although the club name was later changed to St. Petersburg Country Club.

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