A week to remember for two Tyler area teens


The week of September 18 – 24 will be a week that two local youth golfers will never forget. Annaka Watts, sophomore at Robert E. Lee High School, and Walker LaRue, senior at Whitehouse High School participated in the 2017 PURE Insurance Championship, an official PGA TOUR Champions event held at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, California. Watts and LaRue were selected by a national panel of judges based on their playing ability and comprehension of the life skills and core values learned through their involvement with The First Tee of Greater Tyler.

Watts played alongside pro Tom Jenkins; LaRue played alongside pro Miguel Angel Martin. Their teams also included two different amateurs from the business world on each of the first two days of the tournament. The event was televised nationally on The Golf Channel. Both Watts and LaRue finished 8 under par and tied for 32nd place overall.

Watts was able to visit with Estaban Toledo at breakfast. “That was pretty cool. He’s pretty fun.” said Watts.

Of his visit to Pebble Beach with The First Tee, LaRue said, “This place is beautiful. I love the people out here. They are very nice and they are very kind to us in everything they do for us.”

“I really enjoyed seeing our participants display their best game and character in front of PGA Tour legends and business executives. They really set the bar high for future participants to get selected,” said Christian Sarran, Program Director for The First Tee of Greater Tyler who attended the PURE Insurance Championship with Watts and LaRue.

The First Tee of Greater Tyler is one of 155 chapters around the country and in select international locations. Serving the Tyler area since 2011, more than 10,500 young people have been impacted in 2017 through chapter programs and The First Tee National School Program, which is in 4 school districts and up to 30 local elementary schools. The golf-based programs are focused on building character through The First Tee Nine Core Values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.

To learn more about The First Tee of Greater Tyler, visit www.thefirstteegt.org.


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