Golfing with the professionals leaves a lasting impact on a pair of Pacific Northwest juniors

Updated: November 4, 2019

By Brittany Wynne, First Tee

It was the trip of a lifetime for two local First Tee teens, Stephen Dai and Keiki Hofilena, who stepped into the spotlight and showed off the life skills and values learned in First Tee programs as they competed on a national stage with 76 of their peers in the PURE Insurance Championship Impacting The First Tee. 

The teens played with confidence and composure as they persevered on one of the toughest and most iconic golf courses in the world, Pebble Beach Golf Links, while being mentored by some of the legends of the games – PGA Tour Champions players. Making it to this unique event was the real prize, especially for these two local teens from First Tee of Greater Seattle. 

“Being able to meet so many other First Tee participants who come from very different backgrounds yet share the same love of the game as I do was so amazing,” said Dai. “This experience will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable weeks of my life. Every aspect of the trip from playing Pebble Beach to laughing alongside other First Tee participants added up to make this experience so special.” 

First Tee is a youth development organization dedicated to helping young people build character through the game of golf. The PURE Insurance Championship is one of 10 national opportunities provided by First Tee headquarters to encourage and motivate kids as they progress through the program and toward higher education opportunities.

Dai and Hofilena were paired with PGA Tour Champions professionals, Mark Walker and Paul Goydos, respectively. Even though both nearly missed the cut, they had the opportunity to meet, play and be mentored by the pros, taking away golf experience and knowledge that extends far beyond the golf course. 

“Going to Pebble Beach was amazing, especially since I was able to see a friend from Kansas who I met at the First Tee’s Joe Louis Barrow, Jr. Life Skills and Leadership Academy the previous summer,” said Hofilena. “Getting to play one of the most famous courses in the world with all the First Tee participants was beyond amazing.”

It’s evident that these two are destined for greatness. We look forward to seeing where the future leads these two young people – and know they will carry their First Tee experience along for the journey.

For more information on the tournament and the experience the two Pacific Northwest players had, see the First Tee, visit