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Junior Tour of Northern California Players at the First Tee Open


NINE OUT OF 14 MADE THE CUT: • Joshua McCarthy (T-2) • Katie Horsford (T-2) • Logan Lowe (4) • Anna Zhou (T-5) • EmmaReyes (8) • Bryan Baumgarten (T-10) • MabelWong (T-10) • Kylie Fong (T-12) • Nikhil Swaminathan (T-15) ALSO PLAYED: • Jack Jaffe (69-67) • Brittany O’Bryant (68-68) • Michael Mahlberg (67-71) • Kayli Lujan (72-67) • Paige Phillips (71-71)


Jack Jaffe made the Golf Channel broadcast when he hit the flag with his 5-iron on the 12th hole at Pebble Beach. And smile he does. Before Jaffe


teed off on the first hole of the tournament Friday at Poppy Hills, a grinning Spittle walked over and put a big, comforting arm on his shoulder. “The kids are scared to death on the first tee,” Spittle said. “You just try to get them to relax and breathe. “We were all there once upon a


time.” A slightly more at-ease Jaffe found


the fairway, and they were off. The 2-handicap made pars on the final 10 holes at Poppy Hills, and finished with a flurry on the front nine at Pebble Beach. Jaffe even made the Golf Channel


telecast during his Saturday round at Pebble Beach, when his tee shot on the 180-yard 12th hole smacked the flag on the fly. It was one of the first shots Jaffe’s grandmother saw when she tuned in to watch from Minneapolis. But so much of the tournament is about what doesn’t make it onto the Golf Channel. Jaffe survived an inter- view process reminiscent of applying to college, earning one of 81 spots in the Class of 2014 field. The Gunn (Palo Alto) High


School senior is ACE certified through the First Tee, akin to reach- ing the status of Eagle Scout. A


volunteer project at the First Tee morphed into Jaffe creating his own business called “Recycled Golf Gear by Jack,” which has led to more than 1,000 club donations. Jaffe then orga- nized those clubs into at least 50 full sets (complete with bags) to give away to juniors and adults. Jaffe is also one of the most active


Youth on Course members, logging more than 100 rounds at Palo Alto Municipal, plus courses throughout Northern California, and even partner YOC courses in Palm Springs. “All Jack would do is play golf all


day long on YOC courses,” said Jack’s father, Bruce. “We saved enough on YOC courses to hopefully pay for his college tuition. I don’t know if he would have gotten where he is with- out Youth on Course.” During that time, Jaffe has


transformed from a 10-year-old trying to break 90 to a 17-year-old breaking par. “The kids are so much better than when we were kids,” Spittle said. “They get to hit it farther than we did. It’s neat to see that raw talent and enthusiasm.” Jaffe was equally in awe. He soaked in hitting balls next to Tom Kite, stopping for 20 minutes


just to watch how the 1992 U.S. Open champion practices. He played a practice round with


1996 U.S. Open champion Steve Jones, and listened to Tour tales of a young Tiger Woods. He absorbed every moment of his


Wednesday practice round at Pebble Beach, trying to find the spot Woods hit from on No. 6 during the 2000 U.S. Open, wondering how Kite could hit a 5-iron on the petite No. 7, replicating Tom Watson’s chip on No. 17, and trying to sneak his drive along the jagged coastline on No. 18. But equally as memorable are the dinners throughout the week, which included a private Colbie Caillat concert, deep conversations with their pros, and the Thursday night moti- vational speeches on the nine core values of the First Tee. Among the guest speakers this year


were Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young and Captain Sully Sullenberger. “I think Thursday night is the best night on the Champions Tour,” Spittle said. “I look forward to it more than any other.” The same can be said for the rest


of the First Tee Open week—for everyone involved.


FALL 2014 / NCGA.ORG / 49


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