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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Honesty. Integrity. Sportsmanship. Respect. Confidence. Responsibility. Perseverance. Courtesy. Judgment. Nine core values all of us should have in life and each one of those are taught by The First Tee of Central Ohio every day to students across the city.

“We promote the game of golf for students who that would not normally be exposed to golf,” said Centennial physical education teacher Anesti Kalagidis. “”They are learning the proper discipline and etiquette how to carry yourself, sportsmanship, sportspersonship, integrity, respect, and responsibility. All of these things that you need to have in life.”

This 2-week program is just one of the dozens of programs The First Tee of Central Ohio will put on this year in the Columbus City Schools. Cory Tucker is leading this class at Centennial High School.

“I definitely hit them with the fun but at the same time, hit them with the hard truth, like today’s lesson is perseverance. Life is hard,” said Tucker.

And perseverance is a perfect lesson to learn from the game of golf.

“Over the week, we’ve been playing golf and we just been teaching him how to hit it and focus on the ball and see where it goes,” said sophomore Daejon Practher.

That’s easier said than done of course, but that’s the lesson learned.

“That means don’t give up. That’s what i would say,” said freshman ayoub Hatok. “That’s not only for sports but for everything. for learning, for working, for socializing with other people, for everything.”

“Golf is great,” said Tucker. “We love the game of golf and play it to when they’re old and that’s perfectly fine but at the same time, I’m trying to show these kids that they have options.”

If you want to support The First Tee of Central Ohio, they have an event this Friday called “T’s for Tees”, a wine tasting event. It goes from 6:30-10pm at the Grange Insurance Center at Scioto Audobon Metro Park. Visit to buy tickets.

HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT)– With his big-time aspirations, 9-year-old Jerrell Anthony is like any other junior golfer.

“I want to make it to the PGA TOUR when I grow up,” Jerrell said.

Ok. We’ve heard that one before.

But to say Jerrell is on the fast path to success may be an understatement.

For the past two years, he has been competing on the U.S. Kids Golf Montgomery Tour. 

He’s lost track of how many times he has won.

The answer is 14.

“Jerrell is all you can ask for in a junior golfer,” said Neil Thompson, golf pro at Oxmoor Valley. “He shows up with a good attitude.”

The biggest problem right now is finding friends his age who are good enough to play with him.

Spend an afternoon on the course with Jerrell and you’ll hear a kid who is very hard on himself, espeically for his age.

“I like that,” Thompson said. “Try to find me someone who reaches the top in life who is not hard on themselves.”

In fact, Jerrell has redemption on his mind. Two years ago he made the Junior World Championships, but didn’t finish as well as he wanted.

‘We’re having to be honest with ourselves,” said Jerrell’s mom Caprenio Anthony. “What we are trying to do is put in a lot of different sports, so he can have that team spirit and comradery.”

But you can’t fight love.

Simms Abney fired a bogey-free six-under 66 in the final round to win the 2018 E-Z-GO Vaughn Taylor Championship.

“It means a lot,” Abney said. “I played really well all week. I kept telling myself I was the strongest guy mentally in the field and kept that mindset. [I felt like] nothing could stop me. I played well the last 36 holes and pretty much dominated.”

Simms (-9), who is committed to play at Alabama, played his final 38 holes 11-under par. Ringgold, Ga. native Gavin Noble finished second at four-under par. The complete results can be found here.

EVANS, Ga. (WJBF) — There’s no place like home. Apparently that’s the case for a couple of area golfers climbing up the leaderboard at the E-Z-Go Vaughn Taylor Championship at Jones Creek Golf Club.

Alex Shead, Montgomery Harrison, and Colson Herrin are all home-schooled and play for the Augusta Eagles golf team, and they’re all playing in the VT Championship this week.

Shead has worked his way to the top of the leaderboard. He’s -2 overall after a 4-under 68 on Wednesday. He leads by 1 shot. Harrison, of Evans, is tied for 6th at +2.  And Herrin is tied for 30th.

Here is a link to the Live Scoring.

GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (WJBF) — Austin Eckroat of Oklahoma took a 5-shot lead into the final round, but he would have to make a couple of clutch birdie putts late to finish off his victory in the 6th Junior Invitational at Sage Valley. The Oklahoma State commit made a big birdie putt on 15, then needed another one on 18 to secure a 1-shot win over Australia’s Min Woo Lee. Lee fired a final round 67 to nearly overcome a 9-shot deficit for the victory.

Duluth, Georgia’s Benjamin Hunt was in the hunt for most of the day Sunday, but he double bogeyed 15 and 17 and finished tied for 7th.

Here is the full release on Sunday’s final round from the PGA of America:

Graniteville, South Carolina (April 23, 2016) Sometimes in life you have to read the fine print. Austin Eckroat of Edmond, Oklahoma, shot a final-round 75 to win the 2016 Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club by one shot over Min Woo Lee of Australia. Eckroat led wire-to-wire finishing with a three-day total of 210.

Don’t be deceived. Sunday was an epic struggle for the 17-year-old Oklahoma State verbal commitment, who edged Lee (211), John Axelsen of Sweden (third place, 213) and Davis Shore (fourth, 214) of Knoxville, Tennessee.

The leader by three and five strokes after the first two rounds, respectively, Eckroat started Saturday’s final round slowly. He knew early something was amiss. He double-bogeyed the first hole, his first double-square all week.

His was so off, he had more bogeys or double bogeys (three) within his initial seven holes than he had the first two rounds (2), combined.

“I really struggled off the tee,” said Eckroat. “I was hitting it left and my irons were going right. I had no idea what I was doing.”

Four consecutive pars on holes 8-11 steadied his ship, but only temporarily, as bogeys on No. 12 and 14 shaved his lead to a single shot.

He birdied the par-5 15th, getting up and down from just off the green (50 feet). “I knew I needed to make that [15-foot birdie] putt.”

At 16, Eckroat “pushed” his 4-foot bid for par.

“Then I heard the loud roar,” he said.

The roar was engineered by Lee, who snaked in “probably the best shot I’ve ever hit. It was a big 40-footer, down the hill, left-to-right, then right-to-left, a double-breaker. It just trickled in.”

Just like that, things were all square between Eckroat and Lee.

After routine pars on 17 for Eckroat and on 18 for Lee, it appeared extra holes might be in order.

Eckroat pushed his drive on 18 into the right rough. He was 235 yards out.

“I was thinking playoff,” admitted Eckroat, who pulled his 2-iron. “Whenever you have a 2-iron in hand, you are not thinking birdie.”

That mindset changed quickly when the 2-iron split the large green and rolled within 12 feet.

“I just totally forgot everything, swung and it worked,” said Eckroat of his second shot.

That left just the putt. Uphill, slightly right-to-left.

Eckroat walked it in. Just the third birdie of the day at No. 18 provided the 2015 Oklahoma Junior Champion with the greatest win of his burgeoning career.

Moments after his charge, which included eight birdies en route to a closing 67, had ended and his hopes for a playoff were dashed, the 17-year-old Lee was content with his effort and pleased for his friend.

“I am glad Austin made the birdie on the last hole. I’m happy for him.”

Asked about the week, his win and the experience, Eckroat smiled and offered, “this place [Sage Valley] is awesome, by far my favorite golf course.”

The 54-hole Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club is widely recognized as one of the premier junior tournaments in the world. The prestigious event attracts many of the game’s top-ranked junior golfers on an annual basis.

 Junior Invitational ChampionsPaul S. Simon Character Award Recipients
2016Austin Eckroat, Edmond, Okla.Cooper Dossey, Austin, Tex.
2015Marcus Kinhult, SwedenPhilip Barbaree, Shreveport, La.
2014Scottie Scheffler, Dallas, Tex.Cameron Champ, Sacramento, Calif.
2013Carson Young, Pendleton, S.C.Michael Pisciotta, Alpharetta, Ga.
2012Zachary Olsen, Cordova, Tenn.
2011Nicholas Reach, Moscow, Pa.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Masters Week kicked off with the Drive, Chip & Putt National Championship  at Augusta National Golf Club for junior golfers, boys and girls ages seven through 15.

Despite the chilly weather, kids turned out to see their peers compete.

“I’m just ready to see the golfers, the young golfers and I like to see them play at the National,” said one young fan.

For many young golfers, it’s inspiring to see to see other kids play at such a high level.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Jackson Laufer.

But watching top-notch junior golf wasn’t the only draw.

“We just came out here to you know, buy stuff,” said Molly Kain.

One young fan said eating an ice cream sandwich was his favorite part of the event last year.

But Drive, Chip and Putt is also giving kids an incentive to improve their golf game.

Nine-year-old Harrison James said he comes to watch and learn from the other golfers so that he too can play in Drive, Chip & Putt one day.

Now in its fourth year, the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship will start hosting local qualifying rounds in all 50 states this summer. This year, the 80 finalists hailed from 30 states as well as Canada.