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First Tee concludes Summer Tour

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By Mike Gildea
Special to The Beacon
The First Tee’s mini-version of the FedEx Cup, the Summer Tour, drew to a close Aug. 13-14 following championship rounds at hosts Ocean Ridge Golf Club and the Thistle Golf Club.
The final two rounds concluded a summer-long, nine-round tournament. Twenty-five young golfers from area high schools and middle schools participated. The competition was tough and the weather was hot but the players persevered. Along the way they fine-tuned their golf skills under the guidance of Terry Mauney, former PGA and Senior Tour player and now program director of The first Tee of Brunswick County.
The battle for bragging rights began in late June with Monday rounds at Oyster Bay and Farmstead. The middle schoolers played nine-hole contests while the high school players went the 18-hole distance. July and early August rounds followed at Oak Island, The Lakes, Brunswick Plantation and Lockwood Folly. Inclement weather rained out the round scheduled at Cape Fear National.
At tourney’s end, West Brunswick graduate and Waccamaw Conference first-teamer Greg Hensley beat Holden Patterson by a single point. Hensley now attends Campbell University as a freshman and Patterson just started at Coastal Carolina University in the Professional Golf Management program. Finishing just behind Patterson was his younger brother, Landon, a recent freshman transfer to West Brunswick, followed by two other West players: Chris Clendenin and Zack Flaccavento.
Among high school girls, Cameryn Smith, the top player for the Lady Trojans, won that bracket.  
The middle school competition was just as intense. First Tee Eagle level player Tucker Vaughan barely out-pointed fellow Eagle competitor Nick Caison with Jayla Rogers—the only young lady in the group—and Austin Aycock close behind.
It was again a hugely successful Summer Tour. The kids had fun and a throng of parents proudly looked on and tracked their progress hole by hole at every match as gallery participants. As always, the Summer Tour wouldn’t happen without dedicated volunteers led by tour “Commissioner” Scott Caron along with First Tee moms Kay Patterson and Shannon Parks. The First Tee thanks each of the courses and its golf directors who allowed all of the Summer Tour kids to play free.