RENEE HEIKEN NOW COACH AT UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
After playing at the University of Illinois from 1990-1993, she turned professional and played 8 years on the Futures, Asian and LPGA Tours.
Following her playing career, she was assistant professional in Georgia, assistant coach for the men’s and women’s golf teams at Bradley, and assistant women’s coach at the U of I.
She spent time as an assistant professional in North Carolina and as manager at a club prior to taking over the women’s program in the summer of 2006 at the U of I.
Renee is enthusiastic about her young team (7 freshmen, 1 senior and 1 sophomore) right now, but feels she has many talented players with more scheduled to join them over the next few years.
She and her husband, whom she met in North Carolina while playing the Futures Tour, have been married for 7 years. He has his own financial planning service and is assistant coach for Renee’s team.
Renee played in Pepsi Little People’s during the early 1980s. She finished 3rd in the 8-9 division in 1981, 3rd in the 10-11 division in 1982 and 3rd in the 12-13 division in 1984. She was second in the 10-11 group in 1983, and won her 12-13 division in 1985.
AMANDA BLUMENHERST NAMED BRIDGESTONE GOLF PLAYER OF YEAR
Former Pepsi Little People’s player Amanda Blumenherstk has been named the female Amateurgolf.com-Bridgestone Golf Player of the Year.
Amanda is well known as one of the best women amateurs in the country. She is a three-time National Player of the Year, three-time Golfstat award winner, three-time first team All-American and three-time All-ACC honoree. In the Duke career charts, she ranks first with 64 rounds of even or under par, first with 32 top 10 finishes and second with 11 victories. She was a member of the 2006 and 2008 US Curtis Cup teams and led Duke to three ACC Championships and two NCAA titles in three years.
In 2008, she won the U.S. Women’s amateur title , was co-medalist at the U.S. Women’s Amateur and led the U.S. to a 13-7 victory in the Curtis Cup matches.
As a junior golfer, she finished 2nd in the 1995 Pepsi Little People’s in her 16-17 division. She was a four-time Rolex Junior All-American, ranked third nationally by the National Junior Golf Scoreboard and Golf Digest for junior girls, and had numerous victories and won many awards.
Amanda was born in 1986 and started playing golf at the age of 4. She majored in history with a minor in English and theatre studies, and was a three-time ACC honor roll selectee.
(FOR RELEASE UPON RECEIPT)
MACOMB, IL — The Little People’s Golf Championships Association has teamed with Western Illinois University and its championship Harry Mussatto Golf Course to form the Pepsi LP Collegiate Golf Championships (PLPCGC) for men and women aged 18 through 21.
The 2009 event will be played June 22-24 on the 18-hole Macomb, IL, course, which features the Oscar L. Champion Nine and the Eric Gleacher Nine. There will be one men’s and one women’s division in the 18-21 age group.
The men will play from the 6862-yard black tees, with a course and slope rating of 73.6/136. Women will play from the 6054-yard gold tees, with a course and slope rating of 69.9/128.
“The rolling terrain of the Lamoine River Valley offers spectacular views and challenging golf at the Harry Mussatto Golf Course,” says Mel Blasi, MSED, a former Pepsi Little People’s player and Director of Golf at the WIU course.
“Rarely have I had the opportunity to work with such an exceptional piece of land, so ideally suited for a golf course,” commented Golf Course Architect Ken Killian.
The WIU course has hosted the Mid-Continent Conference and Summit League Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships, as well as the Illinois High School Association Sectional Championships, and is the home course for the Western Illinois University Men’s and Women’s golf teams.
Official practice rounds for all players will be on Monday, June 22, with 18-hole competition on Tuesday-Wednesday, June 23-24. The entry fee, which includes three days greens fees and lunch for all players on Tuesday and Wednesday, is $160. Registration will be at the WIU Golf Course Pro Shop from noon until 6 pm on Sunday, June 21, and from 8 am until 6 pm, on Monday, June 22. For practice round tee times call the golf course at 309-298-3676 after May 1.
Gift certificates for golf merchandise will be awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in both the men’s and women’s divisions at the end of play on June 24.
“We are excited to host the Pepsi LP Collegiate Golf Championships at the Harry Mussatto Golf Course at Western Illinois University,” says Blasi. “The golf course will provide a great test for the collegiate player and will challenge them from tee to green. A score of even par is always an excellent round of golf at the WIU course.”
The PLPCGC is a division of the Little People’s Golf Championships Association, which for the past 35 years has conducted the Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships for boys and girls aged 3 through 17. The 36th annual PLPGC will be held June 22-24, 2009, at five golf courses in the Quincy, IL, area, approximately 55 miles southwest of Macomb.
“We are delighted to be able to offer this excellent golf course as a venue for the Collegiate Divisions,” stated Nan Ryan, Executive Director of the Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships. “Mel Blasi has a long-time relationship with Pepsi Little People’s, having played in the tournament in 1979 and 1980, and has spent the past 12 years as Head Coach of the Western Illinois University Men’s golf team,” added Ryan. “He will be a definite asset to the success of this 18-21 year old division”.
Entry forms for the 2009 PLPCGC will be available at www.littlepeoplesgolf.com after February 1, 2009. For additional information, see the website or call 217-257-5718.
BEN CURTIS TO REPRESENT US AT 2008 OMEGA MISSION HILLS WORLD CUP
Former Little People’s player Ben Curtis has been selected to represent the United States, along with Brandt Snedecker, in the 2008 Omega Mission Hills World Cup matches in November on the Olazabal Course in China.
Curtis, the 2003 British Open Champion and 2008 Ryder Cup Team member, and Snedecker, the 2007 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year who tied for third in the 2008 Mastrs, will vie to become the first American team to win the World Cup since Tiger Woods and David Duval in 2000.
Ben competed in many Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships as a youngster, winning his 8-9 division in 1985, and finishing third in his age divisions in 1986 and 1988.
We wish Ben and Brandt the Best of Luck in the upcoming challenge!!
FORMER LITTLE PEOPLE’S PLAYERS COMPETE IN WORLD AMATEUR TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
Three former Little People’s participants competed in the World Amateur Teams Championships in Adelaide, Australia, October 8-11, 2008. The Espirito Santo Trophy was captured by the Swedish Team. Forty-eight women’s teams played 72 holes on the tough East and West Grange Golf Courses. Sweden started the tournament with a 10-stroke lead after the first day, and never looked back. They finished 19 under par, while Spain was second at 7 under and the United States team was third at 5 under.
Amanda Blumenherst, college standout and former Little People’s player, finished at T-11 individually while helping her team to third place. Mexico’s Ana Alicia Malagon was T-78 individually, helping her team to a T-30 finish, while Bermuda’s Tariqah Walikraam finished 133rd to bring her team in 43rd, scoring a unique Eagle during her play.
Congratulations to these former Little People’s players and their teams!!
Sarah Brown shot a 2-under par 70 in the final round of the PGA Junior Championship Friday, to finish second, and secure a coveted spot on the 2008 United States Junior Ryder Cup Team in September.
Sarah, along with 5 other American girls, and 6 boys, will compete against the European team for 2 days in September at Old Stone CC in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and then the final day on the actual US Ryder Cup Course at Valhalla. The Junior’s matches at Valhalla will be the day before the pro’s begin play.
The team will arrive in Bowling Green on Friday the 12th of September, with the matches at Old Stone the following Tuesday and Wednesday, and at Valhalla on Thursday.
Sarah is thrilled and honored. “I wanted to win this, but if I didn’t win, I wanted to make sure I finished second. All week, I’ve been watching kids my age represent the USA every night on TV at the Olympics, and now I get to do the exact same thing. It’s so cool.”
“Sarah, and her family, would like to thank all of you who have supported Sarah over the years,” writes her Dad, Keith. “It seems like just yesterday that 5 year old Sarah teed it up at The Little People’s Golf Tournament in Quincy, Illinois. We are all deeply grateful.”
Sarah and brother David competed in Pepsi Little People’s in 1997, and were joined by siblings Faith and Aaron in 1998 and 2000. We wish Sarah the best of luck in the upcoming Junior Ryder Cup Matches. You can find out more about the team here…
NOTES OF APPRECIATION
“I want to send you a thank you note for the $100 gift card you sent me. It sure did help in a time when we were out of our home. It is nice to know there are people out there who help others when they are down and out.
If there is anything I can do for the Pepsi Little People, please let me know.
Once again, a big thank you.”
M.B., LaGrange, MO
Thank you for your thoughtfulness and kind generosity. We are still trying to get things back to normal, the gift card will be put to good use.
P.S. Please convey my thanks to such a great organization!
J.D, LaGrange, MO
I want to thank you all so much for the $100 gift card I received from you all — I was so touched by it and I put it to good use for a lot of things I needed as I have relocated. Such a tremendous act of kindness that was greatly appreciated! This has not been an easy year for any of us, but people like you have made a big difference! May God Bless you always for your kindness.
Love in Jesus Christ,
C. R. F.
Linda, Daryl & Everyone at Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships:
Thank you for the Wal-Mart gift card. It will certainly help.
We were surprised to get your gift card but very much appreciate it. It seems in our town we are on the “forgotten” end of town & we sincerely thank you for thinking of us. We have been busy trying to get back in business & plan to use the card to buy some remodeling supplies. The office is a complete shambles & will have to be entirely stripped down & redone. All of the insulation is ruined as is the paneling & we have already replaced all phone jacks as a start to get going. We hope to rebuild this winter. But once again, please accept my sincere thanks & appreciation.
In the story below, we tell you about how our players and families helped out during the flood while in Quincy this year, and also mention that Pepsi Little People’s donated $2000 to families who were devastated by the flood. Following are a couple of notes received by our River View (Canton, MO) rep:
1. Dear Linda & Little People’s Golf Championships,
Thanks so much for remembering us at this time in our life. We are still struggling to recoup our home. Thanks again and please thank everyone involved!
Love and prayers,
2. I couldn’t begin to thank you enough for the wonderful gift card. It will replace many many things that we lost. Thank you very very much.
PS — note from Linda — I met this lady this weekend and she showed me her shoes she had replaced as hers were ruined while fighting the flood.
Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness with the gift card. I had an opportunity to meet one family who helped with sand bagging while they were here. This is a wonderful program for our youth.
God Bless, D & S S
“HOW MANY SANDBAGS DID YOU FILL?”
The 35th annual Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships was overshadowed this year by the severe flooding of the nearby Mississippi River.
While the rising waters did not affect the six competition golf courses directly, they did play a major part in the playing of the tournament.
Most threatened were the roads leading to River View Golf Club in Canton, MO, and the Keokuk-Hamilton bridge near Deer Run Golf Course in Hamilton, IL.
While the south entrance to River View was closed before the tournament started, the north entrance through the town of Canton was kept open through the diligent sandbagging efforts of the people of Canton. At one point tournament officials were concerned that if that entrance became flooded there would be a possibility of players and parents being stranded at River View, but were assured that the State Police would open an escape route.
The bridge between Keokuk, IA, where many of the 18-21 year olds were staying, and Hamilton, IL, where they were playing, was closed intermittently, forcing some of them to move to the Illinois side of the river during the tournament.
Most heartening to all of us involved in Pepsi Little People’s were the efforts of the players and parents themselves, who spent many hours after their golf rounds helping to fill sandbags in Canton and LaGrange, MO, and at the Convention Center in Quincy.
The conversation at breakfast, which normally would have been “how many putts did you make yesterday?”, was instead, “how many sandbags did you fill?”
Many parents were delighted to be able to give their children an opportunity to learn a great life lesson on the perspective of sports versus life, and the ability of people in a community to come together and help each other during a crisis.
The tournament itself, which normally donates a part of its proceeds to several charitable organizations, also donated 20 $100 gift cards to families who had been devastated by the flooding. These included:
1. A single mother of three whose home was completely lost;
2. Several families who lost their entire home and belongings;
3. A family that lost its business and whose family home was flooded;
4. A lady who always opened her door to help others, who lost her restaurant
5. A family whose home and business were flooded, who always donates and sells items to children for 5 cents at Christmas so they can give gifts to their parents and siblings,
6. And the list goes on and on.
Our hearts, sympathy and prayers go out to all of the families affected by the 2008 flood, and our deepest gratitude is extended to those parents and players who stepped in at a moment of crisis in the area to help those in need.
PATRICK AKANIROJ WINS AT CYC
After a top 10 finish in the 2008 Pepsi Little People’s in the 3-B Division (boys 8-9) June 17-18, Patrick Akaniroj finished third in the 2008 US Kids Golf World Championships Qualifier in Illinois on June 23 in the boys 8 division, and went on to win the 2008 Country Youth Classic 3-B division in Bloomington-Normal, IL, on June 24-25.
Patrick was fortunate to have won the 2007 Country Youth Classic in the 2-B Division (boys 6-7), so now has matching First Place trophies for this tournament. Congratulations, Patrick!!!
CALLAWAY GOLF SUPPORTS PEPSI LITTLE PEOPLE’S
Back in 1974, Spalding agreed to furnish golf balls for the contestants in the first Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships. That tradition has continued throughout the years, through the company’s transition to Spalding Sports Worldwide, Top-Flite, and now Callaway Golf. We are delighted that Callaway has chosen Pepsi Little People’s as the recipient of its golf balls through the 35 years of the tournament.
This year, Scott King, Callaway Golf Representative, will have the latest Callaway golf clubs available for Little People’s contestants to try at the KC Driving Range from 4 until 8 pm on Monday, June 16. This is also the site of the annual Family Celebration Picnic on the KC grounds.
FAMILY PICNIC HAS NEW SPONSOR
The Quincy Herald Whig and WGEM AM-FM-TV & CGEM have joined with Allstate Insurance – Bob Navolio Agency, to sponsor the Family Celebration Picnic at the KC grounds on Monday, June 16.
Festivities include an open soda bar hosted by Refreshment Services Pepsi, our major sponsor of the Pepsi Little People’s for 35 years, and a buffet including fried chicken, BBQ beef, hot dogs and brats, and all the trimmings. A short program will include the presentation of trophies for the Parent-Child tournament and other awards.
Special events include the availability to try out various Callaway golf clubs, and the Amazing Andrew, who will entertain families with astonishing magic tricks.
The picnic is FREE to contestants IF a reservation is made at the Little People’s office by 6 pm on Friday, June 13, and is $10 for non-contestants. Reservations forms are available by clicking on Entry Forms and Acceptance Pak in the red box on the home page of this website.
CARLY RAY GOLDSTEIN WINS 55TH EVENT
The newly-turned 13-year-old from Coral Ridge, FL, shot a final round 2-under-par 70 on the 5133-yard course to outdistance her nearest competitor, Laura Kanouse of Boca Raton, FL, by 8 shots.
Carly Rae is the daughter of well-known golf guru Barry Goldstein, and has played in Pepsi Little People’s numerous times.
Congratulations, Carly Rae!!!
MARGARITA RAMOS LOW AMATEUR IN MEXICO
Margarita Ramos, who won the 14-15 division at Little People’s in 2004, was the low amateur in the Corona Morelia Championship at Tres Marias Residential Golf Club in Mexico, finishing in a tie for 58th with a 304 total for the four rounds.
Margarita tied with another former Little People’s Player, Nicole Hage (now a pro), who won her 10-11 division at Little People’s in 1997. Anna Grezbien, also a pro, and winner of her 12-13 Little People’s division in 1998, finished in a tie for 54th.
Congratulations, Margarita, on an outstanding showing as an amateur — and to Nicole and Anna on their fine finishes.
Lorena Ochoa of Mexico won the tournament with a 25-under-par 267, and qualified for the LPGA Hall of Fame.
ROVING REPORTER CATCHES BEN CURTIS
Curtis, who won his 8-9 division in Pepsi Little People’s in 1985, and finished third in his division in 1986 and 1988, finished the Shell event in a tie for 47th.
Thanks Ben and Don for the picture!! We wish Ben the best of luck in his upcoming tournaments.
ALENA SHARP NAMED GOLF FORE THE CURE AMBASSADOR
Alena Sharp of Hamilton, Ont., Canada, who finished third in the 1998 girls 16-17 division of Pepsi Little People’s, has been named the 2008 Ambassador for the RCGA Golf Fore the Cure program.
As a part of her role as Ambassador, Canada’s No. 1 ranked player on the LPGA Tour will attend and participate in the Golf Fore the Cure National Event on September 15 at the Ladies’ Golf Club of Toronto.
The RCGA Golf Fore the Cure program, presented by Subaru, is aimed at growing women’s golf participation in Canada by introducing the game through fun, non-intimidating activities. Proceeds are donated to the Canadian Cancer Society and the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation.
“I am honored to be involved with the RCGA Golf Fore the Cure program,” said Alena, “and lend my support to this tremendous initiative”.
Sharp was recently inducted into the New Mexico State University Athletics Hall of Fame, in honor of her collegiate golf accomplishments before she started her professional career on the LPGA Tour in 2003.
Congratulation to another Little People’s Alumni!!!
KELLY ROBBINS NAMED ASSISTANT SOLHEIM CUP CAPTAIN
Kelly Robbins, former Little People’s player, and Meg Mallon, have been named Assistant Captains of the 2009 Solheim Cup by U.S. Team Captain Beth Daniel. The trio will lead the U.S. Team in their quest to maintain a perfect record on home soil August 21-23, 2009, at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, IL.
“It is a real honor,” Robbins said. “I’ve looked up to Beth since I can’t remember and just to have her choose me to be part of that week with her, I’m humbled, honored and am really looking forward to it.”
The trio of captains has a combined 22 Solheim Cup appearances to draw on. They were all members of the 1996 U.S. team, the only team in Solheim Cup history to win on foreign soil until the 2007 squad was victorious in Sweden last September.
Kelly has a record of fine appearances in Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships. In 1982, she was second in the 12-13 division to Kathleen Ryan. Kelly won that division in 1983, and finished third in the 14-15 division in 1984 and 1985.
Congratulations to Kelly, and GOOD LUCK in 2009!!!
PATRICK AKANIROJ APPEARS ON SUNCASTV
ABBEY CARLSON HAS GREAT YEAR
Abbey Carlson, 9, started her year with a 2nd place finish in the 8-9 girls division of Pepsi Little People’s. She went on to take the 1st place trophy in the 8-9 division at the 2007 Doral Publix event in December. This added to her strong fall golf schedule of a 1st place finish at the Prestige Junior Championship at PGA National and 5 consecutive 1st place showings on the Plantation Junior Golf Tour.
“Abbey has continued to work hard all fall and has seen the benefits of her hard work,” writes her Mother, Nancy.” In addition to her successes she has enjoyed seeing so many of her friends at these tournaments. Most of these friendships started at Pepsi Little Peoples. She looks forward to the 2008 Pepsi tournament. ”
It was a ‘Little People’s sweep of the girls 8-9 division at Doral, when Claire Hodges of Wildwood, MO, finished 2nd, and Diana Velez from Puerto Rico finished 3rd.
Little People’s looks forward to the return of all three of these fine young players to the tournament in June!!
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON NEW SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
The Little People’s Golf Championships Association is pleased to announce it’s new Scholarship Program for boys and girls aged 8 through 17. This Scholarship Program was established to provide financial assistance to deserving young men and women who have exhibited an interest in golf and golf competition. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of a compete profile, including academic achievement, extra-curricular activities, civic or volunteer programs and financial need.
This new program replaces the LPGCA’s previous policy of providing scholarships to the winners and runnersup in all divisions, as USGA and NCAA regulations no longer allow this.
The LPGCA made this change because it did not want to jeopardize the amateur status or the college athletic elibibity of any of its contestants.
SAHITH THEEGALA WINS FLORIDA EVENT
Sahith won the PARS Golf Event in the 12th Florida International Junior Golf Championships held in Port St. Lucie, FL. Dec 28-30 in the Boys 9-10 category. He scored one over (73) in the first round and scored even par (72) in the second round and finished with two under (70) in the last and third round. Final score was one under (215). The golf was played at the Challenging Dye Course in the PGA Golf Club. Sahith’s win also qualifies him for 2008 Callaway Junior World in San Diego.
Watch for updates here.