Braden River High School senior Brandon Pozzie is one of three First Tee of Sarasota/Manatee golfers getting their chance to tee it up with Champions Tour pros this week.
Pozzie is the lone Manatee County golfer in the group that is set to play in the 2016 Nature Valley First Tee Open, a Champions Tour event, that begins Friday on the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links in California. The 54-hole tournament airs on The Golf Channel.
Pozzie joins Sarasota Riverview’s Nicole Polivchak and Venice’s Isabella Stepanek, a student at Pine View, as the area’s participants. The three were selected from a panel of national judges that weighed playing ability and comprehension of life skills and character education attained from the First Tee as part of the criteria to qualify.
The juniors are teamed with 81 Champions Tour players, which includes World Golf Hall of Famer Tom Watson.
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They’re vying for the pro-junior title at Pebble Beach and Poppy Hills Golf Course on Friday and Saturday with Sunday’s final round taking place at Pebble Beach.
U.S. Kids Tour kicks off
The U.S. Kids Sarasota/Bradenton Tour held its first event on Saturday at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club. The event drew 50 competitors across its age divisions. Lakewood Ranch’s Jessica Kobetitsch won the girls 9-hole division for ages 10-11 with a 47, while Lakewood Ranch’s Maria Huang won the girls 18-hole division for ages 12-14 with an 81. The two were the lone locals to win Saturday.
Other winners included: Cape Coral’s Braden Grable (46, 9-hole boys division, 6-and-younger age group), Tampa’s John Fuoco (44, 9-hole boys division, 7-year-old age group), Sarasota’s Alexander Kaufman (49, 9-hole boys division, 8-year-old age group), Venezuela’s Nicolas Bencomo (36, 9-hole boys division, 9-year-old age group), China’s Frank Wu (37, 9-hole boys division, 10-year-old age group), Riverview’s Jake Ackerman (81, 18-hole boys division, 11-year-old age group), Naples’ Ty Kaufman (86, 18-hole boys division, 12-year-old age group) and Pennsylvania’s Noah Kumar (75, 18-hole boys division, 13-14-year-old age group).
The next event is Sunday at Sarasota’s Heritage Oaks.
WFGT Series nears end
Bradenton’s Samuel Chavez, Bradenton’s Chris Kennedy and Lakewood Ranch’s Adam Hogue tied for sixth place at this week’s West Florida Golf Tour event at Dade City’s Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club. Chavez fired a 5-under-par 67 in Wednesday’s final round to finish with an 8-under 208 total for the 54-hole tournament. Kennedy closed with a 69, while Hogue started the event with a 66. Fort Myers’ Daniel Mazziotta won the event with a three-day total of 14-under 202. He closed with a 66 on Wednesday. The WFGT returns to the area next week for its final Summer Series event in Manatee County this year. A three-day tournament takes place at Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club’s Royal Lakes course beginning Monday. The WFGT wraps up the Summer Series at Venice’s Plantation Golf and Country Club with the Tour Championship the following week.
United way event nears
The annual Manatee County United Way golf tournament is set for Saturday, Oct. 8 at Tara Golf and Country Club. The tournament costs $75 per player or $300 per foursome, and it includes golf, cart, range balls, lunch, awards dinner, swag bag and contest entries for hole-in-one, longest drive and closest to the pin. The event is a 1:30 p.m. shotgun start with a scramble format. Registration begins at 11 a.m.
Contact Diana Linville, 748-4501 ext. 5843, or via email at email@example.com.
On Thursday, Sept. 8 at The River Club, Rod Miller aced the 154-yard 12th hole with a 5-rescue. Witnesses were Dave Baker, Kerry Leitch and Hans Pressler.
On Thursday, Sept. 8 at The River Club, Jackie Corbosiero aced the 107-yard second hole with a 6-hybrid. Witnessed by Reni Schlenker.