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Juniors Get Day to Remember

Thirty-two juniors golfers who had a penchant for fundraising earned the privilege to play in the Golf Digest Junior Pro-Am at the Travelers Championship.
Chris Lang/Travelers

June 26, 2010

By Mark Stevens, PGA TOUR Staff

CROMWELL, Conn.—Some may think that the special part of a day for 32 junior golfers was competing with a PGA TOUR player. But if you ask everyone involved they will tell you that what made the day extraordinary is how the 32 golfers earned their way into a dream foursome with a PGA TOUR player.

It was a unique day for those junior golfers and nine PGA TOUR players who teed off in the second annual Golf Digest Junior Pro-Am at the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands.

Three local golf associations held a fundraising contest to determine the 32 spots in the Junior Pro-Am. All the money raised by the junior golfers supports their respective local junior golf programs through Birdies for Charity.

After weeks of intense fundraising competition, the junior golfers were greeted at TPC River Highlands by nine PGA TOUR players: Joe Durant, Mark Brooks, Brad Adamonis, Mathias Gronberg, Dean Wilson, Glen Day, Ted Purdy and Bryce Molder, as well as John Bierkan, a PGA of America pro playing in the Travelers Championship.

“It kicked off with one of the junior golfers hitting his 3-wood to 4 feet and knocking in the putt for birdie, so I didn’t have much to do,” said TOUR player Mathias Gronberg. “I do think it is really nice for them to be able to come out and play with TOUR players. I know I would have liked to have something like this when I was young.”

In 2009, the Junior Pro-Am raised more than $20,000 for Birdies for Charity. This year, the junior golfers raised nearly $30,000 for Birdies for Charity. Similar to a walk-a-thon, Birdies for Charity participants make a pledge for each birdie made by the players in the field during the Travelers Championship.

Twenty-one junior golfers from the Connecticut Section PGA, eight golfers from The First Tee of Connecticut and three golfers from the Metropolitan PGA earned spots in the Junior Pro-Am through their fundraising efforts.

“The Travelers Championship has been very fortunate to partner with local junior golf programs across the region,” said Caitlin Champ, the Travelers Championship’s sponsorship manager. “Throughout the past two seasons, the junior participants have demonstrated their knowledge of the Birdies for Charity fundraising program and how it directly supports the development of junior golf in the Connecticut community.

“The Junior Pro-Am has tremendous potential,” added Champ. “We hope to continue to develop the Birdies for Charity program to continue our mission to benefit charities throughout Connecticut, while at the same time being able to grow the game of golf through junior involvement. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many of these juniors, and it has quickly become a highlight of our tournament week.

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