The First Tee of Phoenix teens selected to play in PGA Tour Champions event

Michelle Koo (Submitted Photo)

The First Tee of Phoenix is sending four Arizona junior golfers to compete in the 2018 Pure Insurance Championship Impacting The First Tee, an official PGA Tour Champions event at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif., Sept. 24-30.

Chaparral High School student Jack Breidenbach, Cactus Shadows High School student Taylor Harvey, BASIS Scottsdale student Michelle Koo and Desert Vista High School student Mika Miyata all made the cut, a press release states.

The tournament, which the Monterey Peninsula Foundation hosts, will air internationally on the Golf Channel Sept. 28-30. This is only the second time in event history four participants were selected from the same chapter, according to a release.

The Pure Insurance Championship features 81 junior golfers from The First Tee are teamed with 81 PGA Tour Champions players and 162 amateurs during an official PGA Tour Champions tournament.

Breidenbach, Harvey, Koo and Miyata will be competing for the pro-junior title against the other participants from 22 other states. A national panel of judges selected the participants based on playing ability and application of the Nine Core Values and life skills learned through their involvement with The First Tee’s programs.

Those core values are honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.

“We are proud of the junior golfers selected to play at this year’s Pure Insurance Championship,” Keith Dawkins, chief executive officer of The First Tee, said in a prepared statement.

“These 81 teens, and the event, embody The First Tee’s beliefs around the importance of fan engagement, diversity and inclusion and having a sense of civic responsibility that is expressed through our Nine Core Values.”

The junior field was announced this morning on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive. The show included surprises from PGA Tour winner Jason Gore, Web.com Tour member Cameron Champ, Arizona State football coach Herm Edwards, Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais and Golf Channel’s Charlie Rymer.

“We are proud to be a part of such a prestigious event that supports so many deserving young men and women from The First Tee throughout the country,” Katherine Frattarola, chief marketing officer of the Pure Group of Insurance Companies, said in a prepared statement.

“They are what make this tournament so special, and it’s humbling to be a part of something that has such a profound impact on their lives both on and off the course.”

Jack Breidenbach (Submitted Photo)

As of Wednesday, July 11, players committed to compete in the PURE Insurance Championship include defending champion and World Golf Hall of Fame member Bernhard Langer, as well as fellow World Golf Hall of Fame members Colin Montgomerie, Mark O’Meara and Sandy Lyle. Players have until Friday, September 21 to commit, with additional commitments to be announced in the coming months.

Breidenbach has been a member of The First Tee of Phoenix for nearly seven years. He was awarded 2017 First Tee of Phoenix Male Player of the Year and won the 2018 Pure Insurance Putt-a-thon. He enjoys cooking, playing chess, watching sports and has aspirations to play Division 1 golf and study Finance.

Taylor Harvey (Submitted Photo)

Harvey has been a member of The First Tee of Phoenix for eight years. Some First Tee highlights include caddying on the 16th Hole at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, serving as an “On Course Reporter” at the 2016 WMPO Tournament and winning multiple junior girls division tournaments.

In 2017, she was selected for the Par 3 National Championship in Richmond, Va. and this year she will attend the John Deere Drive Your Future Academy and the Joe Louis Barrow Jr. Life Skills and Leadership Academy.

She attended the Andy Harvey Broadcast Journalism Workshop the last two summers in pursuit of her passion for Sports Broadcasting; her elected major as she works toward a collegiate career.

Michelle Koo (Submitted Photo)

Koo has been part of the First Tee program for nine years. As an Ace member, she participates in monthly golf tournaments and volunteers at various First Tee programming locations.

In 2017, she attended three First Tee National Opportunities — The Perfect Sense Unified Challenge, the Life Skills and Leadership Academy and National Par 3 Championship.

She was the champion of the 2017 First Tee of Phoenix Open Championship and was recognized as the First Tee of Phoenix Female Player of the Year.

Along with her achievements in golf, she excels in her rigorous academic program and as a member of her school’s National Honors Society and the president of her school’s Key Club.

She values the importance of serving and giving back to her community and school and is delighted to attend the prestigious PURE Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach.

Mika Miyata (Submitted Photo)

Miyata has been involved with The First Tee of Phoenix for four years. She was selected to “Practice with the Pros” at the 2016 WMPO and served as an on course reporter at the 2017 WMPO.

She was awarded a First Tee national opportunity at the USGA “Learning Science Through Golf” STEM Academy. She has made many good friends through The First Tee program and enjoys seeing them in monthly tournaments and at The First Tee of Phoenix’s annual Kloenne Cup Invitational.

Her goal is to play collegiate golf and study Business Economics/Marketing.

“These kids have worked so hard to be selected to compete in this prestigious event,” Kevin Terry, executive director of The First Tee of Phoenix, said in a prepared statement.

“To have one member from our chapter selected would be an incredible honor. To see four deserving young athletes get the chance to play one of the world’s best golf courses is truly remarkable. We couldn’t be more proud, and we wish the best of luck to all of them.”

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