TW-First Tee Tour Proving Huge Hit
Bob Hepner really didn’t know just how popular it was going to become when he helped the Tin Whistles-First Tee Junior Tour get started three years ago.
“Our tour has really taken off,” he said after the recent event held at Seven Lakes Country Club. “We are almost at full capacity (60 players) each tournament.
“We normally have 20 to 25 11-and-under kids playing nine holes. Their ages range from 5 to 11, with three to five girls playing. We have 35 12-and-older youngsters playing 18 holes with seven or eight girls included.
“Our players come from all around the area — Morrisville, Raeford, Clinton, Lumberton, Richfield, Sanford, Cary, Raleigh, Hilton Head, Pembroke and Durham in addition to the Sandhills communities.
“At a typical tournament, we’ll have 25 Tin Whistles volunteers dressed in officials’ shirts and hats providing assistance to the players. We shuttle the nine-hole players and caddies between greens and tees and provide lots of liquid refreshments and snacks.
“The nine-holers can have a caddie and we provide caddie bibs, which they love. It makes them feel like pros.
“Our fees are really low — $15 for the nine-holers for both days and $30 for the 18-holers. If a youngster can’t afford the fee, we’ll scholarship them, and we currently have several.
“We give great prizes for finishing first, second and third, take lots of photos to give to parents, and since it has been so hot, we provide ice cream treats after the second day’s play.
“Whatever money we have left at the end of the season will be put into The First Tee College Scholarship Fund in memory of Bill Jones. We hope to present a $2,500 scholarship to a worthy First Tee participant annually.”
And all that explains why the events are so popular.
The third tournament of the summer tour was held at Seven Lakes, and Sumner Tate, of Raleigh, shot 72-78 to win the Boys’ Championship Flight. Connor Reilly, of Whispering Pines, was second with 157. Christopher O’Donnell, of Hilton Head, took third with 164.
Samantha O’Donnell, of Hilton Head, playing against the boys in the B Flight, won with a 36-hole score of 174. James Chavis, of Pembroke, was second with 175, with Austin Locklear, of Pembroke, and Corey Whitten, of Bennett, tying at 175.
Roy Maynor, of Pembroke, won the Boys’ C Flight with 190. Warren Bowen, of Pembroke, was second with 198 and Dan Venditti was third.
Kirkland Caison, of Raleigh, and Josh Stockwell tied in the Boys’ White Tee Flight with 160. Austin Scarboro, of Pinebluff, was third with 167.
John Rea, of Pinehurst, won the Boys’ Gold Flight with 164, Griffin Cryan, of Pinehurst, was second with Gray Linzel, of Southern Pines, third.
Chriseagle Kim, of Cary, won the Boys’ 12-and-under Red Tee Flight with 154. Anderson Allgeyer was runner-up with 163, followed by Brandon Harrell, of Pinehurst, with 168.
Savannah Thompson, of West End, won the Girls’ 13-14 Red Tee Flight with 174. Allyson Duranceau, of Sanford, was second with Lindsay Dakin, of West End, taking third.
Jarred Robinson, of Pinehurst, won the Boys’ 9-hole Red Tee Flight with 95, followed by Noa Bullough with 97 and Dalton Wheeless with 98.
Fulton Smith, of Pinehurst, won the Boys’ 9-hole Orange Tee A Flight with 71, Simon Balbin, of Pinehurst, was second, with Ethan Walters, of Carthage, third.
Conlan Kane, of Pinehurst, won the Boys’ 9-hole Orange Tee B Flight with 101. Garrett Mason, of Richfield, was second with Jacoby Sweat, of Fairmont, third.
Jaclyn Kenzel, of Southern Pines, and Cali Morfin, of West End, tied in the Girls’ 9-hole Orange Tee Flight with 112. Jessica Grady, of West End, was third.
For information on registering for the remaining three events of the season, visit the website at twftjrtour.com.
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