Local teen selected to play in Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach

The First Tee of Phoenix – owned and operated by The Thunderbirds – is sending Patrick Fernandez of Surprise, Arizona to compete in the 2016 Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. The official Champions Tour event will be held September 13-18 and internationally televised on Golf Channel. Fernandez will join 80 other participants from other The First Tee chapters for the annual event, which is in its 13th year.

“At Nature Valley, we have great admiration for the mission of The First Tee,” said Carla Vernón at General Mills. “The program has such a meaningful impact on the lives of young people by strengthening important values like responsibility, judgment and perseverance. The opportunity for these teenagers to be selected as a part of The First Tee has the power to transform lives. The youngsters selected to play in the Nature Valley First Tee Open, including Patrick, have worked hard to prepare for this opportunity, and we are immensely proud to welcome them to this year’s tournament.”

Fernandez was selected by a national panel of judges who evaluated playing ability and comprehension of the life skills and character education learned through their involvement with The First Tee.

“We are thrilled for Patrick to be selected to participate in this year’s Nature Valley First Tee Open,” said Herman Lewkowitz, The First Tee of Phoenix Board Chairman. “He is an outstanding member of our chapter, extremely deserving of this honor and will represent us with enthusiasm and integrity.”

Involvement in The First Tee of Phoenix is a Fernandez family affair as Patrick and his three siblings are all members of the chapter. Roy Fernandez, Patrick’s father, is the owner/operator of Desert Mirage Golf Course – a The First Tee of Phoenix programming location. Patrick is an ACE-level participant and extremely involved in the chapter, participating in monthly tournaments, fun events, and he recently represented The First Tee of Phoenix at the 2016 Life Skills & Leadership Academy in Minneapolis. Fernandez will be a junior at Raymond S. Kellis High School next year.

“This is a dream come true,” said Fernandez. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to represent The First Tee of Phoenix at Pebble Beach. I’ve worked very hard to get to this position, and I’m excited to see what I can do at one of the world’s great courses.”

The juniors will be teamed with 81 PGA TOUR Champions players and 162 amateurs as they compete for the Pro-Junior title at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Poppy Hills Golf Course. Play will be conducted on these courses on Friday and Saturday, and Sunday’s final round will be played on Pebble Beach. Players committed to compete include two-time major championship winner John Daly, World Golf Hall of Fame member and 28-time PGA TOUR Champions winner Bernhard Langer, and defending champion Esteban Toledo.