.

Local Kid Golfers Win First-Ever Junior PGA For 13 & Under

Golfin' super-stars — 13 East Bay boys, plus 2 Livermore coaches — sweep 2012 national tourney, make golf headlines.

When Livermore golf pro Andy Nisbet was first approached a few months ago by PGA officials regarding a new nationwide tournament idea for kids 13 and younger, he signed up thinking "it would be something fun for the kids to do."

Little did he know that his team — 13 East Bay boys ages 9 to 13 — would emerge as the country's first-ever 2012 PGA Junior League National champs and make golf-industry headlines.

"I knew we could win," said player Alex Chin, 13, an eighth-grader at Pleasanton Middle School. "We had a really good bond."    

Nisbet, director of instruction at Las Positas Golf Course in Livermore, assembled his team from students at his GRIP Golf Academy, who hail from cities including Pleasanton, Fremont, Danville and Dublin.

With their parents, team captain Nisbet and assistant coach Tony Guerrero enthusiastically in tow, the kids played — and won — through eight local matches, Northern California play-offs, followed by regional tournaments in Los Angeles, where they played in blistering heat.

"I think it was 108 degrees," Chin said.

PGA Junior League Golf copied a Little League-format for its new tourney concept, for players 13 and under, with team-vs-team scrambles, and dubbed it the World Series of Junior Golf.

After winning matches at the local, area and regional levels, "Team California" won it all at nationals last month — the Junior PGA crown at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club in Lemont, Ill., outside Chicago. 

"The kids did a really good job," said Nisbet, who detailed the road to victory on his website, with a YouTube video and racked up some 700 Twitter fans, to boot.

These winning kids and coaches got a dose of media attention, as well, featured by NBC, the Golf Channel, Golf Week and PGA Magazine.

For player Chin, "the best part of winning was how happy everyone felt."

As for the media spotlight? That felt a little strange, he said.

Nisbet's team, in short, beat out 2,000 other players on 120 teams from states including Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona, California.

But most impressive, he said, was the way his golfers related and played as a team in the scramble-format and came out winners. 

"All the families are really close. We all had nicknames," Nisbet said. "We had a really good time."

Team California players include:

  • Alex Chin, 13, Pleasanton;
  • Brendan Hopkins, 13, Danville;
  • Noah Woolsey, 13, Pleasanton;
  • Travis Mitchell, 13, Alamo;
  • Kirabo Reed, 13, Brentwood;
  • Hayden Hui, 13, Dublin;
  • Bradley Lu, 12, Monte Sereno;
  • Alan Chen, 11, Fremont;
  • Drew Kim, 9, Pleasanton;
  • Michael Shaw, 10, Pleasanton;
  • Jared Khoo, 11, Danville;
  • Ethan Chen, 11, Fremont;
  • Matt Lloyd, 13, San Jose.

"All these kids are really talented," Nisbet said. "I've been lucky to have them."

Nisbet initially jumped onboard the tournament offer not knowing how his players would stack up to other junior golfers nationwide.

"It just so happened," he said, "we stacked up pretty well."

The winners cup for the 2012 PGA Junior League Golf Championship is on display at the Las Positas Golf Course shop at 917 Clubhouse Drive in Livermore.

A video highlighting the Championship play and awards ceremonies can be viewed here.

Cindy Eckel October 12, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Wow! Great job! Congratulations!
Sally Blaze October 12, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Congratulations! And enjoy many more years of winning golf!! Thanks for representing our local community so well, both on and off the course.
Jenny Wright October 12, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Great job Andy, Tony and Team! We are so proud of you! What an accomplishment to be proud of! Way to represent GRIP, Las Positas Golf Course, and California!

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something