COLUMBIA STATION, Ohio – A group of Northern Ohio golfers are preparing for a trip to Arizona to compete in the PGA Junior League National Championship.
This team is pretty special.
Not only are they the first team in history to make it to the championship five years in a row, but they’re also the first team to have five girls competing.
The Mallard Creek PGA Junior League consists of 10 golfers, ages 8 to 13 years old.
They are from all over Northern Ohio.
The group, who practices at Mallard Creek Golf Course in Columbia Station, consists of five guys and five girls.
That’s the most girls any team has ever had compete.
“There are a lot of people who say golf is only a guy’s sport but women have tournaments and there is a LPGA Tour that I strive to get on,” said 13-year-old Natalie Kostalnick.
Kostalnick, who is from Strongsville, says she’s really excited for the trip to Arizona.
“It’s just crazy there really are no words for it I’m just so excited to be with nine of my closest friends and to be able to go out of the state and be able to compete with all of them,” Kostalnick said.
Chris Reed is the coach of the Mallard Creek PGA Junior League.
He says he’s extremely proud of the team for making it to the National Championship.
He also said it’s been fun having five girls.
“They’re very competitive, very fun and if they’re down they won’t stay down for long,” Reed said. “They’re just very energetic and fun and you never know what’s going to happen with them.”
This group is clearly unique as a team, but it’s the individual members who make it so special. Including one athlete who has beaten all odds, Deegan Bee.
13-year-old Deegan Bee, of Fredericksburg, grew up an avid motocross rider.
When he was just 7 years old he had a terrible accident on the bike.
Bee had to be life-flighted to the hospital where he flatlined in the emergency room.
Fortunately, the doctors were able to revive him.
“All we wanted was to have our son and I’ll never forget when the doctor said we were lucky our son wanted to be here,” said Jeremy Bee, Deegan’s father.
Unfortunately for Deegan, though, the doctors told him he would never be able to play contact sports again.
“I was bummed,” Deegan said. “I loved to race motocross but they said I wasn’t allowed to.” That’s when Deegan’s parents gave him a fishing pole, a guitar and a set of golf clubs.
“I grabbed the golf clubs and I started practicing all day every day,” Deegan said.
Jeremey said the doctors told them golf was a huge part of Deegan’s recovery.
“I come from a racing family and to switch gears to golf was tough at first, but it has been a huge blessing to us,” said Jeremey Bee, who also learned to golf with his son.
Coach Reed says Deegan is an inspiration to everyone on the team. “What Deegan did to get him to where he is today is pretty impressive,” Reed said. “He really has some of the best short game I have ever seen.”
“It’s unbelievable he never gives up,” said Jeremy Bee. “He’s my hero because he never quits.”
So Deegan switched from the dirt track to the greens and is now competing on a national stage with his nine teammates. Coach Reed says they’re ready to represent our state once again.
“Thank you to everyone in Northern Ohio for doing what they have done for this game,” Reed said. “It’s definitely something special here because now we’re competing with everyone in the country now.”