LEXINGTON, Ky. – A trio of Kentuckians – Patrick Newcomb of Benton, Austin Squires of Union, and Matt Atkins of Owensboro – will each participate in one of the opening tournaments on the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour schedule in the Bahamas this January after gaining exemptions from bdG Sports, a sports event management company based in Lexington, Ky.
Newcomb and Squires will take part in the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay, Jan. 15-18 while Atkins will compete in the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at the Abaco Club on Winding Bay, Jan. 22-25. Both events are owned and operated by bdG Sports. The top 30 players at the end of the 26-event Korn Ferry Tour campaign will earn their PGA TOUR cards for the 2023-24 season.
“We are excited to offer tournament exemptions to Patrick, Austin and Matt,” Bahamas Great Exuma Classic and Bahamas Great Abaco Classic tournament director Josh Franklin said. “Our events kick off the 2023 schedule for the Korn Ferry Tour and boast a $1 million purse each. It’s a great opportunity for all participants to start their season on a strong note and we’re looking forward to seeing these Kentuckians compete and help build their résumé toward a possible PGA TOUR card.”
Newcomb, a 32-year-old alumnus of Murray State and Marshall County (Ky.) High School, recorded 23 starts on the Korn Ferry Tour a year ago, making the cut 10 times, including both events in the Bahamas. He registered his top finish of the season at the Memorial Health Championship in July, taking fourth. He has won four professional tournaments during his career, including two each on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and the PGA TOUR Canada.
Squires, a 25-year-old alumnus of the University of Cincinnati and Ryle High School in Benton, Ky., made news recently when he earned exemption into every PGA TOUR Latinoamérica event during the 2023 campaign, after winning a qualifier event at Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., in November. He played in eight PGA TOUR Canada events in 2022, making the cut three times.
Atkins, a 32-year-old alumnus of South Carolina-Aiken and Owensboro Apollo (Ky.) High School, has earned 18 top-25 finishes on the Korn Ferry Tour, including a win in 2017. He earned his PGA TOUR card for the 2017-18 campaign after posting a 19th-place finish on the 2017 KFT Regular Season money list.
The trio will join the likes of Kentuckians Josh Teater, Cooper Musselman and Ashton Van Horne who have earned status for the coming season. And it was Van Horne, a Scott County High graduate in Georgetown, Ky., and an alum of Belmont University, who logged a top-15 finish on a sponsor’s exemption last year in Abaco that helped him earn his Korn Ferry Tour card for 2023.
“These exemptions can be life changing,” added Franklin. “Ashton is a great example of that. He had an opportunity and took full advantage of it, now he’s one step away from earning his PGA TOUR card.”
NEWCOMB, SQUIRES, AND ATKINS BIOS
Patrick Newcomb – Newcomb turned pro in 2013. He later joined the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, winning the Honduras Open (2017) and the Bupa Championship (2020-21). He claimed the Cape Breton Open and the Syncrude Ole Country Championship on the PGA TOUR Canada during the 2017 campaign. He made 22 starts on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2018 and 23 starts in 2022. Two of his 10 cuts a year ago came in the Bahamas. He posted his top finish of the season at the Memorial Health Championship in July, taking fourth. A native of Benton, Kentucky, Newcomb attended Marshall County High School and played collegiately at Murray State (2009-13) where he was named Ohio Valley Conference Golfer of the Year twice, winning the league tournament individual crown in 2013 after finishing as runner up in 2012. He advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2012 USGA United States Amateur. He was inducted into the Murray State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2020, along with his brother Nick.
Austin Squires – Squires turned pro in 2019. He joined the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and the PGA TOUR Canada in 2020 and the Korn Ferry Tour in 2022. He recently earned exemption in every 2022-23 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica event after winning its first qualifying event at Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida, in November. His 19-under 269 came in wire-to-wire fashion and marked the best winning score at the site during a qualifying event. He played in eight PGA TOUR Canada events in 2022, making three cuts. He posted one top-20 performance in three PGA TOUR Latinoamérica events in 2020 and made five cuts with a top-25 finish in eight Forme Tour tournaments that same year. A native of Union, Kentucky, Squires attended Ryle High School and played collegiately at the University of Cincinnati where he garnered American Athletic Conference Player of the Year accolades in 2017 and was a three-time All-AAC performer (2017, 2018, 2019). He was a two-time NCAA Tournament Regional participant and twice advanced to the USGA United States Amateur quarterfinals (2018, 2019).
Matt Atkins – Atkins turned pro in 2013. He joined the Korn Ferry Tour in 2015 and has since posted 18 top-25 finishes, including a win at the El Bosque Mexico Championship in 2017. He earned his PGA TOUR card for the 2017-18 season with a 19th-place finish on the 2017 Korn Ferry Tour Regular-Season money list. A native of Owensboro, Kentucky, Atkins attended Apollo High School and played collegiately at South Carolina-Aiken where he was named a two-time Division II All-American and the 2013 Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year.