I am back after playing in the Western Refining All American Classic in El Paso, Texas. This is a very prestigious invitational event featuring All-Americans from the previous year. To be honest, I was simply honored to be invited. It had been a big goal for me, so finally getting to play made me very excited. My teammate Brandon Hagy was also going so I knew it would be a great time.
After meeting our hosts upon arrival at the airport, we went straight to a cowboy boot store where we were given shop credit to pick out our own pair. This was a real shock for me seeing as how I’m from Los Angeles. I didn’t know where to start! After some laughs and countless questions, I found a pair that seemed like a good fit.
We then went to the hotel to get ready for the dinner at El Paso Country Club. If you were wondering, yes I did wear the boots, although I’m not so sure they are my style. Dinner was a blast. There was a hypnotist who had the players and sponsors laughing for at least an hour. There was even a whole room full of food. Yeah, I said a room dedicated to food. Talk about a college kid’s dream come true.
The next morning there was a long drive contest, putting contest, and a College/Am. The long drive contest was won by Hagy (no shock there) at 362-yards. He must have mishit it a bit…
The putting game was one of a kind with obstacles like boots and lassos lining the holes. The first putt had to be hit while straddling a fake horse. Kevin Penner shot a remarkable 19 in 9 holes to win, foreboding good things that week.
Next came the College/Am. I have always liked doing these because it is an opportunity for us players to pay our respects and show appreciation for the sponsors that make the event possible. Without them, none of this would have been possible. As an added bonus, my team came away with the “W”.Dinner that night was at the infamous Sun Bowl, home of the UTEP football team. It was great getting access to that historic stadium.
The next day the tournament started and it happened to fall on my birthday. We were in threesomes and got carts, which made the rounds fly by. As a fast player, this was the best birthday present I could have asked for. We finished the 2 rounds in an astonishing total of six and a half hours. That night we got to go to a real Texas steakhouse. Not only did we get to eat some of the best steak I have ever tasted, we also learned how to lasso. Again, I was out of my element, but I enjoy learning new things so it was tons of fun.
The final round started and I was three back of the lead. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any putts to fall despite a lot of quality shots into the greens. However, I was glad to have played a solid three days, and I have never been mad about finishing 8-under for a tournament. It was a tall task trying to catch Kevin Penner who shot 14-under. Again, I was just glad to be there so an eight place finish was a bonus. Congratulations to Kevin. He is a great player who finally got that breakthrough win.
Unfortunately, the week ended and I had to head back to reality. Lucky for me I got to spend the next weekend with my family for Thanksgiving. I love giving thanks to all the wonderful people that have given me the opportunity to play golf. Given the recent holiday, I’d like to thank my Mom and Dad for everything they’ve done to get me where I am today. I couldn’t do it without you guys.
Next up is finals week so wish me luck. I hope everyone is having a great holiday season. Don’t forget to say thank you and do something nice for your loved ones.