by: Zach Klein Updated:
ATLANTA - Some five miles southwest of the heart of Atlanta, over at the John A. White golf course, Najae Butler hits shot after shot after shot, fine-tuning her game.
"I want to be on Tour, but my main goal is I go to college," Butler told Channel 2 Sports Director Zach Klein. "Playing golf, full scholarship."
Butler, 16, a junior at Westlake High School, has spent half of her life with First Tee Atlanta, a youth development program that teaches life skills and leadership through golf for youth who generally can't afford to play the game.
She practiced on the driving range next to homes worth just over $100,000.
Butler prepares to tee it up later this week at a place where property taxes alone are well over $100,000.
"(I’m going to) Pebble Peach, California," Butler said. "And I'm really excited about it."
And what's not to be excited about. She will be there a full week, expenses paid and a spot in the 2015 Nature Valley First Tee Open.
Butler is one of 81 juniors nationwide to earn a spot in the tournament where she will be playing alongside members of the Champions Tour.
“Who would have thought that I would be playing at Pebble Beach," Butler told Klein. "That's just something you see on a poster, and you're like, 'I wish I could play there', but you are not really thinking you are going to be able to. Just to be able to fulfill a dream is a big accomplishment for me. That means I’m going in the right direction."
With a golf handicap of 1.6, Butler's game is headed in the right direction and so are her academics.
"I have 3.9 GPA, with 6 hours of practice every day, 7 days a week. That's pretty hard to maintain," Butler said.
The tournament begins on Friday with the champion crowed on Sunday.