Patrick Cover of Huntersville, N.C., and Divya Manthena of Camarillo, Calif., were presented the 2013 USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award Wednesday evening at the Rolex Tournament of Champions in Lancaster, Pa.
The Presidents’ Leadership Award was created to recognize one boy and one girl junior golfer who demonstrate leadership, character and community service through their involvement with the Leadership Links program – a joint initiative founded by the American Junior Golf Association and United States Golf Association began in 2005 to further develop junior golfers through volunteerism. Thirteen members of the Rolex Tournament of Champions field are participants in the Leadership Links program.
Cover and Manthena were honored for their service by the AJGA and USGA during the Rolex Dinner of Champions.
Diana Murphy, USGA Executive Committee member, introduced the recipients to the players and members of Lancaster Country Club.
“At the USGA we appreciate all your team does to bring the AJGA mission to life through young people,” said Murphy. “Thank you to the leadership and membership of Lancaster Country Club for the welcome as a great host. We are thrilled to come back [in 2015 for the US Women’s Open] and expose a hidden gem with a treasured layout.”
In 2005, the USGA and AJGA began their partnership with an initiative aimed at the overall growth and development of junior golfers. By emphasizing the importance of community service and education, the partnership strives to enrich the lives of junior golfers and ensure there is a high level of volunteerism around the game for many years to come.
About Patrick Cover
“It has been said many times that golf is a game of a lifetime,” Cover said in his application for the USGA-AJGA award. “Golf has changed my life, and the changes will certainly stay with me a lifetime.”
In 2010, Cover and his friend and fellow AJGA player Thomas Walsh founded the Dormie Cup, a golf tournament to benefit local and national charities. They found 22 other junior golfers to join them in a two-man, match-play tournament, and challenged each player to raise $1,500 for charity.
They exceeded their goal in 2012, with 22 golfers raising more than $46,000 for the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, The First Tee of the Sandhills and the AJGA’s ACE Grant, which gives golf opportunities to talented players who lack the financial resources to play in national level junior tournaments.
In the three years of the Dormie Cup, Cover has spent countless hours meeting with club officials, communicating with golfers and raising funds for the event. Cover has personally raised more than $9,500 through face-to-face meetings, personal letters and emails to prospective donors.
“Last year, Noah Spivey, a 15-year-old fighting cancer, came and shared his story at the Dormie Cup,” Cover said. “He wanted to be a golfer, but couldn’t do that because of his disease. It’s amazing for us to be able to take our talents and put it towards benefiting people like him.”
In addition to his work with the Dormie Cup, Cover is involved with several other charities in the Charlotte area.
“I know that I’m very fortunate to have everything I’m given,” said Cover. “[Volunteering] has taught me to appreciate what I have, and every time I do it, I want to do it again.”
Over the last two years, Cover has spearheaded a “jeans drive” at his high school that asks students to donate their unwanted jeans to homeless teens in the Charlotte area. Cover made signs and marketing materials for the event and has helped collect more than 200 pairs.
Another project is the Charlotte Urban Ministry Center, a homeless shelter. Over Easter weekend in 2012, Cover made more than 120 sandwiches to deliver to hungry families.
Samaritan’s Feet is an organization that provides shoes for children in Africa who have never worn a pair of shoes. Cover collected 70 pairs of boots and shoes from friends and family in 2012 for the organization.
Cover continues to expand his charitable efforts. The 2013 Dormie Cup is currently in the planning stages, and Cover hopes to organize a charity golf tournament which involves the PGA Tour. Cover believes that golf is more than just a game or a favorite sport, it’s an opportunity to have an impact on many lives.
“Joining forces with my friends and raising money for these charities feels like the biggest golf accomplishment I have ever earned,” Cover said.
About Divya Manthena
Children suffering from cancer, and youngsters with special needs in the United States... poor children and farmers facing hardships in India... victims of natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes and flooding.
Those causes populate the mission page of the Krishak website, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that 15-year-old Divya Manthena started three years ago. Krishak’s motto is “give while you live,” a phrase that she personifies, not just through her organization, but through every aspect of life.
Manthena’s family has long been dedicated to helping others. Manthena’s great-grandfather was a freedom fighter in India and her great-grandmother was the founder of an orphanage.
“The inspiration from my family elders plus my personal experiences during visits to India where I saw people suffering from natural disasters and diseases led me to start Krishak,” Manthena said. “I wanted to do something to help, and the immediate way I could was to use my talents.”
An avid golfer since age 7, Manthena has combined her skills on the course with her passion for helping those in need by hosting charity golf tournaments. Her first tournament in 2011, organized in conjunction with the American Red Cross to raise money for Japanese tsunami relief, raised more than $6,000.
In 2012, Manthena began work with the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., to host her second annual event. With her father, Manthena made all the fliers for the event, selected the venue and worked with St. Jude’s Hospital to set up a website where tournament players could donate online.
In early 2013, Manthena and her father expanded the platform of her charity tournaments by organizing a tournament committee to help make this year’s event more successful. For the 2013 event, Manthena chose an organization that she had past experience with, Special Olympics Ventura County.
As a volunteer with the Special Olympics golf camp, Manthena has learned as much as she is teaching.
“They [Special Olympics participants] have taught me how to be patient and to be respectful,” Manthena said.
The third annual charity golf tournament hosted by Manthena’s Krishak organization was held on March 22 and raised more than $13,000, but the fundraising efforts for the Special Olympics Ventura County have not stopped there. In conjunction with students at California Lutheran University, Manthena will raffle VIP tickets to a Justin Bieber concert in June, with a goal to raise $20,000.
“I believe the game of golf can give back to society in many ways,” Manthena said. “On one hand, it can provide entertainment and drama, and on the other hand raise money to help people in need.”
Manthena hopes to turn her passion for helping people into a career. Her goal is to earn a college golf scholarship and eventually become a pediatrician.
About the USGA
The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, Equipment Standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA’s working jurisdiction comprises the United States, its territories and Mexico.
The USGA is a global leader in the development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and funds an ongoing “For the Good of the Game” charitable giving program. Additionally, the USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents in more than 50 countries.
For more information about the USGA, visit www.usga.org.
About the AJGA
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 6,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 50 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex, which is in its fourth decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 500 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Stacy Lewis, Vicky Hurst, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lincicome and Morgan Pressel.
USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award – Past Recipients
Brandon Pierce (Covington, La.)
Cassie Wang (Lenexa, Kan.)
John Farese (West Sayville, N.Y.)
Natalie Turk (Franklin, Tenn.)
Drew Johnson (Oak Ridge, N.C.)
Jacqueline Calamaro (Newtown Square, Pa.)
Zach Herr (New Hope, Pa.)
Emily Gimpel (Lafayette Hill, Pa.)
Smylie Kaufman (Birmingham, Ala.)
Kelsey Conway (Ventura, Calif.)
Joseph Suarez (Richmond, Va.)
Angela Villela (Sylmar, Calif.)
Adam Michel (Orinda, Calif.)
Katrina Delen-Briones (San Francisco, Calif.)