Another Michigan State star joins John Shippen field; organizers add women's shootout

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — Thirteen more men's players have accepted invitations to the inaugural John Shippen golf tournament, which will award a coveted exemption into the PGA Tour's Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Among the 13 are two local players of interest: Michigan State senior-to-be Troy Taylor II and Joseph Hooks, a Wayne State and U-D Jesuit alumnus.

Michigan State's Troy Taylor will compete in the inaugural John Shippen tournament.

Taylor, 21, was Mr. Golf in Ohio out of high school, and is the son of former Ohio State basketball player Troy Taylor (1981-85). Hooks is 28.

They will be part of the field that tees it up at Detroit Golf Club on June 27-28, competing for a spot into the RMC, which is set for July 1-4. The tournament, named after the nation's first Black golf professional, was created to open up opportunities for Black golfers, male and female, amateurs and professionals.

Five more players were also added Tuesday to the female side of the tournament. The women will compete in teams of two, with the winning team earning a spot in the LPGA Tour's Great Lakes Bay Invitational, scheduled for July 14-17 at Midland Country Club.

The male players added also include pros Ryan Alford, 24; Aaron Beverly, 26; Marcus Byrd, 23; Kevin Hall, 38; Michael Herrera, 23; Camiko Smith, 35; J.P. Thornton, 36; Wyatt Worthington, 34; and Rovanta Young, 26; as well as amateurs Xavier Bighaus, 18, and Ethan Magnum, 22.

Additional female players include pros Breanne Jones, 25; Tiana Jones, 29; Amber Kuykendall, 24; and amateurs Bailey Davis, 18, and Allyn Stephens, 26.

There are 21 men in the field so far, including Jones' MSU teammate, Andrew Walker. There are 13 women in the field. Additional announcements are expected in the coming days.

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Tournament organizers also announced a wrinkle for the women's tournament. After The John Shippen is finished the afternoon of June 28, the four players who finished second and third from the women's side will compete as individuals in a three-hole shootout, over holes Nos. 11-13, with the winner earning an exemption into the LPGA Tour's Cognizant Founders Cup, set for Oct. 7-10 in West Caldwell, New Jersey.

The men's exemption is one of four sponsor's exemptions into the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Two have been awarded to Flint's Willie Mack III and recently turned-pro Davis Thompson from the University of Georgia. A fourth is being held, perhaps to see what other recently turned-pros earn way into the field through other avenues; one name to watch is John Pak of Florida State.

The John Shippen also includes a virtual business summit for graduates looking to get into the golf business.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984