By: Chris Borrego, Program Director
Three of our players made it into the Pure Insurance Championship in 2018 – Skyler May and William Bensch, sophomores at St. Mary’s High, and Christopher Khan, a junior at Lincoln High. They played in late September at Poppy Hills and Pebble Beach. All three players are Eagle Level Participants in our program. The week was great – it was a little cold in the morning, but the sun would eventually come out, making for spectacular views.
Skyler played with tour winner, Chris DiMarco. He was a wonderful guy and in fact, Skyler did most of the heavy lifting for the team at Poppy Hills. Skyler showed that heart and determination is her trademark on the golf course. William played with US Open Champion, Scott Simpson. William had a very good day at Poppy Hills, shooting 75 on his own ball. Chris Khan played with Masters and PGA Champion, Vijay Singh. They were a great pairing, as neither is known for talking a lot on the course. Many times, they would walk down the fairway with each other in silence.
The Chapter sent a bus load of 40 kids and coaches down to the event on Saturday, September 29, where they met another 20-30 kids and parents who drove down for the day. They had lunch on the 18th Tee at Pebble Beach and the kids spent an hour going through the Chevron STEM Zone set up with many science, technology, engineering and math games and exhibits.
We then took their orange shirts and headed out to find Christopher Khan and Vijay Singh. Christopher had a spectacular shot from the bunker on #2 and spun it back to about 5 feet. Their view from the fairway was of 40-50 kids and coaches in orange First Tee of San Joaquin Chapter shirts. The group followed Christopher through hole 5 and then cut over to see Skyler as she was on hole 15. We were able to let out a huge cheer as Skyler made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 16th. A man leaned over from the tower behind the green and said that was the largest cheer of the day. Unfortunately, William was playing at Poppy Hills early that day so the kids on the bus did not get to see him. However, I went out in the morning and followed him for 9 holes and he was playing very well.
It was a wonderful week for the kids, as they were treated like tour players with dinners and activities almost every night. Many of the Senior Tour Pros were involved in the events with the kids. We look forward to a return with 1-3 players in 2019.