Lower Gwynedd Township, Pa. (May 10, 2021) —PGA REACH Philadelphia, the 501(c)(3) charitable arm of the Philadelphia PGA Section, is proud to announce its 2021 Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour Diversity Scholarship recipients: Sophia Blair, Williamstown, N.J.; Hannah Kopac, State College, Pa.; Gabriella Magno, Delran, N.J.; Isabella Magno, Delran, N.J.; and Kasim Narinesingh-Smith, Kennett Square, Pa.
PGA REACH Philadelphia created the scholarship program to provide opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds to participate on the Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour, an elite circuit for youth golfers ages 18 and under. The Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour Diversity Scholarships provide recipients annual tour membership dues and tournament event fees (up to seven tournaments per year until the recipient turns 18 years old). The foundation will also connect recipients to PGA Professional mentors for golf instruction / coaching and clubfitting. Additionally, new for 2021, thanks to a partnership with the Philadelphia Cricket Club’s 1854 Foundation, the scholarship recipients will receive new golf bags, and additional equipment, based on their PGA Professional mentor’s recommendations.
“PGA REACH Philadelphia is delighted to provide scholarships that will inspire youth in our community by providing access to programs designed to promote social skills, self-esteem, leadership, and athleticism through the game of golf,” said PGA REACH Philadelphia Director Leila Mackie. “This year’s scholarship recipients were chosen among dozens of youth golfers who applied, and were selected based on their academic success, passion for the game, and references from PGA Professionals, coaches and teachers.”
Sophia Blair is a 13-year-old hailing from Williamstown, N.J. In her scholarship application essay, Blair recognizes that while she lives in a diverse community and attends a school with kids from many backgrounds, there is much room for improvement when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion. She also recently wrote a school paper arguing that women professional golfers should be paid the same winnings as male professionals. Blair also plans to play competitive golf in high school, and believes that her membership on the Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour will help her improve her game, while also providing her access to golf courses that she may not otherwise be able to play.
Hannah Kopac is 14 years old, lives in State College, Pa., and hopes to become a collegiate golfer while studying for a career in the medical field. To help prepare for competitive golf, and now the Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour, Kopac has been working with Penn State University G.C. PGA Professional Dan Merrell on her golf swing and course management strategies.
Gabriella Magno, 11, resides in Delran, N.J., with her sister Isabella, also a 2021 scholarship recipient. In her application essay, Magno wrote “golf is not just a game because it provides me with constant life skills that I can use in my every day life which can always can be improved.” In the future, Magno hopes qualify for the annual Drive, Chip & Putt Championship at Augusta National G.C. and play competitive golf at both the high school and college levels.
Isabella Magno is 14, and like her sister Gabriella, lives in Delran, N.J. She started playing golf when she was just four years old and has worked on her game since to prove that girls can be just as good as boy golfers.
“This scholarship will allow me to experience golf in so many various settings,” said Magno. “I cannot wait to see how my golf skills respond to a variety of golf clubs.”
Kasim Narinesingh-Smith, 15, is from Kennett Square, Pa. He says that winning this scholarship means a lot to him and will allow him to establish friendships through the Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour. His father introduced him to the game, having played on a Division I golf team, and he hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps.
The Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour Diversity Scholarship program is one of many programs and initiatives managed by PGA REACH Philadelphia and is the foundation’s flagship program under its Diversity pillar, helping to positively impact lives through the game of golf. PGA REACH Philadelphia’s goal is to grow the game by providing financial assistance, coaching, instructional materials, mentoring, equipment and scholarships to individuals and organizations throughout the region, with the help of the Philadelphia PGA Section’s 800 PGA Professionals, who work at more than 300 public and private golf facilities in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, Delaware and northeastern Maryland.
The Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour leads the region in competitive youth golf with over 90 events held seasonally at many of the area’s top facilities, covering all of the Section’s geographic areas.* In addition, the tour hosts four major championships throughout the season, including nationally ranked events that provide exposure for youth golfers looking to play competitively. With opportunities to learn, grow, and compete, many tour members graduate to play at the college level and beyond.
The 1854 Foundation’s mission is to support of local, regional, national, and international amateur sports competition; preservation and maintenance of public facilities and artifacts related to amateur athletics; and enhancing the local community’s environmental health, beautification, and stabilization.
About PGA REACH Philadelphia
PGA REACH Philadelphia is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2018 as the charitable arm of the Philadelphia PGA Section, one of the 41 Sections within the PGA of America. PGA REACH Philadelphia is committed to serving our communities and growing the game of golf through our three pillars: Youth, Military, and Diversity.
Leila Mackie, PGA
Director, PGA REACH Philadelphia
Coordinator, PGA REACH Philadelphia
Matt Frey, PGA
Communications Director, Philadelphia PGA Section
*The Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour’s 2020 season has been shortened due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.