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K-State Today

September 24, 2014



Two students in the First Tee of Manhattan travel to Champions Golf Tour event

By Bernie Haney

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The First Tee of Manhattan is sending Drew Casper and Pierson McAtee, students at Manhattan High School who also are enrolled in at least one K-State course, to compete in the 2014 Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, an official Champions Tour event, Sept. 26-28 and televised internationally on Golf Channel.

Casper and McAtee will join 79 other participants from The First Tee chapters for the event, which is in its 11th year.

"Nature Valley is proud to be associated with this event, and thrilled to see these juniors get the call of a lifetime," said Joe Ens, vice president of marketing at General Mills. "The First Tee is doing incredible work helping young people learn important life lessons like the Nine Core Values. We look forward to welcoming Drew, Pierson and the full junior field at this year's tournament."

Casper and McAtee were 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. More than 150 applications were submitted.

Champions Tour players committed to play include two-time Nature Valley First Tee Open winner and defending champion Kirk Triplett, Charles Schwab Cup contenders Jay Haas and Kenny Perry and a number of World Golf Hall of Fame members.

Casper is one of The First Tee of Manhattan's first three ACE level participants, and works as an assistant coach for the program. A member of The First Tee of Manhattan since August 2006, he has participated in the chapter's 2011 and 2013 Golf Marathon fundraisers, raising $2,000 for the organization. He has been on the MHS varsity golf team since his freshman year. A Youth Court volunteer, Casper also is a member of the Applied Business Development group, Earth Club and Tribe pep club.

McAtee also is one of The First Tee of Manhattan's first three ACE level participants, and he, too, works as an assistant coach for the chapter. A member of the Manhattan chapter since August 2006, he has participated in the chapter's Golf Marathon fundraisers the last three years, raising over $5,000 through his efforts. He is the MHS varsity basketball team's team captain and a member of the school's Chamber Choir. An honor roll student, McAtee also belongs to the Business Professionals of America, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Spanish Club.

Casper, McAtee, and the other juniors will be teamed with 81 Champions Tour 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 the final round will be played on Pebble Beach Sunday.

"Our chapter could not be any more thrilled for Drew and Pierson," Bernie Haney, executive director of The First Tee of Manhattan said. "This is the final event of each of these young men's eight years as part of our organization, and so what a remarkable way to cap off outstanding careers within The First Tee."

The First Tee of Manhattan is one of 177 chapters around the country and in select international locations. Serving the Manhattan community since 2000, approximately 10,000 young people have been served through chapter programs and The First Tee National School Program, which is in nine USD 383, Manhattan, and 12 USD 475, Geary County, elementary schools. The programs are focused on building character through The First Tee nine core values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.

Read more information about the 2014 Nature Valley First Tee Open. For more information on Casper and McAtee, or to request an interview or photos, please contact Bernie Haney at 785-565-1719 or bhaney@k-state.edu.

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