Golfers from The First Tee of Fort Worth soon will be competing side-by-side with professionals on the Champions Tour and LPGA Tour. The organization’s first shot on the national stage will be struck by Jamie Youree, a senior at North Crowley High School.
Youree is one of 78 junior golfers, and the only one from Tarrant County, selected to compete in the Home Care & Hospice First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, a Champions Tour event scheduled Sept. 3-5 in Pebble Beach, Calif. Youree, 17, will compete with a Champions Tour participant in the pro-junior division, a team event that runs concurrently with individual competition at the 54-hole tournament.
To receive an invitation, nominees must excel on the course and show leadership skills off the course. Each nominee must write an essay explaining how he or she applied a core value learned at The First Tee in their personal lives.
Kevin Long, executive director of Fort Worth’s chapter of The First Tee, said he has nominated a potential participant each year since 2006 but Youree is the first to make the field in Pebble Beach.
“It’s always good to be the person that puts that first stepping stone out there,” said Youree, who posted a career-best round of 69 at a junior event in Abilene earlier this summer. “I’m definitely excited. I’m honored by the opportunity to do something like that.”
If his team plays well, Youree could earn television time on The Golf Channel, which will carry live telecasts of each round. The same opportunity exists for two other Tarrant Country golfers who will participate in The First Tee Mars Challenge, Sept. 10-12 in Rogers, Ark. The pro-junior competition is a first-year feature of the P&G Northwest Arkansas Championship, an LPGA Tour event
Cain Rocha, a sophomore at Richland High School, and Sara Posey, a senior at Saginaw High School, will represent the Fort Worth chapter at the LPGA event in Arkansas. All three rounds will be televised by The Golf Channel.
Long said the high-profile opportunities for local participants in The First Tee, a non-profit organization that promotes character development through the game of golf, represents “a big, big deal” and “a tremendous honor for our chapter.”
_ Jimmy Burch