Golf to Paradise – Champions Challenge: Players

The First Tee Naples/Collier

Kelly Newbrough

16 years old

Junior, Barron Collier High School

Kelly Newbrough began playing golf at the age of 6.   She joined The First Tee of Naples/Collier at the ager of 7. Over the years, Kelly has completed the first four levels of The First Tee and is currently at the ACE Level.  She attended The First Tee Life Skills and Leadership Academy in San Diego in the summer of 2014 as well as represented The First Tee at the Florida State Team Championship over the past 3 years and played in the CME Pro-Am this past fall.   Because of The First Tee Kelly has participated in many volunteer opportunities, made lifelong friendships while learning positive life lessons along the way.  During her elementary and middle school years she competed for her school golf team through The First Tee.  For her high school golf team Kelly was the first freshman to win the conference, won regionals as a sopho9more and has been a part of a record breaking high school team.  Kelly has been playing in tournament golf since the age of 10.  Kelly’s future goals include continuing her golf career in college.


“After being in The First Tee of Naples/Collier for nine years, learning more about golf skills and the 9 Core Values, I am very excited to share my community with other First Tee participants and make new friends who are also participating in the Golf to Paradise – Champions Challenge.”


Peter George

16 years old

Junior, Gulf Coast High School

I have been playing golf ever since I can remember, then a few years before that. It has been an intregral part of my life with not only the countless hours I have put in after school but also the lessons I have learned along the way.  I started playing competitively through The First Tee in third grade and ever since then I have been playing in more and more events.  Persevering has led me to win several tournaments and this past year my high school team was a contender at the state golf tournament.  I learned about the 9 Core Values through The First Tee which has helped me in all aspects of my life, on the golf course and off.  During my years participating in The First Tee, I have met some of my best friends and made many priceless memories.  The past summer I was selected to attend The First Tee Life Skills and Leadership Academy in Blaine Minnesota.  Over the years I have also been selected to represent our chapter in the Florida State Junior Team Championship Tournament in Orlando.  Throughout all of this, The First Tee has been there to support me and lead me to opportunities I could only dream of.


“It is a tremendous honor to be one of the host participants for this year’s Golf to Paradise – Champions Challenge. Thank you for this opportunity”.


The First Tee of Philadelphia

Gabriella Anna Morganti

18 years old

Senior, Academy of Notre Dame

I have been playing golf for as long as I can remember! I play for my club’s team as well as playing in events through the Philadelphia Junior Tour. I am also the captain of my high school golf team which has been undefeated for six years now.


“I am so honored that I was selected to participate in the 2016 Golf to Paradise! I am really looking forward to meeting and sharing this experience with participants from other First Tee Chapters”


The First Tee of West Michigan

Andrew DeYoung

18 years old

Senior, Kenowa Hills High School

Andrew began playing golf at a young age with his dad. After his father passed away at the age of 13, his mom enrolled him into The First Tee of West Michigan, with the hope of finding someone to help him navigate life. Andrew’s golf talent soon became evident to the staff at The First Tee.  In addition, his maturity and character developed significantly while in The First Tee. Andrew is currently the starting goalie on his high school’s varsity hockey team. He also serves as the team’s captain, and credits his leadership skills to his participation and experiences in The First Tee. Andrew works at a local country club, and plans to attend Ferris State University next fall for PGA Golf Management.

“I am so excited to travel to Naples and represent The First Tee of West Michigan. Having participated in last year’s event, I know a bit more about what to expect and cannot wait to return! I’m very grateful for this opportunity.”

Dominic Luciani

14 years old

Freshman, East Grand Rapids High School

Golf was just a hobby for Dominic until he was enrolled in The First Tee of West Michigan two and a half years ago. He credits The First Tee with the development of his leadership skills and the improvement of his golf game.

This past summer Dominic worked as a caddie at a local country club and attended The First Tee’s Nancy Tennant Golf & Leadership Academy in Benton Harbor.  This spring, he will try out for his high school golf team.

“It means so much to be chosen to represent The First Tee of West Michigan in Naples, Florida. I know this is a great opportunity…I have been preparing for months for this tournament!”


First Tee of Chicago

Trevor Britton

16 years old

Junior, Warren Township High School

I started playing golf when I was 8 years old. My dad introduced me to the game while at a driving range. He taught me all the basics of how to play the game. From there, I began practicing at home and on the golf course. My dad saw how quickly I caught on to the game and signed me up for the First Tee Program. Shortly after I joined, I was mentored by Darryl Stackhouse, Education Director/ PGA Professional, of the First Tee. He told me how talented I was and encourages me to continue to pursue golf. Because of that, I now play varsity golf for all 3 years at my high school.

“I feel honored and privileged to be apart of this event, supporting the First Tee where I got my start”.


Abdel Raoul

15 years old

Freshman, Mount Carmel High School

My name is Abdel Raoul and I am a 15 year old freshman at Mount Carmel High School, in Chicago. I play on the varsity golf team and to make the team, I shot a 79 at the Glenwoodie Golf Club (68.3/117/5988 yds.) which cinched my spot as the second bag on varsity.

I have been playing golf for eight years and have been a member of the First Tee of Greater Chicago for about three years and currently at Eagle level. I am striving to reach the Ace level. I have played with the Bob-O-Links Junior Golf League for seven years and have been a participant in the Midwest Golf Association Junior tournaments for the past four years. I was on the PGA Junior league Chicago team for the summer and fall of 2014. I also play in Illinois Junior Golf Association tournaments in the summer.

This past summer, I participated in the First Tee of Benton Harbor Leadership Academy, where I was awarded the Leadership Award and Top Chef Award for my jerk chicken with mango chutney.


The First Tee of Northwest Arkansas

Kendall Vermilion

17 years old

Senior, Fayetteville High School

Kendall’s golf career, though very short, has grown quickly in its duration.  It all began when a friend introduced her to the sport in late winter of her sophomore year. Her father was able to teach her the fundamentals but soon she needed minute fixes that transferred her over to a swing coach.  This brought her to The First Tee of Northwest Arkansas. Here she was able to build friendships and work on her game, all while having fun and developing self-confidence. By the time tryouts for the high school team came around, Kendall was ready and made the team for her junior year. The subsequent year, she was deemed team captain and led her team to the State Championship where they fell short of advancing to the finals, but she and a teammate were able to advance as individuals. In the process of choosing the university she will attend to pursue her education in meteorology and atmospheric sciences, Kendall hopes to continue playing golf at the collegiate level.

Quote:  Setting my goal to achieve Ace status, never imagining it would take me to The First Tee Champions Challenge in Naples, I’m elated to be one of the chosen.


Ethan Loafman

14 years old

Freshman, Rogers High School

Hi, my name is Ethan Loafman and I’m 14 years old. I enjoy golfing with my dad and my friends from the First Tee. I have been golfing ever since I was four years-old and have been participating in the First Tee activities for three years, one year in UT and two years here in NWA. In the two years in the NWA, I have earned my Birdie, Eagle, and Ace certification and am now working on my Ace certification. I was on the Rogers High School Golf Team last fall as the only freshmen. My golf career has been my top priority for the last two years and my goal is to earn a golf scholarship to a university.

I am honored to represent The First Tee of Northwest Arkansas at the 2016 First Tee Champions Challenge. This opportunity is a once in a life time experience. The First Tee is an amazing organization that allows me to learn more about the game of golf and improve my golf skills but more importantly it has taught me that the Nine Core Values can be used not only in golf but in my everyday life.


First Tee of Pittsburgh

Joseph Auth

18 years old

Senior, Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School

I began golfing around the age of 5 or 6 when I lived in Pensacola, Florida. I moved to Pittsburgh in 2004 and began playing in local tournaments a few years later. I haven’t won any tournaments though. I played on my high school’s JV team all of my freshman year and most of my sophomore year. I finished my sophomore year on varsity and played on the varsity for my junior and senior year. I would like to play golf in college but who knows if it will happen.

“The Golf to Paradise – First Tee Champions Challenge will provide me a great opportunity to learn new things and make new friends.”

Ted Ritts

15 years old

Sophomore, Woodland Hills High School

I am a Sophomore at Woodland Hills High School with a 3.9 GPA. I have been on the varsity golf team for two years and will be the team captain in my Junior year. I have been golfing with The First Tee of Pittsburgh since I was seven years old. I also enjoy coaching the younger golfers in The First Tee clinics. I strive to get better at golf every time I play. I play golf as much as I possibly can, to better my game and because golf is my passion.


Being invited to Golf to Paradise – First Tee Champions Challenge gives me the opportunity to meet other First Tee participants from across the country, to play a top-ranked course, and to watch a professional golf tournament


The First Tee of the Triangle

Ashley Kim

16 years old

Junior,Durham Academy

Golf Career Bio: I started golf because of The First Tee when I did introductory classes at the age of 13 and advanced from Par to now Ace. The First Tee welcomed me with open arms and showed me how much fun the game of golf is. I developed the confidence to play on the Varsity Girls Golf Team in 8th Grade. Last year, I made the TISAC All-Conference Team and received NCISAA All-State. Now, I am a captain as a junior and have recently received TISAC Conference Player of the Year and NCISAA All-State again. Because of such a strong love for the game, I hope to play golf as I take on another stage of my life in college.


“When I was offered this opportunity to travel to Naples for the First Tee Champions Challenge, I was so grateful and extremely excited. I have never traveled so far for any golf tournament and I cannot think of a better first time than to be surrounded by people who support me 100%. I cannot wait for some golf, sun, warm weather, and fun.”


Clayson Good

13 years old

8thGrade, Githens Middle School

Clayson is a straight-A student and a member of the National Junior Honor Society at Githens Middle School in Durham, North Carolina. He enjoys many sports such as lacrosse, tennis, ultimate frisbee, basketball, and long-distance biking. His favorite sport though is golf. Clayson started playing golf at the age of two with a plastic set of clubs. He got his first set of real clubs a few years later and his love of golf grew. He started playing tournaments right away with the U.S. Kids organization and continues playing tournaments with multiple golf tours throughout North Carolina. He currently is an Ace level participant of The First Tee of the Triangle. He had his first junior coaching experience with The First Tee of the Triangle this fall assisting with the Little Linksters class. Clayson has also volunteered for the The First Tee of the Traingle at the SAS Championship, the Rex Hospital Open and A Night FORE Champions, which is the main fundraiser for the year. He uses the nine core values on and off the course and appreciates all that he has learned through The First Tee.


Quote: “I’m very excited to be representing The First Tee of the Triangle at the Champions Challenge. I look forward to meeting and playing with other First Tee participants from around the country.”


The First Tee Roanoke Valley

Grace Huffman

15 years old

Sophomore, Rockbridge County High

She has been playing golf since she was six years old, and has been a participant in the First Tee since she was 11.  A two-year starter on the RCHS golf team, Grace participated in the Virginia State Girls High School Golf Championship as a freshman and was named to the All-District and All-Conference Teams during her sophomore year.  In 2015 she qualified for the Regional Drive, Chip and Putt competition at the Congressional Country Club.  Grace has had top finishes in tournaments in the Roanoke Valley Junior Golf Association, the Virginia State Golf Association, the College Prep Tour, and the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls Tour.  In addition to golf, Grace is active in various clubs in school such as Interact and Young Life, and plays on the RCHS girl’s lacrosse team.  In her spare time Grace enjoys spending time with her friends, two dogs and a cat, and playing golf against her older brother, Cole.

“I am really excited to have been chosen by The First Tee of Roanoke Valley to attend ACE Group Classic in Naples.  Not only is it exciting to play with the Champions Tour players, but I also get to play with my best friend and teammate Katherine Bowles.  Naples, Florida is a beautiful place and much warmer than Lexington, Virginia in February!”

Katherine Bowles

17 year old

Senior, Rockbridge County High School

She has played on the high school varsity co-ed golf team since her freshman year, received the Coach’s Award in 2014, and was a co-captain of the team this past season.  She joined The First Tee in 2008 and is currently working on completing her Eagle Level Certification. She represented The First Tee of Roanoke Valley in the First Tee Scramble at the Greenbrier Classic this past summer.  Being able to travel to Naples to be a participant in the First Tee Champions Challenge is a great honor for her.  Katherine said, “The First Tee has given me so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had and helped me realize how much I love the game of golf.”  She is extremely proud to be a part of the program as well as represent The First Tee of Roanoke Valley in Naples.