BROOKLINE, Massachusetts – First Tee Massachusetts shines at the 122nd U.S. Open as close to 40 participants from all over the Bay State had the opportunity to walk as standard bearers throughout the week. The legendary week started out with practice round runs for each participant helping them get a feel for what the remainder of the week would look like, but the fun didn’t stop there.
To start the week, 10-year-old Kensie Carrol had the chance to work alongside golf channel’s Kira Dixon, as an on-course reporter. Kensie got to experience what work is like for Dixon by interviewing Jon Rahm and Beau Hossler. Turns out, Kensie is a natural!
The remainder of the week was filled with nothing but smiles for First Tee participants especially for Conor Olsen. Conor, who just finished up chemo treatments two weeks prior to the tournament, walked with Sam Burns, Andrew Novak, Andrew Beckler and Scottie Scheffler during Monday’s steamy practice round. The four got to know Conor throughout the nine-hole round and were amazed by his resilience. Scheffler took the time to give Conor a signed ball and glove, thanking him for being out there in the heat. The week got even better for Conor as he found out the follow evening that he was cancer free before he returned to The Country Club to suit up again and walk another 18 holes.
“Being able to provide so many of our participants with a once in a lifetime experience like this was incredible” said Allyson Mollung, Program Manager for First Tee – Massachusetts. “These kids work hard in school, and they work hard in our classes, so to be able to celebrate the start of summer with them at the U.S. Open was a lot of fun. I don’t know a lot of our older participants quite yet, so this gave me a chance to walk with them during the week and get to know them. The best part of the week was seeing the pros interact with our participants. They showed the kids kindness and just how grateful they were to have them out there throughout the week.”
Many of the participants were paired with some exciting groups throughout the week. Ace level Participant Kyzar Joshi, had the honor of being standard bearer for the leading group, Will Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick, during Sunday’s Championship round. “It was an experience of a lifetime!” said Kyzar “Watching the pros up close was an excellent learning opportunity. Especially Sunday, where I watched first-hand how the leaders maintained their composure despite the high stakes.”
Not only were participants able to volunteer as standard bearers but thanks to Sentry Insurance’s generous donation, more than 100 First Tee – Massachusetts families were able to attend Monday and Tuesday’s practice rounds. “We are so grateful to Sentry Insurance for their incredibly generous donation of Practice Round tickets for the 2022 U.S. Open!” said Kyle Harris, Director of Operations for First Tee Massachusetts “Special thanks to Stephanie Smith, Chief Brand & Marketing Officer for Sentry for going above and beyond to spend time with us!”
For those who were not able to attend the U.S. Open, they did get to enjoy some fun activities over at Fisher Hill Reservoir. The Junior Activation site was sponsored by the USGA and First Tee National that included a Game Changers Pavilion, shaved ice by locals at Hawaiian Jims, a Cicso closest to the pin contest, a Cisco 4D Fan Experience, Trophy and photo opportunities, a seating area to relax and watch the championship broadcast, and oversized outdoor games.
This was an experience that these young people will remember for the rest of their lives and they are already asking when the U.S. Open will return to Massachusetts. First Tee Massachusetts could not be prouder of the way everyone represented the chapter both on an off site throughout the week. For more information on First Tee Massachusetts please visit firstteemass.org and follow @firstteemass on Facebook and Instagram.