Participant Spotlight: Sophie Hong

Sophie Hong, a chapter participant since 2016, competed in the Special Olympics 2023 State Golf Championships at Orange County National. Sophie competed in the Individual Skills Competition as a representative player for Special Olympics Palm Beach County. The individual skills competition spanned two days, featuring events using driver, iron, and chipping, pitching, short and long putts.

Sophie excelled in the competition, demonstrating proficiency in measuring distances for her driver and irons, executing precise pitch shots clearing an obstacle (a fence), and accurately gauging proximity to the hole. She also displayed precision in chipping and accuracy in short and long putting.

Since 2016, Sophie has actively participated in our Saturday Special Needs Golf Program. This program has provided her with opportunities to learn and practice fundamental golf skills. The 3-hole game training in each class has allowed her to apply essential techniques for competition. Through consistent efforts from both Sophie and her coaches, she achieved an outstanding score of 76 in the Individual Skills competition, securing the Gold Medal.

Watch a video of Sophie’s skills

Wylie And Zoe Score FJT Majors’ Runner-Ups

Zoe competed in the FSGA’s Florida Junior Tour (FJT) 54-Hole Major at Florida State University’s Seminole Legacy Golf Club in the Girls’ 16–18 division.  She posted an opening round 74 to stand atop the leaderboard. In the second round, Zoe held her lead with an even-par 72.

Zoe explains, “I have been able to stay consistent and play well by forgetting about the bad shots and not focusing on the fact that I am in the lead. Instead, I focus on just playing golf.”

Sitting five shots back in the last round, Amelie Phung knew she would need her best stuff to have a chance at victory. She carded five birdies and one bogey for a tournament low round of 68. Phung won the Girl’s Division by six strokes over Zoe’s final round 79 for second place.

Wylie Inman competed in the FJT 54-Hole Major at the University of Gainesville’s Mark Bostick Golf Course in the Boys’ 13-15 division.  In cold conditions, he posted rounds of 70-71-70 to finish solo second.  Wylie carded the most birdies of the tournament with eleven over the three days.

“Very proud of these students,” added Executive Director Carl Mistretta Jr.  “They both played solid and were in the hunt for a victory in cold and difficult conditions with many D1 college coaches watching.  Keep an eye on these two, they are incredibly talented and will each play at the next level.”

100-Hole Challenge 3Peat

For the third year in a row, our organization won top fundraiser in the Seminole Region’s CMAA 100-Hole Challenge.  In combination with our Broward and Treasure Coast Chapters, we raised over $380,000.  The Palm Beach Chapter raised over $132,000 with 12 golf and country clubs participating.  BallenIsles won first place in raising over $20,000 last year.  Participating clubs include:

  • BallenIsles
  • Boca Rio
  • Seminole
  • Trump Jupiter
  • Delaire
  • Ibis 
  • Bear Lakes
  • Dye Preserve
  • Mayacoo Lakes
  • Old Palm
  • Broken Sound
  • Hunter’s Run

“Hats off to our participating clubs and the CMAA committee,” said Dr. Ed Slotnick, Chapter Vice President and Chairman of our Country Club Committee.  “This is our largest fundraiser of the year.  The club staff that participated had a great time playing and impacted the lives of many children and veterans in Palm Beach County.”

Interested in playing in 2024?  Please contact [email protected]

Chapter Award Winners

We handed out our annual student awards at the End of Year Bash. Senior Program Director Emily Valentine, Director of Operations Darrell Bock, PGA, Program Director Zack Anderton, and Treasure Coast Director of Operations Anthony Coletta presented the awards.

Student of the Year Melvin Watson.  Melvin attends programs at  Dyer Park and recently went on field trips to the PGA Tour Championship in Atlanta and the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley.

Student of the Year Kimberly Cummings.  Kim attends Saturday morning classes at Dyer Park and has been a participant in our programs for over 20 years.

Veteran Participant of the Year Tom Molloy.  Tom has been in our veteran programs for over five years and attends weekly sessions all around the county. He also plays with our veterans at local golf courses.

Coach of the Year Wayne Munroe.  Coach Wayne has been working with us for three years and works with the students of the Police Athletic Leagues, Boys & Girls Clubs and Belle Glade.

Volunteer of the Year Lanny Browne. Lanny volunteers at Dyer Park on Saturday morning in Coach Gail’s class.

PGA Tour Is Coming To Town

Our local PGA Tour event held at PGA National is right around the corner February 29th through March 3rd. We welcome a new sponsor, Cognizant, in 2024.  Check out all the incredible options to engage with the largest sporting event in Palm Beach County.

Need tournament tickets?  Please visit thecognizantclassic.com for tickets and hospitality options.

Play where the Pros play!!  We have a few foursomes left to play in our Monday after the Cognizant tournament.

The Champion Course at PGA National will be set up in the same conditions with the same pin placements as the PGA Tour event’s championship Sunday.

EVENT FORMAT: 18 Holes, Four Player Teams One Best-Ball Event. Play Your Own Ball (Not a scramble). Prizes will be awarded for Gross and Net Divisions.  Special tee locations will be assigned for Seniors, Ladies and Juniors. 

TIME:    11:45am Registration, warm-up and continental breakfast., 1:00pm Shotgun Start. Limited Field to ensure a fast pace of play. 

For information and registration, please review the tournament invitation.

Last Chance To Enter The Pebble Beach Raffle!

Help us support the thousands of children and veterans we serve each year.  Our Pebble Beach Raffle features a chance to win a trip to play Pebble Beach!  For every $100 donated, you will be entered to win a 3-night stay at the Lodge at Pebble Beach (includes two Garden View rooms) and a foursome to play one round at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Course. The prize package also includes $1,500 towards airfare, trip expenses, etc.

Visit pebbleraffle.com to enter.

Certain restrictions apply. Drawing to be held March 4, 2024.  Please visit our website at firstteepalmbeaches.org or scan the QR code to donate and for more information.

Moc’s Win For 3rd Time

Chapter alumni Tyler Mistretta helped the #11 ranked Florida Southern Moccasins claim the team title as the host school at their tournament, the Matlock Collegiate, at Lone Palm Golf Club. They posted a five-shot victory over Nova Southeastern.  After a two under round of 70 in the second round, Tyler closed with a final round 74 in 30 mph winds to post the low score for his team in the final round.  He finished in T12th as an individual with rounds of 76-70-74.  Tyler led the field in total pars with 38 and posted an eagle in the second round.

Veteran Spotlight: Devin Shaw

Congrats to veteran Devin Shaw, who has completed training to become a First Tee Level 1 Certified Coach. He is starting his own veteran’s class at Drive Shack and Belle Glade Municipal Golf Course this year. 

Sponsor Spotlight: BallenIsles Charities Foundation

The BallenIsles Charities Foundation was established in 2011 with the goal of Making a Difference to local not-for-profit organizations in areas surrounding their residential community located in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Their mission is to render financial and in-kind support to civic and not-for-profit organizations within Palm Beach County that provide programs and services designed to assist, encourage, and promote the well-being of the residents and the communities in which they are located.

Our Chapter sincerely thanks the BallenIsles Charities Foundation and the members of the club for their continued support of our programs over the last 12 years. Their generosity provides a far-reaching impact to so many in Palm Beach County.