Aug. 1, 2012
AKRON, Ohio - Former Lamar University golf standout Oliver Bekker will make his PGA Tour debut late Thursday morning when he tees off in the prestigious Bridgestone Invitational, a World Golf Championship event.
The 78-man event will be played over four days at the par-70, 7,400-yard Firestone Country Club. There will not be a 36-hole cut as is customary in most PGA events, meaning every player will compete for all four rounds.
Australia's Adam Scott, who is currently ranked sixth in the Official World Golf Ranking, will be back to defend his title. In fact, nine of the top 10 ranked players in the world will be competing in the talent-laden field, including top-ranked Luke Donald and No. 2 ranked Tiger Woods.
Bekker, who will tee off the 10th tee at 11:50 a.m., is paired with Joost Luiten of the Netherlands. A member of the Sunshine Tour in his native South Africa, Bekker qualified for the event by virtue of his February win in the Dimensions Data Pro-Am.
While Bekker will be the one hitting the shots, current Lamar head coach Brian White will be on his bag as caddie and in his ear as a coach. White, who guided the Cardinals to a 25th place finish at this year's NCAA Championships, is looking forward to the opportunity.
"I'm very excited about a former player who has achieved so much and has this incredible opportunity," said White on the eve of the tournament. "This is the type of success I hope for out of all my former players, and I'm glad to be a part of it."
Bekker is having an impressive year on the Sunshine Tour, ranking ninth on the Order of Merit and 11th on the money list with just under $170,000.
Bekker was the 2006 Southland Conference Freshman of the Year and an honorable mention Ping All-America in 2007. A First-Team All-Southland Conference selection both years, Bekker helped the Cardinals tie for third place at the 2007 NCAA Championships.