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Top Leadership Links fundraisers announced

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Fourteen junior golfers, ages 15-18, were recognized as the next generation of outstanding fundraisers, contributing more than $133,045 on behalf of charities around the country through the American Junior Golf Association’s Leadership Links program.

Founded in 2009, the Leadership Links program allows the AJGA to further its mission to help develop young men and women by teaching charitable-giving skills and service-oriented practices at an early age. More than 360 AJGA junior golfers participated in Leadership Links in 2014, supporting 160 charities and raising a total of $350,000.

Through Leadership Links, juniors raise money for a charity of their choice along with the AJGA’s Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant, a financial reimbursement program which has served more than 637 talented young men and women since 2003 by providing access to the national schedule needed to pursue a college golf scholarship.

One of the flagship programs of the AJGA Foundation since 2012, the “Playing fore their Future” opportunity supports the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation’s research of childhood diseases. Each participating junior raises money in honor of a child who has faced a serious disease. 

“Golf is a game that exemplifies the spirit of giving and I am thrilled these young men and women have decided themselves to raise money for the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and the AJGA’s ACE Grant Program,” Nicklaus said. “With their efforts, they have distinguished themselves as leaders who bring hope for future generations.”

The top eight fundraisers in the Playing fore their Future program will be honored at the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet, Nov. 23, at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, as well as have the opportunity to meet Jack and Barbara Nicklaus that morning. Juniors will interact with Jack on the driving range before playing a round of golf at his exclusive course, The Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Florida.

The top eight fundraisers in the Playing for their Future program include: Will Lagomarsino of Orinda, California, Tim Rotermund of Orlando, Florida, Blake Wagoner of Cornelius, North Carolina, Dree Fausnaugh of Maitland, Florida, Ben Pirro of Wesley Chapel, Florida, Sean Wilcox of Frisco, Texas, MacKenzie Hawkes of Madison, Connecticut, and Alexa Tsay of Los Angeles, California.

The other two Leadership Links options, Birdies for Charity and Golf-a-thon, allow juniors to fundraise through one-time donations or pledges on behalf of a junior golf charity and/or a charity of their choice as they compete during the golf season. The United States Golf Association (USGA), a partner in the Leadership Links program since 2010, matches funds raised, dollar for dollar, for junior golf charities.

Rickie Fowler, a two-time Rolex Junior All-American and AJGA champion turned PGA TOUR sensation, began his support of the Leadership Links program in 2014. As a reward for their outstanding efforts, the top nine overall fundraisers in the three fundraising opportunities served by the Leadership Links program, who raised at least $5,000, will play six holes of golf with Fowler at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida, on Nov. 22.

The top three fundraisers in each Leadership Links category who will play with Fowler include: Lagomarsino, Rotermund and Wagoner (top three, Playing fore their Future); John Hayden of Birmingham, Alabama, Scott Odell of Claxton, Georgia, and Nick Leibold of Littleton, Colorado (top three, junior golf charity); and Meghan Fahey of Villanova, Pennsylvania, Jake Snortland of The Woodlands, Texas, and Andrew Jacobe of Houston, Texas (top three, non-junior golf charity).