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Sloup finishes 17th in First Tee Open

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By Staff Report

South Brunswick High School senior Ashley Sloup was one of 23 First Tee invitees who advanced after two rounds to play in the final round Sunday, Sept. 29, in the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on Monterey Peninsula, Calif.

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Sloup shot 67-68-72 in the three-day tourney and finished 17th at 9-under par. Sloup played her first round at Del Monte and the final two rounds at Pebble Beach.

In all, 81 juniors began the tourney. Three other junior golfers from North Carolina also made the cut: Joshua Stockwell (Sandhills), who finished tied for fourth at 15 under; Amanda Levy (Triangle), who finished tied for 14th at -10, and Seth Lomison (Triad), who also finished tied for 14th.

Seven juniors had scores better than 70 for each of the three rounds. In the final round, 11 juniors shot better than 70.

Sloup was paired with pro Fred Couples in the Champions Tour event. He shot 68-71-76 — 215 and finished in a five-way tie for 18th in the field of 81 professional golfers. Defending champion Kirk Triplett won the tournament by two strokes, shooting 67-70-68 — 205. He was the only player in the 81-man field to shoot a bogey-free final round.

Triplett won $270,000 and also surpassed $1 million in season earnings for the first time in his Champions Tour career. Three strokes behind leader Tom Lehman entering the round, Triplett finished at 11-under par for his second career Champions Tour title. Last year, the three-time PGA TOUR winner overcame a four-shot deficit.

Triplett and his junior partner Michelle Xie, of The First Tee of Silicon Valley and Palo Alto, Calif., won the pro-junior portion of the tourney by two strokes.

Sloup also was a participant in the 10th Annual Coca-Cola Champions Challenge, in which First Tee chapters were the beneficiary of 50 percent of the money won by pros. Six teams of pros and juniors competed in the five-hole alternate shot competition on Sept. 26.

Sloup was paired with Triplett but they won no money. Jeff Sluman won $24,000 and Hale Irwin won $16,000.