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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC's David Ford makes PGA Tour debut, finishes seven under par

Ford ACC Rd 1 (Mead) 08.JPG
Then UNC sophomore David Ford hits the ball during the 2023 ACC Men's Golf Championship at the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst, N.C., on April 21, 2023. Photo Courtesy of Andy Mead/YCJ.

No. 4 ranked world amateur golfer and UNC rising junior David Ford made his PGA Tour debut this past weekend at the Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, Ky., finishing in a tie for 58th place.

The reigning 2023 ACC Player of the Year competed on a sponsor’s exemption — a way to showcase prospective players and give them an opportunity to play in a PGA Tour event.

After two days of play, shooting a 71 and a 67 in the first and second rounds respectively, Ford was the only amateur that made the four under par cut.

Ford finished his first PGA event by shooting 71 and 72 in the final two rounds with a tournament total of seven under. Ford’s best day was Friday, making eight birdies, one bogey and one double bogey to go five under on the day.

This is the first of multiple PGA events Ford is scheduled to play in. After winning the Jones Cup — an amateur event — Ford punched his own ticket to play in the RSM Classic in St. Simons Island, Ga., in November.

Ford was also invited to play in the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2024 on the coveted Arnold Palmer Cup Exemption.

Each year, one exemption is given to a player from the Arnold Palmer Cup — a Ryder Cup-style tournament of collegiate male golfers — who best embodies the “Arnold Palmer Legacy.” Ford was previously a member of the United States squad in the Arnold Palmer Cup and was voted by his teammates to earn an exemption to play in the API.

The Tar Heel joins an elite group with previous API exemptions being given to Texas A&M’s Sam Bennett — who finished 16th in this year’s Masters — as well as 2023 National Player of the Year Ludvig Aberg and current PGA card holder and two-time major champion Collin Morikawa. 

Ford is the third current Tar Heel golfer to play in a PGA tour event, joining Dylan Menante and Austin Greaser. Menante played in the 3M Open in Blaine, Minn., and Greaser played in both the 2022 Masters and the U.S. Open.