This top college golf tournament has been won by Ludvig Aberg, Viktor Hovland and Maverick McNealy. Who’s next?

Feb, 2024

LA QUINTA, Calif. — When Ludvig Aberg won the RSM Classic on the PGA Tour last November, he became the latest golfer who has played in the Prestige at PGA West men’s college golf tournament to have success as a professional.

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Aberg won the Prestige title three consecutive years, sharing the title in 2021 and winning solo titles in 2022 and 2023 as a member of the Texas Tech team. Aberg’s win meant he joined names like Viktor Hovland, Sam Burns, Jhonattan Vegas, two-time major winner Jon Rahm and reigning U.S. Open winner Wyndham Clark as golfers who first played in the desert at the Prestige before winning on the PGA Tour.

That’s a record that tournament founder Mark Weissmann is proud of. And it’s one reason the tournament continues to feature a large field of 24 teams in the event, to be played Monday through Wednesday at the Norman Course at PGA West in La Quinta.

“Our coaches feel like normally we have the best weather in the world this time of year, and there is so much interest in great teams to come out,” Weissmann said. “So why not welcome them.”

Those 24 teams of five players each will be joined by 60 individual golfers playing Monday through Wednesday at Terra Lago Golf Resort in Indio for the 24th Prestige tournament.

This year’s event will again include some of the higher-ranked teams in the country, including four teams in the top 25 in the NCAA rankings, Washington (7th), Oregon (18th), Texas Tech (22nd) and Duke (23rd). The tournament is again hosted by UC Davis and Stanford, and features other teams like UCLA, San Francisco, Northwestern, Princeton, Chattanooga, SMU, Colorado State, Cal Poly, Loyola Marymount, Kansas State, Oregon State, Iowa State, San Diego, Baylor, Louisville, Kansas and Nevada.

In the individual competition, which features 60 golfers including additional players from competing teams as well as players from schools not in the main 24-team field like Auburn, Tennessee and Division II Hawaii-Hilo, golfers play strictly for an individual title with no team competition.

Reasons to return to the desert

While teams rotate in and out of the Prestige field at times – defending champion Pepperdine is not in the event this year, for instance – Weissmann said the appeal of the tournament is what brings so many teams back year after year.

“It’s a great golf course, great weather and being in a top environment playing against other top teams,” Weissmann said. “That’s what I think has propelled the great players that we have had.”

The tournament will again begin Sunday with the Prestige Junior Golf Clinic, free to all juniors and featuring a chance to learn from many of the coaches whose teams are in the event. Conrad Ray, head coach at Stanford, will conduct the main clinic which starts at 11 a.m. on the Norman Course practice range.

The junior clinic will also feature exhibits from some of the event’s sponsors, including Rite Aid, the First Tee of the Coachella Valley, Style Driver apparel and Crumbl cookies.

Tournament play begins Monday with the first wave starting at 6:45 a.m. local time and the second wave starting at 11 a.m. Those times will also be used Tuesday and Wednesday.

When Aberg won the main tournament’s individual title last year, it solidified his place on top of the PGA Tour University standings, which put Aberg on the PGA Tour after the NCAA championships. This year there are several players ranked at or near the top of the PGA Tour University standings, including No. 1 Michael Thorbjornsen of Stanford.

“If you go back to last year, he played head to head with Ludvig in the final round, and he’s already finished in the top 20 I think of a PGA Tour event (17th at the John Deere Classic last year) so that shows you how good he is. Good, good player, and a nice guy.”

The Prestige individual tournament will return to Terra Lago for a second year, with Weissmann saying some teams that didn’t get into the main team competition still wanted to send players to the desert. Terra Lago turned out to be a strong addition to the event, he added.

“They have been very gracious and hospitable and the players enjoyed the course and facility,” Weissmann said. “It was a very good course for this event.”

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