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Furgeson earns First Tee’s top prize

By: Joshua Ansley Journal Sports Writer
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Del Oro senior Bailey Furgeson’s focus and determination earned her more than just a trip to the PGA Tour Championship in Atlanta this week. As a member of First Tee, a nation-wide non-profit organization that teaches core values to youth through the game of golf, Furgeson was one of two players from the Sacramento chapter to be nominated for the organization’s top honor. After beating out the other finalist in Sacramento, she was named one of the top five finalists in the nation. And earlier this month, Furgeson was awarded the Coca-Cola America’s Future award winner. Furgeson won a $5,000 college scholarship, which she hopes to use at Yale, Harvard, Stanford or Oregon. She’ll collect her prize at the PGA Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta today. Her older sister, Camille, is currently at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio on a golf scholarship. Both sisters have developed their game under the tutelage of golf professional Shawn Kelly, with whom Bailey said she loves to work. “Shawn is great because he focuses on the short game and the mental aspects of golf,” Furgeson said. “A lot of coaches will hook you up to computers and critique your technique, but he teaches me how to recover from a tough shot and how to focus on my target.” While Furgeson’s focus may be her greatest strength on the course, her off the course activities are what really set her apart from the average high school student. Furgeson was the first person to be awarded a young leader service award on behalf of Wal-Mart for her service in the community. With the money she received from Wal-Mart, Ferguson has donated $500 to the Loomis Senior Life Center each of the past two years, and with the $1,000 of grant money she earned this year, she donated all of it to the local Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Her mom, Denise Furgeson, said it’s been really exciting to watch her daughter take advantage of all the opportunities that have come her way on and off the golf course. “All these good things keep happening to her,” Denise said. “She is very goal-oriented and spends a lot of time volunteering.” That goal-oriented mindset has benefited Furgeson in every aspect of her life. She said it helps her on the course because it enables her to control the outcome. The sense of control that she feels is what keep her returning to the course day after day. “I love golf because it’s basically you and the course when you go out there,” she said. “That’s my favorite thing about it. It gives me the chance to just work as hard as I can to accomplish my goals.”