14 named finalists for Presidents' Leadership Award


The American Junior Golf Association and the United States Golf Association are pleased to announce the finalists for the USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award.

The USGA-AJGA Presidents' Leadership Award was created to recognize one male and one female junior golfer who demonstrate leadership, character and community service through their involvement with the Leadership Links program – a joint initiative founded by the USGA and AJGA in 2005 to further develop junior golfers through volunteerism. The recipients of the 2014 USGA-AJGA Presidents' Leadership Award will be announced on June 3 and will accept their award at the Rolex Dinner of Champions on Wednesday, June 25, during the Rolex Tournament of Champions in Nashville, Tennessee.


AJ Beechler, Pinehurst, N.C., Class of 2018

Beechler raised money for Project Footsteps, the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and the Special Olympics. By making fliers and bins to promote Project Footsteps, which provides shoes for children in need, Beechler collected more than 10,000 pairs of shoes. He also donated tips from his family’s restaurant to the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which promotes healthy youth in the local community.


Hannah Berman, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Class of 2016

Berman began serving the community when she was 12 years old and continues to make charity work a priority. She started a fundraiser called “Hitting it with Hannah” for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, in which she donates 100 percent of the proceeds to charity. Berman also established a donation station in support of The First Tee to collect golf clubs, bags, shoes and clothing for kids who are interested in learning how to play the game but may not have all the necessary equipment. In just three years, the First Tee Donation Station has collected more than $35,000 in equipment. 


Beau Briggs, Covington, La., Class of 2015

Briggs raised money for several different organizations, including the ACE Grant, the Kelly Gibson Foundation and the Covington Food Bank. He also assisted the Covington Food Bank in collecting food for families in need throughout the community. In just a 30-day period, Briggs raised more than $10,200, which the USGA matched $6,800, bringing the total to $17,000.


Dree Fausnaugh, Maitland, Fla., Class of 2015

For two years, Fausnaugh has organized a fundraising golf tournament to raise money for the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation. Spearheading the tournament by herself, she has collected more than $18,000 and plans to continue her involvement with the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation in the future.


John Hayden, Birmingham, Ala., Class of 2015

Hayden fundraises for the Bradley Johnson Memorial ACE Grant, a grant designed to facilitate golf opportunities for juniors with financial need, by securing pledges per birdie. He actively promotes the Bradley Johnson Memorial Foundation through mass mailings, emails and brochures to reach his goal of raising $10,000 in 2014. Since 2012, Hayden has raised more than $20,000. He serves as class president at his school and holds various roles within organizations in his community including Relay for Life and junior golf programs at his home golf course.


Andrew Jacobe, Houston, Texas, Class of 2015

Jacobe raised more than $23,000 in 2013 through the Birdies for Charity Program, 50 percent of which went to the Epilepsy Foundation of Texas’ Camp Spike ‘n’ Wave after Jacobe’s brother became epilepsy-free in June 2012. Through the 2014 program, he will donate 70 percent of his funds to the Hemispherectomy Foundation, which aims to correct seizures in children who endure life-threatening brain surgery.


Charles Jarrett, Jefferson, Ga., Class of 2017

In 2013, Jarrett raised more than $1,900 through the Leadership Links Birdies for Charity Program. AJGA’s Leadership Links program allows juniors to raise money for the ACE Grant and a charity of their choice. Jarrett selected the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) as his charity of choice because his loved ones have been touched personally by type 1 diabetes. He has also been involved with the American Caribbean Experience (ACE), a Christ-based outreach ministry in Jamaica, where he participated in two mission trips. On these mission trips, Jarrett tutored children, delivered food to homes and helped build a home. Jarrett and his family also designed a low-cost, high-efficiency rocket stove that will be integrated into the ACE outreach program to help single mothers living in impoverished, rural areas.


Patrick Martin, Birmingham, Ala., Class of 2015

Martin is the founder of The Harvey G. Martin Memorial Classic, a golf tournament that honors his late grandfather who battled cancer. Over the past four years, the tournament has featured golfers ranging from four to 70 years of age. The fee-based event, hosted at Riverchase Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama, has raised more than $36,000 for The St. Vincent's Foundation.


Tobin Niblett, Austin, Texas, Class of 2016

Niblett raised money for the Paley Foundation and the ACE Grant. In 2009, Niblett broke his leg and rehabilitated at The Paley Limb Lengthening Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida. Through a combination of one-time donations and pledges for each birdie this season, Niblett was able to raise $4,370 in 2013, which was divided between the ACE Grant and the Paley Foundation. 


Ciara Petronzio, Scottsdale, Ariz., Class of 2015

Petronzio started her own organization called “Pennies for Pups” in 2009. Through the program, she serves her community by raising awareness, money and collecting dog food for local shelters and animal rescue groups. Petronzio is also involved in two charity golf tournaments where all the proceeds go directly to rescue groups in need.


Davis Richards, China Grove, N.C., Class of 2015

Through the AJGA’s Leadership Links Birdies for Charity, juniors raise money for both the ACE Grant and a charity of their choice. Richards selected the Presbyterian Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Charlotte, North Carolina as his charity of choice and has cumulatively raised more than $5,600 through his Birdies for Charity campaign. He has also volunteered at junior golf camps and professional tournaments.


Jean Tyrrell, Leawood, Kan., Class of 2015

Tyrrell volunteered and raised money for the “SNAG-a-school” (Starting New At Golf) program to introduce golf to elementary-aged children in physical education classes. The program teaches the basics of golf while also making learning fun. Money raised is spent towards golf kits for schools, and the time spent volunteering helps physical education teachers instill core values and learn the game. Tyrrell volunteered five hours a week and raised $1,100 through the Leadership Links program. She raised an additional $1,800 at a fundraising tournament. 


Thomas Walsh, High Point, N.C., Class of 2015

For the past four years, Walsh has co-hosted the Dormie Cup, which brings together 32 golfers to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project, CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, The First Tee, the ACE Grant and the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation. The tournament has raised more than $164,000 over the past four years, including $64,000 in 2013.


Michelle Xie, Palo Alto, Calif., Class of 2015

Xie has contributed more than 300 hours of service from a variety of organizations within her community. For the past four years, Xie has volunteered as a junior coach for The First Tee of Silicon Valley. In addition, she assists with fundraising efforts for the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford and sits on the Palo Alto Youth Council, a board that advocates youth voice and works alongside the City Council. Xie is a member of the California Scholarship Federation, an honor society at her school, and serves as a peer tutor in trigonometry, calculus and chemistry. In 2013, Xie raised more than $620 through the AJGA Leadership Links program and aims to raise $1,000 this year.