Yosemite High golfer Clair Oetinger started her dream week on the Monterey Peninsula with practice rounds at Poppy Hills Tuesday and the world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links Wednesday - all in preparation for this weekend’s (Sept. 22-24) 54-hole Pure Insurance PGA Champions Tour - First Team Open Golf Tournament.
Oetinger is one of 81 junior golfers (ages 15-18) from around the world who are active in The First Tee program. Oetinger is teamed with professional Brad Faxon
The junior golfers will team up with 81 PGA senior tour champions who will play at the two challenging courses.
The event will be broadcast on the Golf Channel.
Boys and girls in the First Tee program must have no higher than a six or eight handicap, respectively, to even submit an application to play in the prestigious tournament. Oetinger’s handicap is currently six.
Oetinger is the eighth player from the Fresno First Tee chapter and the third Yosemite High golfer to participate in the tournament.
Sisters Kirsten and Jordan Keyser were selected to play in the event in 2008 and 2010 respectively. Impressive, considering only about a third of First Tee chapters in the United States have had golfers qualify for the event.
Both Keyser girls played with senior pro Mark Calcavecchia who won 13 PGA tour events in his career including the 1989 Open Championship.
Oetinger was also chosen to represent The First Tee of Fresno in the Coca Cola Challenge Skins Game (with partner pro Jeff Sluman) being played today (Thursday). Oetinger and her professional will play to win their share of $40,000 in prize money. If she and her partner win a share of the prize, the money is split between the two of them for The First Tee Chapters they represent.
The First Tee program reaches more than four million students in 9,000 schools worldwide, mostly in the U.S., with the help of 24,000 volunteers and almost 4,000 active coaches.