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Winter 2014 • 21 20 • The Optimist

Optimist Golf By the Numbers

Optimist International Junior Golf Championship - 2013 Statistics

Optimist Junior Golf Tour is Expanding

Optimist Junior Golf is holding two 36-hole tournaments, featuring 75-90 junior golfers each. Three age divisions will be offered: boys 16-18, boys 14-15 and girls 14-18. Age division winners will earn an exemption into the summer Optimist International Junior Golf Championships held July 19-24 for boys 10-15 and girls 10-14 and July 24-29 for boys 16-18 and girls 15-18 at PGA National Resort and Spa.

Dates

February 22-23, 2014

(Optimist Junior Golf is partnering with Greg Norman Golf Academy!)

Barefoot Resort - Greg Norman Golf Course | Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

March 8-9, 2014

WaterChase Golf Course | Fort Worth, Texas

For more information on the Optimist Junior Golf program:

Email: golf@optimist.org

Website: golf.optimist.org

Like us on Facebook:

facebook.com/optimist.golf

District Junior Golf Chair, Lawson Headley and Casey Banon

All I can say is thank you. Because of you, I am an Optimist for life now.

A heartfelt thank you

from a junior golfer...

The Alexandria Sunrise Optimist Club in the Capital-Virginia District shared a testimonial from their Club-level junior golfer, Casey Bannon. He was scheduled to speak at a Club meeting, but was selected to participate in a statewide tournament on the same day.

“I think you will fnd how his participation in our Optimist program shows what our organization is all about— providing hope and positive vision to the youth,” said 2012-2013 Club President, JB Young.

Dear Optimist Members,

First off, I would like to apologize for my absence as I am extremely disappointed I could not make it today. I have loved my time with all the good people at the Optimist meetings and hope I can return one day.

As you know last year I qualifed for the international

championships after a wild

comeback on the back 9 and an up and down playoff. The time I spent last year at the tournament was perhaps the most fun I’ve ever had on a golf course in my life. The moment I left PGA National last year, I had only one thought on my mind: getting back to work and getting better, so I could return to that place one more time. I had made friends from Santa Claus, Indiana to Santiago, Chile and didn’t want to believe that this would be the last time I got this opportunity.

I just hoped Jerry would be kind enough to put his faith in me again. As I hoped, you all in the Optimist program trusted me to take one more crack at it, and I am pleased to tell you I gave it my best shot. After a near mistake-free round of golf, I fnished with an even par round of 71,

good enough to tie for frst place. Even though I knew I only had to fnish in the top three to go to Florida, I was intent on winning frst place in a playoff to show to you all how much I appreciate the opportunity you gave me. After four playoff holes, and 22 of them overall on a 95-degree day, I prevailed with one last par. I had achieved my goal of returning to the Optimist International Championships.

Since I last spoke to you all, a lot has changed in my life. On January 1, I achieved a life-long dream of mine

by committing to Saint Leo University in Tampa, Florida to play golf on scholarship. I signed my national letter of intent in front of my friends, family and teachers in April.

I also recently graduated high school with a 3.6 GPA, which I know is my mother’s favorite accomplishment of mine. I credit a lot of my success to you all listening to this today. Countless college coaches I talked to were impressed I had played in this tournament and with my overall attitude on life, which only I know wouldn’t be possible without you. If there is one message I can leave with you all today, it is that there are no boundaries in life. I am living proof that you don’t need an absurd amount of talent, or attention, or reassurance to go where you want to go. All you need is a vision, a ferce work ethic, and a couple people to believe in you. I get emotional now thinking of all the ways you have helped me get to where I wanted to be and just by signing me up for a golf tournament.

All I can say is thank you. Because of you, I am an Optimist for life now.

— Casey Bannon, age 17

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