First round is underway at Sage Valley Junior Invitational

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 4:41 PM EDT
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GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Dozens of golfers are hoping to become household names at the 12th annual Sage Valley Junior Invitational.

Due to the cool temperatures Thursday morning, all tee times were pushed back.

There are 17 different countries represented, and everyone golfer we’ve spoken with is ready to give it their all and enjoy every second they’re on the course.

“This is a very prestigious event. I came here with very high expectations, and those surely were surpassed. So, I’m very happy to be playing here and be playing with such an amazing field,” said Paula Martin.

Including one golfer from Belgium. She’s beyond excited to say she’ll be golfing for the University of Georgia next year. “it’s like the best feeling in the world. It’s incredible,” said Savannah De Bock.

At the end of round one, Aldrich Potgieter has a six-shot lead on the rest of the field after finishing seven under. Anna Davis, the reigning Augusta National Women’s Amateur champion, is at two under.

Wednesday morning, former Florida Gator Tim Tebow teed off with a couple of groupings.

Before heading out, Tebow passed along advice to the athletes.

“They had great questions, you know, how did you handle certain things? And you know, how would you balance certain things? It’s just really a fun time of being able to interact, and it’s just really encouraging because I think that’s something that’s so needed. I think one of the things that can be so challenging about golf is it’s such a mental game. All sports are, but golf is you’re out here for three, four hours by yourself and so just to be able to encourage them, and I think that’s something that hopefully came across,” he said.

Tebow said the message he wanted to share was to be true to yourself and that you’re going to face so many highs and lows in your career.

It’s a return to the field for Davis.

“The golf course we play and the way they treat us, it’s just like, beyond what any other golf tournament does,” said Davis.

A first for South Africa’s Aldrich Potgieter. Davis finished third before heading across the river and capturing the Augusta National Women’s Amateur title.

“The pressure can be a little much, but I think you just have to like remember just not that deep, like playing golf. Like it’s okay. There’s more to life than just hitting a golf ball around, so I think that’s kind of my mindset with the whole thing,” she said.

Potgieter was the youngest in this year’s field at the Open Championship at St. Andrews.

“It was awesome. Being at St. Andrews and meeting all the heroes of my of me growing up. So it was nice seeing them and getting to play with them and having an awesome experience,” he said.

Potgieter punched his ticket to the Masters.

“I got the invite late. They sent it to the wrong address. So I had to contact them. They asked if I got the invite, and I said I haven’t. So it was a bit of a struggle to get it. But it arrived. So that’s a relief yeah,” he said.