University of Notre Dame hosted 45 teens from First Tee chapters across the country
SOUTH BEND, IN. – Hunter Swanson of Denver, Colorado and Hannah Lydic of Ocean View, Delaware won the boys’ and girls’ divisions, respectively, of the second-annual First Tee National Championship at the University of Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course. The event, June 28 to July 1, brought together First Tee’s elite golfers for an opportunity to showcase how the program has helped build the strength of character needed to play at the next level.
Swanson, a recent graduate of Northfield High School who is headed to the University of Colorado and has been a member of First Tee — Green Valley Ranch for almost 13 years, won the boys’ division. He shot a 1-under-par 212 (70-72-70) to win the 54-hole event.
Ranked No. 111 in the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) boys rankings, Swanson was the only boys’ division competitor to finish the tournament under par. He played his final 14 holes bogey-free and tallied his three birdies on Friday at the sixth, 10th and 17th holes on the way to capping off a wire-to-wire victory by three strokes. Swanson finished runner-up in a playoff in last year’s inaugural First Tee National Championship,
Said Swanson: “Last year, definitely, wasn’t the happiest moment but I was proud of myself for at least playing well. And today, to come back and actually get the win this time, feels a lot more special. Kind of like I finished what I started. It’s an honor, truly. I wouldn’t be anywhere, where I’m at, without the First Tee.”
Lydic, a recent graduate Sussex Academy High School, attending the University of Richmond in the fall, and a member of First Tee — Delaware for eight years, won the girls’ division. She shot a 5-under-par 208 (70-70-68) to win the 54-hole event.
Ranked No. 210 in the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) girls rankings, Lydic sank a 15-foot birdie putt on the 54th, and final, hole of regulation to cap a final-round score of 3-under-par 68 and earn a one-stroke victory. Lydic, who tied for second in last year’s inaugural First Tee National Championship, recorded three of her seven birdies in Friday’s final round over the last three holes.
“It felt great, and the reaction from the crowd really meant the world to me,” Lydic said of her First Tee National Championship-winning putt on No. 18. “Last year, I was tied second with a comeback putt on the last hole. and it was like deja vu again. On the last hole, coming back from a major deficit. It means the world.”
Winners of each girls’ and boys’ divisions were awarded with the Tattersall Cup in honor of event Chairman Fred Tattersall.
Winning the First Tee National Championship also comes with a one-time playing exemption into the PGA TOUR Champions’ PURE Insurance Championship Impacting the First Tee, held at Pebble Beach Golf Links September 20-25, 2022. Although Swanson and Lydic won on Friday, each had previously played in the PURE Insurance Championship, thus making them ineligible to compete a second time.
Hence, the playing exemptions are awarded to the First Tee National Championship’s next highest finishers who haven’t previously played in the PGA TOUR Champions tournament. Boys’ division runner-up Bryson Hughes, of St. Johns, Fla. and the First Tee – North Florida chapter, and San Jose, Calif. resident and First Tee – Silicon Valley member Francesca Sumcad, who placed third in the girls’ division on Friday, received the exemptions into the PURE Insurance Championship Impacting the First Tee.
“Congratulations to all the competitors who participated in our First Tee National Championship,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO, “Especially to Hunter Swanson and Hannah Lydic. They played this week with confidence and composure and we look forward to watching them continue to develop and pursue their goals both on and off the golf course.”
First Tee National Championship is held annually at various college golf courses around the nation providing First Tee participants the opportunity to network with others from across the country and take in the college experience. University of Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course hosted the second-annual Championship, following the inaugural year at Clemson University’s The Walker Course.
During the week, participants had the opportunity to hear from PGA Head Golf Professional Steve Scott on what it means to be a game-changer and how his values intersected with his experience of finishing runner-up to Tiger Woods in the 1996 U.S. Amateur Championship.
The field included 23 boys and 22 girls, ages 14-19, who were selected based on their golf skills and competitive golf experience including four players ranked in the top 250 on both the American Junior Golf Association and Junior Golf Scoreboard. Players came from 28 First Tee chapters across the country A full list of results is available here.
The National Championship is one of more than 10 national opportunities provided by First Tee headquarters to empower and motivate teens as they progress through the program and toward higher education opportunities. For more information on the tournament and First Tee, visit www.firsttee.org.
About PGA TOUR First Tee Foundation (“First Tee”)
First Tee (www.firsttee.org) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit youth development organization that is supported by the PGA TOUR. Its mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character and instill life-enhancing values through the game of golf. In 2022, First Tee celebrates its 25th anniversary and reaching millions of youth through its network of 150 chapters, 10,000 schools and 1,700 youth centers. Headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA, programs are delivered in all 50 United States and select international locations. President George W. Bush serves as Honorary Chair.
Sara Henika, First Tee