Telling First Tee of Greater Sacramento members to pick one highlight from their experience at the Champions Tour First Tee Open last week was like telling them they get to play one hole at Pebble Beach.
The highlight or hole was going to be great, but so was their frustration because they knew there was so much more.
But being the good kids they are, each narrowed their focus. It helped that each had just played at least two full rounds at Pebble, so they were in a conciliatory mood.
Emily Laskin's highlight came Thursday, the day before the tournament, when she teamed with Scott Simpson to win $8,000 for the Sacramento First Tee chapter.
Playing in the Coca-Cola Challenge, an alternate-shot skins game with six pro-junior teams, Laskin and Simpson birdied Pebble Beach's No. 18 to win two skins in the exhibition charity event worth $4,000 apiece. Laskin's laser-like 5-iron into the wind from 140 yards set up Simpson's 10-foot birdie putt.
"It's an amazing feeling to be able to give back," said Laskin, a 16-year-old from Elk Grove who has been a TFTGS member since she was 5. "It means a lot to me, and I know it means a lot to the chapter."
TFTGS will use part of the money to fund an afternoon outreach program for kids living in transitional housing in partnership with LifeSTEPS, executive director Angie Dixon said.
Laskin partnered with Tom Wargo in the tournament. Although the pair failed to make the pro-junior cut to play in Sunday's final round, they had a blast, Laskin said.
"We joked that he was the original TW," she said. She didn't say if they meant Tiger Woods or Tom Watson.
Cameron Champ's highlight also came on Pebble's No. 18.
Champ and Steve Pate teamed to share the pro-junior lead after 36 holes. But what Champ will remember most is not whether he won or lost he finished second but that Mackray Champ, his grandfather, was at his side Sunday and sharing the experience.
"For me and my grandfather to walk down 18 the last day, that was special," said Champ, 17, from Antelope.
Mackray, Cameron's 71-year-old caddie for all six rounds last week, is African American.
"Back when he was a kid, he wasn't able to play golf," Champ said. "He wasn't even able to get near this caliber of course."
Kit Carson and Hal Sutton teamed to finish fourth among the 78 pro-junior teams. While Sutton was a class act, Carson said, one other senior golfer made a particular impression.
"I met Arnold Palmer," Carson said. "I shook his hand and introduced myself. That was pretty awesome; I'm not going to lie."
Palmer trumped Pebble, which Carson, an 18-year-old from Galt, played for the first (and second and third) time.
Kelsey Ulep and Craig Stadler teamed to finish fifth, giving TFTGS members three of the top five places. Despite Stadler's dour appearance, Ulep said "the Walrus" helped her keep a positive attitude.
Ulep, 16, from Rocklin, was taken most, though, by a fellow First Tee member. Jake Olson, 15, of Huntington Beach, who plays despite fully losing his sight two years ago, spoke at one of the pre-tournament gatherings and to Ulep.
"I was very inspired and he really touched my heart," she said. "Normally, it was 'I birdied this hole.' He spoke about perseverance."
Ulep's only disappointment is that from this year forward, juniors can participate in the First Tee Open only once. She spent the past two days telling her First Tee buddies who haven't played to make qualifying a priority.