Three local junior golfers to play in PURE Insurance Championship

Published: Jul. 28, 2017 at 2:28 PM EDT
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Logan Essig, Mason Dirlam and Cailey Rooker, all a part of the First Tee of Benton Harbor, will have the opportunity of a lifetime in September.

All from St. Joseph, Mich., Essig, Dirlam and Rooker will be taking their talents to the West Coast to participate in the PURE Insurance Championship.

However, this is no easy task.

They are just three of 81 junior golfers selected from around the country.

"I was driving to the golf course, it was like a.m. and Ebon [First Tee Golf Instructor at Harbor Shores] called me and he said 'you made it' and I didn't believe him, I thought he was messing with me," said Essig, Senior at Lakeshore High School.

"I saw my name on the tv and my entire family just went insane," said Dirlam, Junior at St. Joe (MI) High School. "The whole house was shaking when we saw our name."

"My mom was like 'Cailey. I just got a call. You've been accepted!' and I was like 'are you serious?' And she was like 'all three of us did!' and I was totally shocked, " said Rooker, also a Junior at St. Joe (MI) High School.

The tournament will be held at two golf courses; Pebble Beach Golf Links and Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Cali.

And that's not all.

Each junior golfer will pair up and play scramble with a PGA TOUR Champions professional, which includes Colin Montgomerie and Tom Watson.

"That's probably going to be one of my favorite parts because they say you kind of hang out with the professional all week," said Dirlam. "I'm going in hoping to learn a lot about what it takes to become where they are right now and see the kind of game that they play because I'm sure it's way different than the game I play."

Everyone knows golf is mostly a mental sport, so what is the mindset of these young golfers to play in one of the most prestigious junior golf tournaments in the country?

"I think I'm just going to be so excited, I might be a little nervous," said Rooker. "Who knows what will happen on the first tee but I'll be excited for sure."

"This is definitely a big one that we're looking forward to," said Essig. "I have a lot of other tournaments that I'm focusing on so I'm definitely trying to prep for it and getting sharp."

The tournament will be held September 19-24 and will be broadcast on NBC's Golf Channel.

Since 2005, the First Tee of Benton Harbor has only had one participant qualify for the PURE Insurance Championship.