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by Becky Kimbrell-Norris
WAKE FOREST — Wake Forest High golfer Amanda Levy was selected July 15 to play in a pro-junior tournament this September at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California.
The famed course is known for its cliffside fairways and sloping greens that challenge golfers along the Pacific coast.
It is the site of the 10th annual Nature Valley First Tee Open, where Levy and 80 other junior golfers will tee off and walk the fairways. Golf legends such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods have recorded victories at the course.
“Getting to walk onto the fairways of Pebble Beach Golf Links with my golf bag and my own caddy like a pro is something I am really looking forward to,” Levy said. “This is definitely one of my biggest accomplishments as a golf player.”
Levy will be playing alongside Champion Tour players and top amateurs.
“I was totally humbled to receive the news that I was selected as one of 27 girls invited to Pebble Beach,” Levy said. “I did shout very loudly up to the sky when I heard that I was selected.
“It is totally an honor and a dream come true for me to represent my First Tee chapter and have all expenses paid for by the organization.”
The First Tee program has more than 200 chapters nationwide and began as a way to bring golf to kids and teens that otherwise would not be exposed to the game.
Levy has been involved with the First Tee of The Triangle for eight years. She attends class sessions on teaching golf instruction from area golf course pros and plays in tournaments.
“The program has given me friends from all over the country,” Levy said. “My being involved has helped to better my golf game both mentally and physically … .”
In addition, Levy is a junior mentor to the younger golfers.
“It is so rewarding to help a kid learn how to hold a golf club and hit the golf ball for the first time,” she said.
More than 150 junior golfers applied to get the chance to play at Pebble Beach and the application was a six part process that included essays, interview questions, and a golf resume. The golfers were also chosen on their handicap, golf accomplishments and length of time with The First Tee.
Levy said she had to write five essays, including one about the biggest influence in her life and why and she wrote about her father.
“My dad has been a huge influence on me because he knows my goals for playing collegiate golf after high school,” she said. “He helps me see my strengths on and off the golf course, while making me laugh, and he helps me push myself.”
The tournament will be held Sept. 24-29, with the first two days of competition divided between Pebble Beach Golf Links and the Del Monte Golf Course, which is the oldest active course west of the Mississippi River.
The junior players will pair with a professional and will be scored in a gross best ball format as they compete for the pro-junior title and a winning purse of $1,800.
Some of the Champion Tour players who have committed to play are Andy Bean, Bobby Clampett, Tom Kite, Hale Irwin, Scott Simpson, Ben Crenshaw, Jay Haas, Peter Jacobsen, Wayne Levi, Craig Sattler and Bernhard Langer.
“It’s so exciting to be paired with my very own professional golfer and be able to ask questions and get pointers on my golf game,” said Levy, who has a handicap of 4.3. “I just want to make the tournament cut and have the opportunity to play on Sunday for the pro-junior title final round.”
Levy said she is also looking forward to the “Legends and Leaders-Pro/Junior Mixer, where she gets to meet all the professional golfers, including her partner for the tournament.
Levy, Wake Forest High’s Most Valuable Player for the past three years, has been competing in junior tournaments since last fall.
“Summer time just lets me play through the weekdays more and travel,” she said.
Levy also received Cap 8 All-Conference and All-Regional 4A honors during the last three seasons and has been a North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A state qualifier all three years.
The last two days of the Nature Valley tournament will be televised on the Golf Channel.