Men's Golf - Wed, Aug. 11, 2010
Four years ago, Christian Heavens
knew he was good enough to play NCAA Division I golf. But, the star of The First Tee chapter of St. Louis understood what President Bill Crouch was creating on the small college level was special - so, instead he cast his lot with the unique First Tee Scholars program of Georgetown College.
The rising senior communications major from Belleville, Ill. doesn't feel "cheated" at all because he's getting the special attention of a First Tee Scholar and he occasionally gets to show what he can do against the "big boys." The pro golf tour is not the impossible dream, as recently he qualified for the U.S. Amateur Golf Championship to be played later this month, and, he took down a few Division I golfers in the process.
"Summer-time is when I really get to test my skills against those D-I guys ... and this time I beat some players from Northwestern and Illinois when I qualified," said Heavens, who is proud of accomplishing the third of hisTFT (The First Tee) goals for 2010.
"In the qualifier, I was able to have fun in the moment," he said. "But (winning) is in the preparation, going back to the start of the year when I write down my goals like The First Tee taught me."
His goals were:
- win the Mid-South Conference tournament and Player of the Year honors - CHECK;
- practice his swing every winter day possible with Larry Ward of Lexington's Man-o-War Golf - CHECK;
- qualify for the U.S. Amateur Championship - CHECK.
President Crouch is so proud of Heavens, he has arranged to be his caddy for the first two (guaranteed) stroke-play days of the Amateur in Tacoma, Wash.
"I may be a little nervous at first ... especially having to control my emotions in front of the president," Heavens said. "But, Dr. Crouch knows his golf, and he's worked with two sports psychologists - he'll help keep me in the zone."
Below is an article that appeared in the Belleville News-Democrat, Heavens' hometown newspaper in Illinois: