Montrele Wells wins first-ever APGA Adrian Stills Award presented by Cisco
Cisco and the APGA Tour – a non-profit organization committed to bringing greater diversity to the game of golf – have announced that APGA Tour player Montrele Wells has been named as the inaugural winner of the APGA Adrian Stills Award presented by Cisco. Wells was named the winner as determined by a panel of judges and voted on by fellow APGA Tour players.
Stills, the award’s namesake, was one of the founders of the APGA Tour after a successful playing career reaching the PGA TOUR. For winning the award, Wells was set to receive $15,000 to support his golf career and $10,000 to donate to the charity of his choice, until Marusak surprised Wells with an additional $10,000 to bring the support to $25,000 for his golf career. Additionally, Cisco has offered Wells exemptions to the two limited-field Cisco-sponsored Invitational events for the 2023 APGA Tour season at the APGA Cisco Invitational at Baltusrol and the APGA Billy Horschel Invitational presented by Cisco.
“Montrele Wells embodies the APGA Adrian Stills Award presented by Cisco in every manner,” said APGA Tour CEO Ken Bentley. “Montrele is universally respected by the APGA Tour leadership, players and staff for his attitude, his professionalism, his efforts to give back and support APGA Foundation Youth events and promoting the APGA Tour. What is special about Montrele is that he is a great mentor. He’s always willing to help a young player, whether it’s with putting or how to make travel arrangements. As a player he is a grinder. When he’s down, he doesn’t stay down. He gets up and keeps fighting. That’s why he’s been able to last on our Tour for more than 10 years.”
Wells consistently participates in APGA Foundation clinics throughout the APGA Tour schedule. The clinics are held in low-income neighborhoods and attract kids that wouldn’t normally be exposed to the game.
“To win the Adrian Stills Award means as much as winning any golf event. Being recognized by the APGA Tour leadership and my fellow competitors for the way I carry myself both on, and off the course is an incredible honor. I’m so thankful for Cisco and their support of the APGA Tour overall, and for what this award means to me. Companies like Cisco are making a huge difference to the players on our Tour and in changing the make-up of our sport,” Wells said. “Giving back to this game and helping to show that golf is a game for everyone, no matter where they come from or the color of their skin, is what really drives me .To have a young boy or young girl that looks like me, to give them inspiration and show them that they can work hard and succeed, that golf is a sport they can play, it’s extremely satisfying. When you see those smiles and the acknowledgement from those kids, it drives me more than my performance. I came from a place where most of my friends didn’t make it out of poverty. I can show others that with hard work, you can get out and you can accomplish great things.”
Wells was born in Philadelphia before his mother moved them to South Carolina to be closer to his grandparents.
“I never knew my father and given where I grew up, golf was the furthest thing from my mind,” Wells said. “I was introduced to the game by an inner-city program named Fairway Outreach and to be honest, I wasn’t very good. Nothing is more humbling than bouncing around from home to home, living with friends and having to wear someone else’s clothes and underpants. But I was determined to use sports to get out and to make something of myself.”
At first, Wells was ready to RUN to a better life, literally. Wells ran every track event possible, whether it was the 100, the 200, the 400, the 4×100, but it was the 400-yard Hurdles that got attention from colleges. He received a commitment from Benedict College to receive a full athletic scholarship, but when he arrived at the school in 2000, he learned the coach had been fired and his scholarship was no longer available.
“I couldn’t afford college, so I had to find a plan B,” Wells said. “The Athletic Director, Willie Washington, was sympathetic to my situation and introduced me to the golf coach, Herman Belton. I shot 104-105-106 in my tryout and the coach told me I wasn’t good enough. Over the next two years, I worked extremely hard and eventually earned a scholarship and became the No. 1-player on the team by my second season. From then until now, golf continues to change my life and take me to places I never thought I would go.”
Wells played in his first APGA Tour event in 2012 and finished 10th at Rogers Park in Tampa.
“The APGA Tour has been a home for me since that first event,” Wells said. “It gave me a place to feel comfortable and to continue to chase my dreams. To win an award named after Adrian Stills is an incredible honor. He is a true mentor. He has been there, to the PGA TOUR, the place where we are all trying to get to. But more than that, he has experienced the ups and downs and the struggles that we face as golfers and as people. He was a reason we didn’t quit. When he speaks, you know you can trust him.”
“There is no more deserving recipient of the first-ever Adrian Stills Award than Montrele Wells,” said Mark Patterson, SVP and Chief of Staff to the Chair and CEO at Cisco. “Montrele truly embodies the attributes that this award seeks to recognize – strength of character, sportsmanship, courage and giving back to the game and community. Cisco is proud to support Montrele and his efforts not only on the golf course, but also in his work to lift up and inspire a new, diverse generation of golfers.”
Cisco’s support of the APGA Tour reflects the brand’s purpose to power a more inclusive future for all. Through the partnership, Cisco sponsors two of the APGA’s most significant events, offering highly competitive prize money as well as enrichment and development opportunities off the course, with professional and personal development sessions, mentoring opportunities and networking events with business and golf industry leaders. Cisco’s relationship with the APGA Tour builds on the brand’s ongoing investment in the game of golf, as seen through partnerships with leading organizations, such as the United States Golf Association; events, including the AT&T Pro-Am and the Billy Horschel APGA Tour Invitational presented by Cisco; and the individuals on Team Cisco across the PGA, LPGA and APGA Tours.
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About APGA Tour
The APGA Tour was established in 2010 as a non-profit organization with the mission to bring greater diversity to the game of golf. The APGA Tour Board of Directors works to accomplish this by hosting and operating professional golf tournaments, player development programs, mentoring programs and by introducing the game to inner city young people. In addition to conducting up to 18 tournaments awarding more than $1 million in prize and bonus money in 2022, the APGA has organized a Player Development Program to aid young minority golfers as they work to chase their goals in professional golf.
Montrele Wells Wins Inaugural APGA Adrian Stills Award