PITTSFORD, NY – On Tuesday, the 82nd Monroe Invitational kicked off with a pro-am style Monroe Invitational Blitz, along with an afternoon clinic for over 30 aspiring young Rochester area golfers who received instruction from tournament players. The Monroe Invitational collaboration was with First Tee – Western New York, which included the Boys and Girls Club.
The Blitz featured 20 tournament players of the 82nd Monroe Invitational field, teaming up with the rest of the paying participants.
Last year marked the first-ever collaboration with the Monroe Invitational and First Tee – WNY and the Boys and Girls Club, where 12 lucky participants got the opportunity to learn the game of golf from some of the game’s bright young stars. 2023 saw even more young players get the opportunity to learn chipping, putting, and general golf tips from Monroe Invitational participants, Evert Whiten Jr. (Howard), Curtis Merritt (Howard), Cameron Pero (Miami (OH)), and Danny Fisher (Miami (OH)) who all volunteered their time.
Whiten Jr., who also played in the 2022 Monroe, volunteered for the second year in a row at the First Tee event. “Being out here with the kids, I enjoy it,” said Whiten, Jr. “Giving back and taking my time — I wish I had opportunities like this. Sometimes I had opportunities where people came back, but seeing the kids enjoy watching me hit shots and learn new things is always great. I’d do it again next year.”
Whiten Jr. convinced his Howard teammate, Curtis Merrit, to join in on the clinic after Merritt was not originally slated to assist. Said Merritt, “Everett asked me to tag along and I was all in.” “I’m for the kids and it’s just great to see all these kids in the game, competing with each other. It’s just great to be out here and give my time to them.”
The Monroe Invitational Committee seized the opportunity to help grow the game of golf by partnering with First Tee and the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester for the afternoon clinic. First Tee is a nonprofit organization that teaches children life skills through purposed golf lessons. Boys and Girls of Rochester, also a non-profit, works to “inspire and enable young people of all backgrounds to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens through empowering Youth programs.”
First Tee – Western NY has over 900 kids and about 200 in Rochester, which also includes Boys and Girls Club members. During the summer, First Tee has offered sessions for young golfers at the Genesee Valley Golf Course. First Tee members were excited to have a different atmosphere on Tuesday to expand their game of golf with the unique opportunity. “It’s cool seeing the players and meeting them.” said sixth grader James Pittanro who is part of First Tee. “It’s kind of different from the regular First Tee sessions at Genesee Valley.”
Having been a huge part of the inaugural Monroe Invitational and First Tee collaboration in 2022, Kristin Bromley, the Rochester Outreach Coordinator of First Tee, was thrilled with the turnout in year two. “It’s so much fun to see more kids get more opportunities like today to work with top level collegiate players in a different learning environment,” said Bromley. “Taking them to different golf courses and allowing them to learn from different individuals — it really shows that golf is for everyone. It is really fun to see the number of kids that want to be involved in opportunities like today.”
In addition, the Monroe Invitational is proud to donate 5,000 towards First Tee and another $5,000 toward the Rochester Golf District Association (RDGA).
The Monroe Invitational is a 72-hole stroke play tournament played on the par 70 Monroe Golf Club championship layout. Tee times begin at 7 a.m. each of the four days. There will be a cut to the top 45 players and ties after the third round (54 holes) on Friday. The awards ceremony will take place following completion of play on Saturday at approximately 1 p.m. The schedule will be as follows:
Wednesday, July 26 – Round 1
Thursday, July 27 – Round 2
Friday, July 28 – Round 3
Saturday, July 29 – Round 4
Admission is free and open to the public!