Campbell golfer gets invite to famed Pebble Beach
by Adam Carrington
acarrington@mdjonline.com
August 03, 2013 12:36 AM | 2043 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As he took up golf, Vitthal Parker became affiliated with the First Tee organization, which helps young players see exposure to the sport they might not otherwise gain. That affiliation has paid off for the rising Campbell senior, who has been invited to play alongside a Champions Tour pro at one of the sport’s celebrated venues — Pebble Beach.
<BR>Photo special to the MDJ
As he took up golf, Vitthal Parker became affiliated with the First Tee organization, which helps young players see exposure to the sport they might not otherwise gain. That affiliation has paid off for the rising Campbell senior, who has been invited to play alongside a Champions Tour pro at one of the sport’s celebrated venues — Pebble Beach.
Photo special to the MDJ
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Campbell golfer Vitthal Parker wasn’t having his greatest day on the course one afternoon while playing a course in Richmond, Va.

But the rising senior received an email on his phone that changed both his game and his mood.

It was a notification from First Tee of Atlanta, informing him that he was invited to compete in connection with the First Tee Open, a Champions Tour event that will be held Sept. 27-29 in Pebble Beach, Calif.

The event will be held on two courses, Pebble Beach Golf Links and Del Monte Golf Course, and will be televised nationally by the Golf Channel.

“After I found out, I started playing great,” Parker said about how his round in Virginia turned around.

Parker will arrive at the famed Pacific Coast golf community a couple of days before the tournament. He will attend orientation with the other junior players invited before playing a couple of practice rounds. Afterwards, Parker and the other young players will be paired with Champions Tour players before the tournament begins.

Among the professionals committed to play the 50-and-over tournament are former Masters winners Ben Crenshaw, Bernhard Langer Sandy Lyle and Craig Stadler, Champions Tour mainstay Hale Irwin and two players with Cobb County ties, Larry Nelson and Bob Tway.

A member of the First Tee organization, which works to help young golfers who may not otherwise have the chance to be exposed to the game, Parker had twice applied for this opportunity and appeared to be more polished the second time.

“You have to write a series of essays on life skills, golf skills and your future of golf,” Parker said. “Then you go through an interview process with the judges and have to answer questions like, ‘What defines success?’ and, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ You also have to send a resume to show you have solid golf scores.

“It would be great to play with any of those (Champions Tour) guys out there.”

Parker was finally accepted two weeks ago, after going through the interview process in mid-June.

Parker first joined First Tee upon his mother’s recommendation and developed the game through the program. He had yet to pick up a club but said he “found golf to be fascinating and an interesting sport to try.”

“I believe golf is the hardest sport possible, but I picked it up quickly and became serious about it later on,” Parker said. “I picked it up by watching people swing. Then, you create your own habits — good and bad — and then you create a swing that is yours.”

During his eight years with First Tee, Parker has worked as an on-course reporter at The Tour Championship in Atlanta and assisted with coaching younger golfers in the program.

Parker can drive the ball 315 yards on average, and he also putts well. He recently recorded a 360-yard drive and finished sixth at a junior event in Forsyth.

The part of his game Parker’s working on is his short game to better scramble for par when he misses the green.

When Parker isn’t on the golf course, he plans to be Campbell’s student body president this year. He’s also a community service volunteer with Woodland Ridge Assisted Living Home and Nickajack Elementary School.
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