By Stacy M. Brown | NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

(NNPA) – Manyi Ngo and Alanis Santiago Maldanado, two North Florida high school seniors, unveiled personally designed putting holes near the 18th hole at TPC Sawgrass as part of a unique program during The 2022 Players Championship in Ponte Vedra.

The three-hole putting courses designed by the students further highlighted the creativity of young individuals participating in the First Tee Program, where children and teens develop inner strengths they’ll carry with them throughout their lives.

The program has reached more than 3.7 million youth.

“At first, when we were told about this opportunity, my mom told me to get an idea of what I’d like to do, which is art,” said Manyi, who has been with the First Tee Program for 12 years. “I started sketching out things and collaborated with Alanis, and we took it from there.”

The students designed their holes using computer graphics and built them inside the Morgan Stanley tent at the famous golf course.

Uniqueness proved key.

That meant designing a hole that included medals that dangled from a U-shaped overhang for Alanis.

She noted that the design represented how she aims high in life.

“The medals are about goals you set for yourself,” stated Alanis, who aspires to a golfing career.

Manyi came up with a giant stuffed banana as part of the hole because it represented her vision.

“I like asymmetrical designs,” stated Manyi, who said she’s chosen to major in graphic design. “It really added that to this hole, and we went with it.”

The Eagles for Impact partners with brand ambassadors Justin Rose and Cheyenne Woods to support The First Tee and has pledged $5,000 for every eagle made during THE PLAYERS to recruit, develop and retain diverse junior golf coaches. To date, Morgan Stanley, one of the three presenting partners for THE PLAYERS, has donated more than $1.2 million to the program.

Before Manyi and Alanis’ unveiling, more than 50 first-generation scholars, college students, and student-athletes from area colleges, universities, and HBCUs attended “Fairways Fore Excellence.”

The sport and education forum hosted at Sawgrass Marriott by THE PLAYERS and members of the PGA TOUR’s ‘CORE’ employee resource group, serves to promote and highlight diversity in the culture of the PGA TOUR.

Fairways Fore Excellence highlighted the wide variety of career opportunities in golf and sport.

A “Beyond the Sport” panel featured alumni of the TOUR’s minority internship program and speed networking. It culminated with a course TOUR for the students to experience THE PLAYERS and meet with additional representatives from the PGA TOUR.

“This is like Disneyland,” Alanis proclaimed.

Manyi said she looks forward each year to THE PLAYERS.

“It’s unusual to be able to say that I’m on the same course with Jordan Spieth and Tony Finau,” Manyi asserted. “Quite of few of them have also been a part of First Tee, and being able to meet those people and look up to them – like I can aspire to that, and maybe I won’t play professional golf, but I can be that successful and confident.”


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