LARAMIE, Wyo. (RELEASE)- University of Wyoming senior golfer Dan Starzinski is one of a select group of collegiate golfers who has been invited to play in the 2019 Patriot All-America Invitational. The tournament, featuring the top collegiate golfers from around the nation, will be played on Dec. 27-31 at The Wigwam Resort in Litchfield, Ariz. Each player will be playing to honor a fallen or severely injured soldier. Starzinski is coming off an outstanding 2019 fall season that saw him post three Top 20 individual tournament finishes.
I n 2011, The Patriot All-America Invitational, featuring the best of the best in collegiate golf from every NCAA division, was born. Throughout the 54-hole championship, each participant honors a fallen or severely injured soldier by carrying a bag bearing the name of that individual.
More information on the tournament is available at the Patriot All-America website: patriotallamerica.com.
"We're humbled and grateful as the Wyoming Golf program that Dan (Starzinski) has been invited to participate in this very special event," said Joe Jensen, Director of Wyoming Golf. "The fact that Dan will be playing for a fallen soldier makes this tournament extremely special. The Patriot All-America Invitational is such a great event for everyone involved. They have flyovers during the tournament. The local sponsors do such a wonderful job with the players, and the involvement of the Golf Coaches Association adds to the prestige of this event.
"For Dan being a hometown guy (native of Phoenix, Ariz.), this makes it very special for his family. He is going to represent our program extremely well. Dan has had an outstanding college career. He has won a college tournament. He was invited to and played in the Genesis Collegiate Showcase last February in Los Angeles, and the Patriot All-America will add to his excellent college career."
The Patriot All-America Invitational is a joint venture of the Arizona Golf Association, The Wigwam, The West Valley Mavericks and their designated charitable partner, the Folds of Honor Foundation, and the Golf Coaches Association of America.
The Patriot All-America Invitational is a 54-hole amateur stroke-play Championship that is rated "A" by the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) and is rated No. 47 worldwide by Scratch Players.
Players invited to participate in the Patriot All-America Invitational include: past champions; individuals finishing in the top five of last year's Patriot; competing in the Arnold Palmer Cup; receiving the Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, or Phil Mickelson Awards; and PING First-Team All-America selections from each level of college golf. Additionally, representatives from Army, Navy and Air Force; as well as eligible World Junior Team Championship participants; AJGA First-Team All-Americans; and champions of the US Amateur, British Amateur, Asia-Pacific Amateur, Latin America Amateur Championship, European Amateur, Japan Collegiate Championship, and The R&A Scholar's Tournament; as well as special invitations.
Each player will be presented a golf bag at the event's opening ceremony to use during the competition. The bag will be emblazoned with the name and branch of service of a fallen military member. At the conclusion of the event, these golf bags will be auctioned by the respective athletic departments of participating student-athletes with all proceeds designated for the Folds of Honor Foundation, which provides post-secondary educational scholarships for children and spouses of military service men and women killed or disabled while serving the United States.
The fallen military member who will be featured on Starzinski's bag will be Chief Master Sergeant William N. Kendall, 52, who retired in 2013 after serving honorably for 30 years. He spent his entire Air Force career in the Payments and Construction Equipment Operator field and completed seven tours to Iraq & Afghanistan with Operations IRAQI FREEDOM & ENDURING FREEDOM. Upon retirement, CMSgt Kendall was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. On November 17, 2016, CMSgt Kendall succumbed to his combat disabilities and passed away from a Post Traumatic Seizure.
CMSgt Kendall began deploying to Iraq and then Afghanistan right after 9/11. He was deployed for eleven months at a time, then home for nine. He did this rotation seven times before he retired in 2013. When CMSgt Kendall returned home from his last deployment in 2012, he was diagnosed with severe PTSD, TBI, degenerating discs, shrapnel in his hip that couldn't be recovered, and received a ten-year plan for two hip replacements.
CMSgt Kendall's awards included the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with 5 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with 4 oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal with 2 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Combat Action Medal, Meritorious Unit Award with 3 oak leaf clusters, AF Outstanding Unit Award with Valor Device with 14 oak leaf clusters, AF Good Conduct Medal with 10 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Recognition Ribbon with 2 oak leaf clusters.