APGA Tour’s Tim O’Neal earns special exemption to PGA Tour Champions event in St. Louis

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Tim O’Neal is set to make a little history in Missouri.

After turning 50 earlier this month, O’Neal has received the first-ever exemption for an APGA Tour player into a PGA Tour Champions event at the Ascension Charity Classic presented by Emerson, September 9-11 at Norwood Hills Country Club in St. Louis.

Along with O’Neal, the field includes the likes of defending champion David Toms, Bernhard Langer, Justin Leonard, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh, Jerry Kelly, and John Daly.

“The Ascension Charity Classic PGA Tour Champions event is a new highlight for me and I am super appreciative of the opportunity,” said O’Neal. “I love the challenge of teeing it up against some of the biggest names and best players in golf and I’m excited to play a role in raising money for the St. Louis-area charities involved.”

“We’re thrilled to have Tim join this elite field,” added Nick Ragone, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Ascension. “By bringing the PGA Tour Champions and APGA Tour in closer alignment, we hope that other PGA Tour properties will do likewise as we help make the game more diverse and inclusive.”

O’Neal has played a handful of PGA Tour events and has made numerous Korn Ferry Tour starts in his professional career, but his biggest achievements have come on the APGA Tour, which aims to bring greater diversity to the game of golf by providing opportunities to minorities and underrepresented players.

The Savannah, Georgia, native has won nine times on the APGA Tour, played in the tour’s first event in 2010, and is the only Black player to have won both the Georgia Amateur and Georgia State Open. O’Neal received the Charles Sifford Memorial Exemption at the PGA Tour’s Genesis Open in 2019 and earned an exemption into the 2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic after he won the John Shippen National Invitational.

Ascension and the APGA Tour announced back in February a three-year agreement to host the APGA Tour St. Louis – Ascension Classic presented by Daugherty Business Solutions, which will debut September 8-9 at Glen Echo Country Club in North St. Louis County. The event will be the first tournament on the APGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Fall Series.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek