Mile High Lineup

Locals Jonathan Kaye, Tom Whitney, Sam Saunders, Jake Staiano, Jeremy Paul among those who will tee it up for Korn Ferry Tour’s Ascendant at TPC Colorado; Camilo Villegas also entered

By Gary Baines – 7/8/2023

At least a half-dozen players with considerable Colorado connections are in the field for next week’s Ascendant presented by Blue, the Korn Ferry Tour event set for TPC Colorado in Berthoud.

The $1 million tournament runs Thursday through July 16.

Among the 156 players teeing it up in Berthoud will be Fort Collins resident Sam Saunders; Denver native and former University of Colorado golfer Jonathan Kaye, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour; Jake Staiano, a Valor Christian grad and 2017 CGA Player of the Year; former Air Force Academy golfer Tom Whitney; former CU golfer Jeremy Paul; and Josh Creel, who grew up in Cheyenne and attended CU for a couple of years before transferring to Central Oklahoma.

And more locals could be added to the list on Monday when eight players will advance from Monday qualifiers being held at Colorado National Golf Club and Highland Meadows Golf Course (four at each site).

Also in the Ascendant field — as of Saturday — are several winners on the PGA Tour: Camilo Villegas (four victories), Boo Weekley (three) and Bo Van Pelt (one) — along with Kaye (two).

Two past winners at TPC Colorado — Nelson Ledesma (2019) and Tag Ridings (2021) — also are entered.

Most of the top performers on the 2023 KFT will compete in Berthoud: Rico Hoey (second on the season-long points list), Ben Silverman (third), David Skinns (fourth), Jimmy Stanger (fifth), Adrien Dumont de Chassart (sixth), Whitney (seventh), Scott Gutschewski (eighth), Alejandro Tosti (ninth) and Rafael Campos (10th).

The top 30 on the points list at the end of the season will earn 2024 PGA Tour cards. Whitney, after posting five top-six finishes this year, is in very good position to be promoted.

Meanwhile, Paul will return to TPC Colorado after placing a KFT-career-best third at the site last year.

For Thursday and Friday tee times for The Ascendant, CLICK HERE.

About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for since 2009. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates