The Big 'I' has youth inspiring youth on the course

The Big 'I' has youth inspiring youth on the course

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by Zach Wolken

Idaho's News Channel 7

Posted on July 6, 2011 at 9:47 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 1:36 AM

BOISE -- Every summer the Trusted Choice Big 'I' Junior Classic is one of the top tournaments for young Idaho golfers to attend. 

"It's really fun to see all these different players come to this one golf course because it's always held at Shadow Valley and so you can always guarantee everybody will be here and it's always big," said two time Big 'I' Champion, Cali Hipp.  "You know they get a good field for both the boys and the girls."

This year 120 golfers (95 boys, 25 girls) are participating in the field, which will allow two boys and two girls to represent the state at the Big 'I' National tournament at the beginning of August in Madison, Mississippi.

The diversity in the field is one of the aspects about the tournament that is so appealing to young golfers.

"It's the variety of kids, I think," said 17 year-old Twin Falls native Michael Curtis.  "Playing with the younger kids all against each other instead of having the different age groups set up and there are a lot of the younger kids that are actually better than the older kids.  It's pretty unique to get to play with players who are just 13 or 14."

Not only is it a unique opportunity for all the kids, but it can often be inspiring. 

"I think it gets kids going when they're younger and it gets them excited about things and they see you know that kids you know he played really well," said Hipp.  "I think I want to go do that."

For Hipp that's exactly what happened. 

As a 15 year-old she was new to the field, but was excited about the tough and older competition. 

She finished second back in 2008, and went on to win the tournament in 2009 and 2010, and she finished fourth at the national tournament earning an exemption for this year's Idaho tournament. 

Cali is a recent graduate of Middleton High School and will continue both her education and her golf career at the University of Oregon this fall. 

Hipp isn't the only success story from the Big 'I'. 

Before Hipp, Maddie Shiels won the 2007 event and went on to play golf at the University of Nebraska.

Those two are just a small sampling of the kind of athlete that participates annual at the Big 'I', but a lot of these golfers go on to bigger and better things, partly because of their experience playing in this very tournament. 

 

 

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