I would like to thank the Youth on Course organization for their incredible foresight in creating a program that gives a hand up for all levels of junior golfers. From beginner to advanced players, all can benefit from a YOC membership. My success is a byproduct of Youth on Course, I have been taking advantage of the playing opportunities at affordable prices since moving here from Mexico at 9 years old. At 14 years old, I was awarded the Most Improved Junior Girl Golfer in Northern California by the Women’s Golf Association of Northern California. I take great pride in that award, especially with my name on the same trophy as U.S. Open Champion Paula Creamer. It was a major stepping stone for my young career, and it was all made possible because of my YOC handicap member benefit.
Youth on Course has awarded my girls’ golf team numerous scholarships through the years, and even helped my sister afford her university education. I cannot say enough about YOC, and the incredible generous people behind the scenes which make it the success it is!
I am still on cloud 9 since returning home from the Pure Insurance PGA Champions Tour Event. I knew it was going to be extra special to be a part of such a well-organized high profile tournament, but my expectations were exceeded by multiples of 100’s. From the first morning, when meeting PGA Tour Pro Olin Browne, U.S. Senior Open Champion 2011, one of my father’s competitors in the 1980’s back in New England. Mr. Browne invited me to play a practice round with him at Spyglass the next morning. From my first drive to my last putt he show me every place to aim, which club selection was best, and how every green broke. He guided me through a first class tutorial and it set my mind at ease for the rest of the week.
The first evening, meeting our Pro partners, was extremely exciting and a great gathering of all those involved with the event. For my father and I it was like a family reunion, as we had some Pro friends playing in the event from Rhode Island whom we hadn’t seen in 7 years. The first two days had been just a thrill and I could never imagined things getting even better. After being invited to conduct an interview at the PGA Tour Media Center for a national story, it was time to play the historic Pebble Beach Golf Course. It was an exceptionally, beautiful sunny day on the ocean, and my golfing partners and I were having an outstanding, friendly day of golf.
We finally made it to the iconic 17th hole, a par 3 which is aimed directly toward the rocky coast and open ocean. I was last to hit, following a young junior girl golfer Sky Skenandone, recently crown South Carolina Women’s Amateur Champion. She hit a firm knockdown shot about 13 feet from the hole, a real beauty for sure. Our yardage was approximately 135 with a pin right, but slightly back of the green. I chose an 8 iron to make sure I would get all the way there. With a Sacramento crowd cheering me on while taking a few photos during my swing I decided to just focus on solid contact and loose muscles. I struck it well and it was on line, so we all were just watching it roll pretty straight toward the hole. My amateur partners were enthusiastically egging the ball to go, and continue to go, until finally, the almost impossible happened, it dropped into the cup for a Hole- in-One!
All the years of waiting for my first Hole-in One, and it finally happen, in the most perfect golfing place in the world! I thought the week was already unbelievable and everyone was treating me so well, after the ace it just went to the moon. How could things get any better, impossible, well they did. I think Bing Crosby was looking down on me, creating a 3 hour fog delay pushing my tee time to 11:20 on Saturday morning at Pebble Beach. Due to that delay I was able to be on hole 7 tee with Suzy Whaley from CBS Sports’ Golf Channel as she was reporting. She interviewed me on live T.V. along with the 1977 Pebble Beach PGA Champion Lanny Watkins who commented about my Hole-in One while showing the video. After all that, my partner and I finished 10 under par for the two rounds and sat what seemed to be on the cut bubble.
Not knowing if I would make the cut we packed and headed out to the course Sunday morning. I didn’t want to count my chickens, as there were a few groups still finishing their rounds from the previous day due to the fog delay. With 4 holes to go and 8 under Billy Andrade and his junior partner Sarah Lydic looked like a shoe in to jump in front of us and knock us out of the top 12 qualifiers. We waited and waited, while hitting a few putts to see what would happen. Billy mishit his drive on 17, hitting it O.B., and Sarah could only negotiate a par, so unfortunately my close friends wouldn’t be continuing. All of sudden, it felt like a breeze of fresh ocean air had swept me up in excitement, I had to quickly switch gears and get ready to play a final round at Pebble. If the past few days’ pressure wasn’t enough with my Pro and two successful businessmen, now I had to play with U.S. Senior Open Champion Jeff Maggert, Champion Tour winner Scott Dunlap, and my partner Kevin Sutherland, 5 time Champion Tour winner, oh boy! With cameras everywhere, and the crowd a few deep on the first hole we started our round on track and confidently.
Being able to play Pebble again was such a blessing and really put the icing on the cake for a week that was out of this world. One of the highlights, coming down the stretch, occurred on hole 15th, the par four, playing approximately 320 from the junior girls’ tee. With a group on the green, and feeling like I was out of reach, I was able to make a big turn and hit one like Bing Crosby’s song says “straight down the middle” right onto the green. I apologized to the group, but they had no hard feelings and congratulated me on my solid shot. I finished up the last three holes with pars and felt on top of the world. Standing on 18 green looking out to the ocean, I realized how absolutely blessed I was, and this had been one of the finest weeks of my life.