Oakdale High School senior Mabel Wong, 17, already has plenty of kudos to her credit on the links. The young golfer has been a part of the First Tee program, played for the OHS ladies golf team and now, she took her talents to the Pebble Beach Golf Course for the 2014 Nature Valley First Tee Open.
Wong was paired with pro golfer, Billy Andrade for the three day contest.
“I was excited just to be invited, but when the day came I realized that this was a big deal. To be paired with an established professional like Mr. Andrade was amazing,” shared Wong.
Being under the national spotlight didn’t seem to bother Wong as the duo finished tenth overall in the tournament, recording scores of 69, 67, and then a 66 on the final day. Wong’s highlight was when she sank the ball on two shots on the challenging par five hole 14.
“I couldn’t believe I did that, the hole is a real challenge and it is an experience I will never forget,” she said.
Wong’s weekend didn’t just wrap around golf, as she got to mingle with celebrities as well, including National Football League Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, the founder of Toms Shoe Company Blake Mycoskie and Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, just to name a few.
“I met so many people over the weekend, but I think Steve Young’s speech hit home for me. He spoke on many subjects but he spoke of confidence and other inspirational topics and core values. It really moved me, and at the same time, boosted my confidence level,” Wong said.
The teen herself has mentored many young golfers over the years as she has been a part of the First Tee program. So it wasn’t a surprise to her or her family when they made the trip to support her.
“A lot of kids from my chapter made the trip. It was great to see them, as well as kids from other chapters. It is really exciting to see how the program has helped so many kids over the nation,” said Wong. “It’s exciting to be thought of as a role model to them, too. They came up and asked for photos and autographs, really different but welcoming at the same time.”
Wong will be attending the University of San Francisco next fall, and will officially be signing with the university in November.