Matoaca’s golf program has made big strides over the past couple seasons. Last season, golf enthusiast heard of successes from senior Tyler Broach, who became the first golfer in school history to qualify for the state tournament. In July, it was Broach again who made waves, winning The Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, an event on the Champion’s Tour with a stunning performance on the last four holes including a 20-foot birdie putt to win the tournament.
“To play on that course and to win was unbelievable,” said Broach. “I had tried to get in that tournament three times; this was my last year of eligibility.”
The First Tee of Richmond and Chesterfield is an organization that teaches golf and life skills to young area golfers. Broach joined the organization at the age of 12 after his grandfather; Bill Broach bought him a set of golf clubs. Entry to the tournament is gained through a rigorous application process that includes a resume, a golf resume that tracks 20 rounds of play, writing multiple essays and going through a set of three interviews.
“Before my grandfather bought me the clubs and took me to First Tee, golf wasn’t something I took seriously,” said Broach. “But after going to the First Tee, I was hooked.”
The Pro-Am tournament was played at the famed golf course in Pebble Beach, California, which was established in 1919 and has hosted five U.S. Opens on the PGA tour, most recently in 2010. Phil Mickelson won the most recent PGA event held at Pebble Beach in February. The First Tee open partners an amateur youth golfer with a pro and Broach got the opportunity to play with Mark McNulty, who now plays on the Champion’s tour, but has experience and success with the PGA tour, with his best finish coming in 1990 where he tied for second at the British Open.
“Playing on a stage like this taught me what it was like with the pressure,” said Broach. “You were playing with a big crowd and cameras and alongside a pro.”
Broach hit several clutch putts down the stretch, getting birdies on three of the last four holes including that 20-foot putt on 18 to win it. Missing the putt would have resulted in a loss after going to scorecard tiebreaker.
“That last putt was all on me,” said Broach, “It was huge and I’m glad I made that putt.”
As a junior at Matoaca, Broach missed qualifying for states by one stroke. As a senior it was his goal to qualify – which he did. Broach will be attending James Madison University in the fall, where he hopes to walk on to the golf team. A great student while at Matoaca, maintaining a 3.7 GPA, Broach plans to major in biology. Tyler is the son of Barry and Stacy Broach, of Chesterfield.
For more information on the First Tee of Richmond and Chesterfield and the programs they offer, visit www.thefirstteerichmondchesterfield.org .