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October 25, 2014

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Celebrity Pro-Am a real “Partee”

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Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Home News

With the Las Vegas skyline as a backdrop, celebrities and professional golfers play on the green during the Danny Gans’ Partee Fore Kids Celebrity Pro-Am at DragonRidge Country Club on Monday.

Danny Gans' Partee Fore Kids celebrity Pro-Am

Excited to meet a professional golfer, volunteer Matthew Manganello, 7, shakes the hand of LPGA player Stephanie Louden during the Danny Gans' Partee Fore Kids Celebrity Pro-Am at DragonRidge Country Club on Monday. Launch slideshow »

What better place for children to learn how to be responsible, business-minded adults than the golf course, said Brian Hurlburt, a board member for the First Tee of Southern Nevada and tournament chairman of the Danny Gans' Partee Fore Kids celebrity Pro-Am.

Many business deals are made on the course, Hurlburt said, and for several years First Tee has been providing local teens and children with a chance to increase those skills while playing a game most of them seem to love.

At the Monday Partee Fore Kids, the kids crowded together on the DragonRidge Country Club's patio, waiting for their chance to join the celebrities and local residents who came out for the event, spending $1,000 each for an opportunity to golf alongside celebrities and give money to a good cause.

The event is the largest fundraiser for First Tee, raising thousands of dollars each year to be spent on scholarships and operating costs.

Danielle Gladd, executive director for First Tee, reached out to local residents to solicit their support for the First Tee. One such person was Jack Powell, a former Henderson resident and professional poker player who now lives in Southern Highlands.

"You just have to keep it all in perspective," Powell said. "When we're doing well, anything my wife and I can do for other people, we will."

As noon struck, about 50 golf carts headed away from club to the first hole of the surrounding DragonRidge Golf Course, each player ready to spend the rest of their daylight hours shooting through the 18 holes.

In each four-person team, players were accompanied by a celebrity golfer and a young First Tee member to keep score. Even as the teams were edging their way out, a few stragglers were waiting, hoping there would be an opening for them to play rather than just watch.

One such member included Johnny Eugenio, father to celebrity player Jordan Eugenio, also known as Lil' Jordan, an 11-year-old golfer, actor and rapper.

Not only is Jordan a celebrity golfer, he's a member of First Tee at his home in Monterey County, Calif. He said that made it easy to support the cause.

"They've got a lot of kids to act better," he said. "That's what we're here for."

Plus, it's always fun seeing some of his friends, he said, such as former NFL player Gregg Truit and actress Paula Trickey, who were billed to play, along with sports stars Stephanie Louden, Sterling Sharpe and Mike Maddux.

Frances Vanderploeg can be reached at 990-2660 or [email protected].

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