Pro-Am

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - SPORTS -

The two young golfers who will play in the Pro-Am are Ju­lia Gen­uardi of Har­leysville and Caleb Ryan of West Nor­ri­ton.

But this great golf op­por­tu­nity comes with a catch.

The two must take part in a men­tor­ing pro­gram with Stan Huskey, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the CAC. Fo­cus of the pro­gram will be the ben­e­fits of giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity, vol­un­teerism and re­mem­ber­ing those who have helped you along the way.

“Be­ing a golfer my­self, I was im­me­di­ately in­ter­ested in the fact that the LPGA Symetra Tour was com­ing to Mont­gomery County,” ex­plained Huskey. “I thought of the Mont­gomery County Am­a­teur Cham­pi­onship and how it has iden­ti­fied so many fine young peo­ple over the years. Our mis­sion is to help kids and this was a chance to help two de­serv­ing kids with their dreams to play golf at the high­est level.”

Gen­uardi is a ju­nior on the West Ch­ester Univer­sity women’s golf team. She has been a starter for three sea­sons and com­peted in 15 events last year as a sopho­more, with two top-five fin­ishes and one top-10. She fin­ished sec­ond in the 2016 Mont­gomery County Women’s Am­a­teur Cham­pi­onship and third in 2017. Her low score in County Am com­pe­ti­tion was a 78 last year at Raven’s Claw.

Ryan is one of the top high school golfers in the state, play­ing for Nor­ris­town High. He is com­plet­ing his ju­nior year. Twice he won Player of the Year hon­ors for the Philadel­phia PGA Ju­nior Tour. His suc­cess has not been restricted to the ju­nior ranks. Last year, play­ing against very ex­pe­ri­enced and ac­com­plished com­pe­ti­tion, he fin­ished sev­enth in the Mont­gomery County Am­a­teur Cham­pi­onship, in­clud­ing a per­sonal County Am low of 74 in the open­ing round at Raven’s Claw.

Ob­vi­ously, both play­ers have an affin­ity for the course that will host the Val­ley Forge In­vi­ta­tional.

“It’s go­ing to be great to see how the pros pre­pare for a tour­na­ment,” said Ryan. “I’ll be look­ing to talk to them and maybe learn from them. But I also re­al­ize that, play­ing in the pro-am, they show a re­spon­si­bil­ity to the spon­sors who make ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble for them.”

Gen­uardi has a sim­i­lar out­look on her most ex­cit­ing day on the golf course.

“I think it’s go­ing to be a re­ally cool ex­pe­ri­ence. It’s go­ing to be dif­fer­ent from watch­ing the tour­na­ment,” she said. “Play­ing along­side some­one at that level is def­i­nitely an honor and a re­ally good learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The learn­ing doesn’t stop on the golf course. Gen­uardi has been in­volved in a num­ber of vol­un­teer ac­tions in re­cent years.

“Giv­ing back is some­thing I like to do,” she ex­plained. “It’s in my blood and now I re­al­ize that these pro­fes­sional golfers are very en­gaged in giv­ing back also.”

The giv­ing will con­tinue af­ter the tour­na­ment is over. Fol­low­ing com­ple­tion of the men­tor­ing pro­gram with the CAC, both Gen­uardi and Ryan will re­ceive schol­ar­ships from the Harry Mirabile Memo­rial Schol­ar­ship fund of the Mont­gomery County Ju­nior Cham­pi­onship.

“It’s good to see the County Am work­ing with this new women’s pro­fes­sional tour­na­ment,” said Su­san Battaglia, daugh­ter of Harry Mirabile and a mem­ber of the County Am Schol­ar­ship Com­mit­tee. “These kids have shown that they are de­serv­ing re­cip­i­ents. There is no doubt they are good golfers and it looks like they are on the path to be­com­ing good cit­i­zens.”

The com­mu­nity has al­ready shown its will­ing­ness to give back. A large num­ber of vol­un­teers al­ready have signed up for the week. A few more are still needed and can be­come part of the ef­fort by call­ing Raven’s Claw GC head pro Jim Brom­ley at 610-495-4710.

Spon­sor­ship and pro-am team op­por­tu­ni­ties also are still avail­able. De­tails can be ob­tained by call­ing the tour­na­ment of­fice at 610279-9220.

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