On Monday, June 23, 2014, Brightspot, along with co-host Jordan Spieth, the 9th ranked golfer in the world, a PGA Tour champion and reigning Rookie of the Year, will present the 3rd Annual Congressional Pro-Am. Since 2012, Brightspot has brought together individuals from a wide array of backgrounds to provide a memorable and unique experience at one of the most historic courses in the nation. Now in its third year, the Pro-Am has continued to grow with golfers from The First Tee, Special Olympics, and Feherty's Troops First Foundation joining from coast-to-coast. Read below to learn more about the young golfers from The First Tee who will be competing in this year's tournament.
Bolden has no doubt excelled in the game of golf. Carrying a +1.8 handicap and four top-20 finishes in AJGA tournaments since the start of the 2013 season, he has committed to play golf at the University of Southern California this upcoming fall. But Bolden has never missed out on a chance to give back. The First Tee of South Los Angeles executive director, Teresa Thornton, identified Bolden as one always willing to help those in his community, even financially, while sharing his experiences and learning lessons with his peers. Bolden is sure that this event is another opportunity to do just that.
Brown is an exemplary participant of The First Tee. According to The First Tee of Owensboro executive director, Charles Whelan, Brown has used most all of The First Tee Nine Core Values and Nine Healthy Habits to lower his golf score, get in shape, boost his confidence, grab the No. 1 spot on his high school golf team and earn a 3.93 GPA. Brown will celebrate his tenth year with The First Tee next April.
Caldwell, an ACE registered participant, was named The First Tee of Pine Mountain’s first Youth Ambassador in 2012. Caldwell attended The First Tee Life Skills and Leadership Academy in New York in 2012. Caldwell has the most programming and assistance experience of any participant at his chapter. One of his favorite lessons learned through the program is the importance of goal-setting. Participating in this event was one of his goals.
DeYoung has been with The First Tee of Western Michigan since it was chartered in 2011 and can now be identified as the chapter’s most advanced participant. DeYoung hopes to become a PGA instructor one day and will start to volunteer as a coach for his chapter this summer. For DeYoung, the Congressional Pro-Am is a chance to watch and learn from the best in the business, and DeYoung relishes at the chance to pass on those lessons.
Having spent almost 10 years in the Girls Golf Program at The First Tee of Corning, Doyle is now a “shining example” of sportsmanship and courtesy, according to chapter director, Jonathan Wilbur. Doyle has also shined on the golf course, winning three tournaments individually in 2013 while also representing the USA in the IJGT North American Cup in Toronto in the same year.
Harvey is known for keeping busy. In addition to being Eagle-certified, completing 200 hours of programming and being in the Girls Golf Club at The First Tee of Valparaiso, Harvey competed in 16 golf tournaments in 2013, all while maintaining an astounding 4.3 GPA. She also organizes 6 of 12 events that the chapter holds annually. Making friends and meeting new people is one of Harvey’s favorite things about The First Tee and golf. The chance to meet new people on an off the golf course at this event is an ideal opportunity for her.
Lewis is an ACE participant that is applauded by the chapter’s associate and program director, David Nesbitt for her mentorship of several of the chapter’s BIRDIE girl participants. Lewis recorded eight top-3 tournament finishes in 2013 and has managed to establish a 4.7 USGA handicap after playing golf for just five years. Lewis is anxious to share her experiences from this week’s schedule of events with her friends, students, and coaches back at The First Tee.
Long has been a spectator at the Quicken Loans National tournament each year it has been in Washington, D.C., but this will be his first chance to be inside the ropes. In his four years with The First Tee, Long credits the organization for helping him grow into a leadership role at his chapter as he is pushing to become his chapter’s first Ace participant. The First Tee of Greater Washington D.C. Executive Director Clint Sanchez notes that Long is the always the first to reach out and help the younger and less experienced participants. Long practices tirelessly on the golf course, but he is also known to be a student of the game. Sanchez says Long has even taken a liking to watching and learning from televised matches of old golf greats like Lee Trevino and Gary Player.
Once upon a time, a young Trent Mansfield was forced to miss out on a school trip to Washington D.C. Now, 17, and having spent nine years with The First Tee, Mansfield is getting his second chance to visit the nation’s capital. Mansfield admits one of the biggest roles The First Tee has played in his life is academically, as he was recently accepted into the National Honor Society and National Spanish Honor Society. Not to mention, he is also excelling on the golf course with a 2.2 handicap.
Miner is a returning participant of the Congressional Pro-Am, but this time, she is especially excited to witness the working logistics of a golf tournament when the 18 participants are treated to a behind-the-scenes tour during the first round of the tournament. Miner has earned this treatment though, participating in almost all of The First Tee of Greater Washington D.C.’s events and fundraisers. She has also been recognized by her coaches for excelling off the golf course in the fields of respect, responsibility and her strong influence on others to do the same.
Moore joined The First Tee of Greater Washington D.C. after moving from The First Tee of Augusta in 2013. In his first year, Moore has managed to make a big splash in his new chapter, accumulating over 100 hours of programming, including participation in the Financial Literacy Course hosted by PwC, The First Tee Metro Tour, and The Northeast Regional Chapter Challenge. He was also selected to participate in the chapter’s first year of winter programming, “Raising the Bar.” Moore is dedicated to significantly lowering his nine handicap this summer, and he hopes this event and the tips he can get from the pros will bring him that much closer.
Congressional is a special place for Nguyen. It was one of the last places he was able to spend time with his best friend, Kian, before his dad’s new military assignment forced the family to move to Belgium for three years. Nguyen says Congressional is where he got the motivation he needed to continue the game of golf. The motivation and perseverance lessons that he learned and participated in with The First Tee have been especially important for Nguyen to fight through a bad shoulder injury he suffered during wrestling season a few years ago. The injury kept him away from golf for more than a year. But now, Nguyen gets the chance to return to Congressional, now one of his favorite places, ready to get back in the swing of things.
Shepherd is one of the participants that is most excited to meet representatives from two different kinds of professions. Interested in computer programming and computer engineering, Shepherd is particularly excited to meet the creators, developers, computer programmers and other professionals of Brightspot. But he is also anxious to visit the golf course and see professional golfers at work. Shepherd has worked hard to capitalize on what golf and The First Tee can offer him (he has made visits to Harbor Town Golf Links and Trump National Golf Club) and his participation in this event is another demonstration of his dedication.
Considered by the chapter’s executive director, Cindy Darland, to be the “#1 ambassador” for The First Tee of Collier/Naples, Shrader is known to be a model member at her chapter. She is also considered a “Go-To-Person” by many of her chapter’s participants and staff. Shrader is proud to represent her chapter again—in the past, she was selected to represent her chapter in the PGA TOUR “Greet the Pro” event and was selected as a team leader during The First Tee’s Live Green! event in October 2012. And according to Darland, the athletic Shrader will now tell you that golf is her number one sport.
Thomas has only been with The First Tee of Greater Washington, D.C. for less than a year (she transferred from The First Tee of Prince George’s County), but in that time, she has greatly impressed the chapter’s executive director, Clint Sanchez, with her determination and commitment to the program. Her dedication to the sport has led her to compete in golf tournaments in six different states across the country, and her commitment off the course has earned her induction into her high school’s National Honors Society.
Besides carrying a stellar +1.7 handicap on the links, Torres is a participant that is well aware of the effectiveness of The First Tee Nine Core Values. Torres visits The First Tee of South Los Angeles chapter four times a week and has done so for the past seven years, logging about 3,600 hours in The First Tee program. She is now a junior mentor to other participants at her chapter and is anxious to share her experience touring Brightspot and the rest of the nation’s capital.
With The First Tee of Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky since it began in 2006, Wessels has grown to fill a very important role at her chapter. Wessels was selected to go to The First Tee Life Skills and Leadership Academy two years ago, is an assistant coach, and is a member of The First Ladies—a group of teen women who gather for wellness activities and service. She participated in a total of 23 tournaments between 2012 and 2013 and earned her first tournament victory this year at the 2014 Miami Whitewater Forest Championship. She will also tell you that she is quite the Jordan Spieth fan.
Wimbrow is coming off one of the biggest tournaments of his young career. He won the 2014 UNC Tarheel Junior Championship with a 72-65 performance. The First Tee has given to Wimbrow almost as much as he has given it. Wimbrow is an assistant coach for young people in the program, and he regularly volunteers with participant programs and fundraisers. But in addition to The First Tee and the Nine Core Values that the program has given Wimbrow (respect is his favorite), his Ace-level coursework has made him realize how important and useful college can be for him—a path he did not think he would take until recently. Wimbrow was also chosen to play in the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach in 2013.