FORT WORTH, TX – May 12, 2021 – The long-running tournament tradition of champions voting in two players has placed John Augenstein and Will Gordon in the 2021 Charles Schwab Challenge field. This unique tradition allows Colonial champions to choose promising young professionals who have never before been eligible for the prestigious invitational event. The tournament celebrates its 75th championship this year, May 24-30.
Ironically, both players are Vanderbilt graduates. The champions selected Gordon and Augenstein from a crop of talented young players who are trying to establish themselves as career professionals.
Gordon, 24, is a PGA Tour rookie currently 153rd in the FedExCup points race. He has made 12 cuts so far this year, including a top 25 finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. At Vanderbilt, he was an all-American and 2019 SEC Player of the Year.
Augenstein, 25, was also an all-American at Vanderbilt and 2019 runner-up in the U.S. Amateur Championship. He helped lead Vanderbilt to its first SEC title in 2017, and played on the victorious U.S. Walker Cup Team in 2019. That gave him entry into the 2020 Masters and U.S. Open.
Charles Schwab Challenge champions have done well over the years with their picks, and some choices have returned to win the tournament later in their careers. Other Champions’ Choice invitees who made their professional debut in Fort Worth with this honor were Paul Azinger, Billy Mayfair, Mark O’Meara, Curtis Strange and Stewart Cink. Six years ago, 2015 Masters and U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth was invited as a Champions’ Choice; he later became the 2016 Colonial champion. Bryson DeChambeau got a Champions’ invite in 2016 and is now top 5 in the world and leading the 2021 FedEx Cup Race.
In all, 76 of the former 131 choices have become PGA Tour tournament winners, racking up 420 victories and 29 majors. A purse of $7.5 million awaits the final field of 120 contestants.
Two other young players to watch at this year’s Charles Schwab Challenge are 2020 Ben Hogan Award winner Sahith Theegala from Pepperdine, and 2020 U.S. Amateur champion Tyler Strafaci of Georgia Tech. They received sponsor exemption invitations from the tournament to compete this year. Strafaci, who played in the 2021 Masters, is fresh off a victorious U.S. Walker Cup team experience last week. Theegala has made the cut in six straight Korn Ferry Tour events this season, and also played in a couple of PGA Tour events.
A limited number of tickets, all of which are all-inclusive of unlimited food and drinks, are still available. Click to buy at charlesschwabchallenge.com