Shaping Up Nicely

Field for The Ascendant at TPC Colorado will feature Jeremy Paul & Kyle Westmoreland; numerous PGA Tour winners, including Kevin Stadler; and several players who have already earned 2025 PGA Tour cards

By Gary Baines – 7/5/2024

A handful of players with significant Colorado connections are entered in next week’s Korn Ferry Tour event in Berthoud, and others may be added to that contingent should they perform well in sponsor exemption qualifying on Saturday or Monday qualifying.

The field — prior to qualifying — was released on Friday afternoon for the sixth annual Ascendant presented by Blue, which will be played Thursday through July 14 at TPC Colorado. A 156-person field will tee it up for the event, which features a $1 million purse, of which $180,000 will go to the champion.

Among those who have entered are two “local” players — in this case who competed for Colorado-based college teams — who at this point are on track to earn PGA Tour cards for 2025. The top 30 in the season-long KFT point standings as of the end of the Korn Ferry season will receive those promotions to the PGA Tour.

Former University of Colorado golfer Jeremy Paul, who won the KFT season-opening Bahamas Great Exuma Classic and currently stands 13th on the season-long points list, is among those in The Ascendant field. Paul finished third at the TPC Colorado tournament in 2022.

Also entered is former Air Force Academy golfer Kyle Westmoreland, who started the season with two top-5 finishes in January and sits 25th on the KFT points list.

Others with strong area ties signed up for The Ascendant are part-time Denver-area resident Kevin Stadler, Fort Collins’ Sam Saunders and Josh Creel, a Cheyenne native who started his college golf career at CU before transferring to Central Oklahoma.

Stadler has won once on the PGA Tour and four times on the KFT. He’s been playing regularly on the Korn Ferry circuit in recent months. Saunders has posted three top-5 finishes in 158 starts on the PGA Tour. And Creel has won once on the KFT.

Meanwhile, five of the top six on the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour points list — all tournament winners this year — are scheduled to tee it up next week in Colorado: Steven Fisk (1), Max McGreevy (2), Tim Widing (3), Taylor Dickson (5) and Kevin Velo (6). Fisk, McGreevy and Widing already have enough points that they’re projected to land PGA Tour cards for 2025.

Included among the PGA Tour winners in the field — in addition to Stadler — are Ben Crane (5 victories), Jonathan Byrd (5), Sean O’Hair (4), Russell Knox (2) and Bo Van Pelt (1).

Former Ascendant champions returning this year are Nelson Ledesma (2019) and Tag Ridings (2021).

Among other notables in the field are long-hitting South African Christo Lamprecht and Morgan Hoffmann.

For all the field for The Ascendant — prior to qualifying tournaments set for Saturday and Monday — CLICK HERE.

Notable: The Ascendant attracted almost 30,000 fans to TPC Colorado last year. For ticket information about The Ascendant — and other tournament essentials, CLICK HERE. … Kids age 15 and under — when accompanied by a ticketed adult — will be admitted free to The Ascendant again this year. Also getting in free are U.S. active-duty military and retirees showing a valid military I.D. at a ticket sales window. … TPC Colorado is expected to be set up at about 8,029 yards (par-72) for The Ascendant.

(Updated July 9) For Thursday and Friday’s tee times at 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. The University of Colorado Evans Scholar alum was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates