GRANITEVILLE, S.C. — The players aren’t the only stars at the Sage Valley Junior Invitational.
The day before Thursday’s first round of the nation’s premier junior golf tournament – whose field boasts the top 10 in both the boys and girls Golfweek/Sagarin rankings – former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow spoke to the 36 boys and 24 girls competing for the gold jacket and even played a practice round with last year’s girls runner-up, Bailey Shoemaker.
Later on in the evening, rising star and two-time PGA Tour winner Tom Kim was on hand to record a podcast with five-time LPGA winner Michelle Wie West and Hally Leadbetter and play an alternate-shot game with a handful of the players on Sage Valley’s under-the-lights par 3 course.
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Things you see after hours on the par 3 @JrInviteSage: competitors Aldrich Potgieter and Macy Pate ripping two-time @PGATour winner Tom Kim’s driver into the night.
(Don’t think Aldrich’s ball has landed yet) pic.twitter.com/lTInMifSjS
— Adam Woodard (@AdamWoodard) March 16, 2023
“I never had the opportunity that these kids had, so it’s really cool for me to come out and see the juniors and play with them,” said Kim, the 20-year-old on a meteoric rise through professional golf. “Some of these kids are just 2 years younger than me, so we’re not far apart. I’m so used to seeing the older guys on Tour so it’s kinda cool to see some kids around my age and we definitely had some fun.”
After the alternate-shot game – where Kim and SVJI competitor Macy Pate lost after he missed a three-footer – the pro stayed on the par 3 to take some pictures and answer some questions from a dozen or so players. When one player asked if they could hit his driver, Kim couldn’t help but say yes, and the lot took turns bombing balls into the night sky.
“The biggest thing was just having fun with the kids and giving them an experience they won’t forget.”