SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -The Club Car Championship officially tees off Thursday, with the Korn Ferry Pros all hoping to follow in the first Savannah Golf Champion, Sam Burns’ steps, and make it to the PGA Tour, but a pair of local teens are more excited than most to be there.
Reed Lotter received the sponsors exemption in early March, making it the first professional event for the Savannah Country Day junior. He says he’s excited, but also ready to learn.
Lotter lives at the Landing’s Club, so he’s no stranger to playing there, but when he tees off Thursday afternoon, he will have hit a milestone in what he hopes is his future career: playing a professional event.
He says he’s trying to take it one shot at a time and not get too nervous, and of course, he’ll have to make up school when it’s all over, but he says it’s well worth it, because he’s learning while he is out on the golf course too.
“I got the chance to play with South African, Tyrone [Van Aswegen], yesterday. My dads from South Africa, so that was pretty cool, but just to pick his brain on little stuff, it really kind of helps. It shows me that my game is in a good spot and I can compete with these guys,” Lotter explained. “I think that’s what’s nice. It calms me down, but yeah, I’m just learning every day how to become a professional golfer, because that’s what I want to do.”
Lotter tees off at 2:30 on the back nine Thursday. At age 16, Lotter is one of just 13 people under the age of 17 to ever play a Korn Ferry Tour event, according to the tour.
There’s one other player in the field under the age of 20, but he was a later addition to the tournament.
Jonathan Griz, a 17-year-old from Hilton Head played his way in to the field through Monday’s qualifier. It was his first time on the course.
Griz been golfing since he was four-years-old, and playing tournaments since he was 7. He committed to the University of Alabama to play golf in 2019. Thursday marks the next milestone for his golf career.
“Just everything around the atmosphere is so cool for me, but, you know, I’m kind of going out there with the mindset that I’ve got nothing to lose really, and everything to gain,” Griz said. “Obviously there’s going to be nerves, because it’s the first time, you know, but just be out there, be still, you know, trust the Lord and see what happens.”
Griz said he played with former Alabama golfer Trey Mullinax Tuesday, and said he was able to learn a lot from the pro heading into the week, and he’s just trying to take it all in.
He tees off on 10 at 9:20 a.m. for the first round and told WTOC he is just trying to stay relaxed.