19th Hole: First Tee Honors Golfers, Coaches
The awarding of two $1,500 college scholarships highlighted the evening at the fifth annual First Tee of the Sandhills Gala held at the Pine Needles Reception Center.
Corey Whitten and Connor Toole, both ACE level participants, were presented the Bill Jones Memorial Scholarships by First Tee coach Bob Burwell.
Brian Manley, who has been a dedicated coach since 2008, was honored as coach of the year.
A gathering of approximately 250 attended the gala, where they enjoyed a sumptuous meal prepared by the Pine Needles Lodge and Resort kitchen staff.
Jaime Diaz, a senior golf writer for Golf Digest, was the guest speaker.
The theme for the evening was “Expanding Opportunities on the Course and in Life,” and participants from the Sandhills Chapter and affiliates in Lumberton and Candor were represented on stage.
Other honors presented included PGA Tour Player of the Year to William McGirt, a Fairmont native; Web.com Player of the Year to Darron Stiles, a resident of Pinehurst; and PGA Club Professional of the Year to Kelly Mitchum, as lead instructor at Pinehurst Resort’s Golf Academy and a Southern Pines native.
The evening came to a close with the bucket list raffle drawing that included 21 items and many of the winning bidders were present.
A great close to the evening involved all the award-winning youth having their photos taken with Peggy Kirk Bell.
The Award Winning Participants included: Johnny Rea — Responsibility ACE; Caroline Rea — Outstanding Eagle; Corey Whitten — Scholar ACE; Connor Toole — Scholar ACE; Ben Chrystler — Pebble Beach ACE; Savannah Thompson — Pebble Beach ACE; Allyson Duranceau — Nashville Academy; McKenzie Battle — Outstanding Jr. Coach; Dakota Locklear — Sportsmanship; Zion Wall — Integrity; Kajun Hunt — Perseverance; Lizzy Nguyen — Moore County Jr. Girls Champion; Bryan D’Ostroph — Leadership Academy ACE; Stephanie Villalobos — Confidence; Jaclyn Kenzel — Tin Whistle Tour Champ; Josh Stockwell — Men’s and Junior Moore County Champion and ACE; Javon Cole — Respect; Bobby Capps — Nashville Academy; Jessica Grady — FCA Academy; Dalton Wheeless — Outstanding Birdie — Jared Robinson — Carolina Cup Medalist; Matthew Walters — Judgment; Cameron Prince — Outstanding PAR; Walter Ghaffar — Junior Masters Champion.
The next major fundraising event, The First Tee Open at Country Club of North Carolina, is scheduled for March 27, 2013. Persons who would like to get involved either financially or as volunteers should contact Executive Director Bill Baker at (910) 783-8288.
The mission of The First Tee is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.
Information for this article was provided by Lisa Chandler of The First Tee Chapter of the Sandhills.
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