HERSHEY, Pa. — Pennsylvania has a proud tradition of golf across the Commonwealth and some of the best courses in the world.
On Tuesday, the only state tournament that unites the best high school golfers from Pennsylvania took place at Hershey Country Club as the event continues to raise its national profile.
The sweet sounds of flush shots were heard all around Hershey Country Club's tee boxes and fairways as the best high school golfers across the state competed in the Pennsylvania Golf Association Junior State Championship.
The championship is one of the highest-profile summer golf tournaments and the players see it as a chance to open the eyes of college recruiters.
"If I get a top 15, top 20, I think especially those local coaches [like] Villanova or Penn, I really think they would see that I have the game to play with anybody in the state," said Central Dauphin's Joseph Sembrot. "The best players in the state do play here and one more round I want to finish it strong."
Right from the start, players knew this was a big-time tournament starting on the first tee.
Player after the player was introduced to start by golf legend Bob Ford. The longtime Oakmont Country pro serves as the starter for the USGA at the U.S. Open. He told FOX43 that he is happy to be involved with the tournament.
"I hope it means a lot to the kids, it means a lot for me to be here," said Ford. "They feel like they are someplace special and they are. Hershey Country Club is one of the great places in the state and the PA Golf Association is a big deal. I am really proud to be here"
Sembrot agreed with Ford just before he teed up, "All of the volunteers are really good. I thank PA Golf and everyone out here for spending their time."
The tournament tests for one of the best players over 54 holes over a two day period. It's both a challenge physically and mentally.
One area golfer, Caden Blanchette of Northeastern, hopes this tournament is a jump start to his summer season. Blanchette has already qualified for the Pa. Amateur in Pittsburgh and the US Junior-Am later this year in South Carolina.
"[It's] Important to play well just for confidence for everything coming up in July for me," said Caden. "It's great to play in a big event."
The 54 holes this year is a first for the event. Next year, it's likely that the winner will earn an automatic qualifier into the USGA U.S. Junior Amateur.
The official notification is expected to happen in late summer or early fall.