STAB Golfer Selected for First Tee Open

Later this month, 15-year-old Ian Buchanan of Charlottesville is going to get chance to play golf at Pebble Beach, alongside some of the legends of of the sport.

Buchanan, a sophomore at St. Anne's-Belfield School, is one of 81 First Tee golfers from around the country selected to play in this year's First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. The junior golfers will be paired with players from the PGA's Champions Tour.

The tournament runs September 24-29.

"This is a really great opportunity for me," Buchanan said Tuesday at the driving range Birdwood Golf Course. "It's the culmination of the goal I set for myself when I joined the First Tee. I've always wanted to play in this event. And to finally get in, it's going to be the opportunity of a lifetime."

Buchanan joined the First Tee of Charlottesville about six years ago, just a few months after taking up the sport of golf.

"I've just grown overall, as a person," he said. "The First Tee has definitely contributed a ton to any success I may have had."

That success includes his selection to play at the First Tee Open. Junior golfers were picked based on their golf skills, a written essay, and overall character. Buchanan is the second player from the Charlottesville chapter chosen for the event.

Buchanan will be paired with one of the Champions Tour pros to play "best ball" for the three-day tournament. The list of confirmed pros for the event includes names like Ben Crenshaw, Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Tom Lehman, Rocco Mediate, Colin Montgomerie, and Nick Price.

Buchanan won't learn his playing partner until a "pairings party" after arriving at Pebble Beach. But he's looking forward to playing with whoever he's matched up with.

"Any of them would be great," he said. "There's just so many major champions, and World Golf hall-of-famers. These are some of the best players of all-time. I mean, to play with any of them, it's just going to be an honor."

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