First Tee Open: Chasing the Dream
Sept. 28, 2014
It’s something that not even Arnold Palmer got to experience.
In Sunday’s final round of the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, a number of Junior Tour of Northern California players, including 2014 Player of the Year Joshua McCarthy, had a chance at doing something ‘The King” never did — win at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
McCarthy, who won on the Capital Insurance Group sponsored JTNC three times last season, appeared on his way to winning the title. It all changed in a flash, however, as The First Tee of Tucson member Christopher Meyers holed out for a double-eagle on the famed 18th at Pebble Beach to give him and pro partner Lee Janzen the Pro-Junior title.
Thanks to the double-eagle, Meyers and Janzen finished the Pro-Junior with a 64 and three-day total of 22-under 193. McCarthy and his pro, Peter Senior, came in tied for second at 195, along with the team of fellow JTNC member Katie Horsford and Steve Elkington.
Meyers’ miracle? A 4-iron from 203 yards out. “I was just stunned,” said Meyers, who’ll start playing for Stanford next fall. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Still, the JTNC had a fantastic showing. Nine out of the 13 members who played in the Pro-Junior made the cut.
Prior to Meyer’s miracle shot, McCarthy, who had seven birdies of his own, was poised to be the winner. The Danville resident was in with a day-low 64, which would’ve broken a tie (low round) had Meyers, McCarthy and Horsford all finished at 20-under. A McCarthy win also would’ve made it two years in a row that a JTNC member won the Pro-Junior. Last year, Michelle Xie of Palo Alto won playing with Kirk Triplett.
Alas, it didn’t happen.
“It was still great,” said McCarthy, also a member of The First Tee fun of Tri-Valley. “I just wanted to get back to Sunday and get back to Pebble Beach. I did that.”
In what was almost a JTNC sweep, Logan Lowe of Grass Valley took fourth in the Pro-Junior. Winner of the Fall Series IV Championship a mere two weeks ago, Lowe and three-time First Tee Open champ Jeff Sluman had a 67 to finish fourth at 196.
“It’s fun to feel like you’re competing in a big event. Playing with the pros intensifies it and makes it even more fun,” Lowe said. “Jeff helped me out a lot. It was a great week.”
Fellow JTNC member Anna Zhou of Palo Alto, playing with Tom Pernice Jr, tied for fifth at 197 following a 65. Emma Reyes finished 8th at 16-under, meanwhile, thanks to five birdies and an eagle on No.2 in Sunday’s finale.
Other JTNC members who played on Sunday at Pebble Beach were Bryan Baumgarten (T-10), Mabel Wong (T-10), Kylie Fong (T-12) and Nikhil Swaminathan (T-15).