Cleanliness Insurance Tournament: Salinas High’s Kalea Hall is enjoying the weekend

SALINAS – Battling the flu last week served as a way to calm her nerves and calm her nerves, easing Kalea Hall’s nerves as she prepares to play golf on the national stage.

The insults and exhaustion didn’t stop Hall from getting her hair done for the biggest moment of her playing career.

“Some requirements,” Hall said.

More than 1,000 juniors in First Tee programs across the country applied to play alongside fellow PGA Tour Champions.

Only 75 players were selected to compete in this week’s Pure Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach, where the Salinas High seniors left on Friday.

“Honestly, I can’t compare this to anything,” said 17-year-old Hall. “It’s a new level. It is broadcast on television. I am competing with professionals. It’s very difficult. “

Hall will be joined by PGA Tour veteran Steve Flesch, as the pair play Pebble Beach Golf Links on Friday and Spyglass Hill Golf Course on Saturday, with hopes of reaching Sunday’s final.

“I want to try to feel who I am,” Hall said. “Is he a little extra on the social side? I’ll pick his brain and learn as much as I can from him. But I don’t want to disappoint him.”

A native of Cincinnati, Flesch joined the PGA Tour in 1990, after winning 10 majors in his career, finishing fifth in the Masters Tournament in 2008. He joined the PGA Tour Champions in 2017.

A Gabilan Division golfer last fall as a junior, and a member of the school’s swim team, Hall has been the No. 1 golfer. 1 for Salinas High for the past two years.

“He’s taken on a leadership role,” Salinas High golf coach Alan Takemura said of Hall, who also agreed to play in Tiger Woods’ inaugural tournament in October at The Hay course in Pebble Beach. “He embraces it. He is a talker.”

His goal now is to live up to his expectations by representing the First Tee program, which he has been a part of since he was 6 years old.

“This program has done so much for me, it’s crazy,” Hall said. “It has made me the person I am. It has taught me many things that I am using in my life. It made me realize that I could be who I am today. “

The process to be selected for the event was grueling, with an application process that Hall said felt like applying to college or taking a senior exam.

“I can’t lie to you, it was tough,” Hall said. “I had to answer several questions in a short time. There were news questions. The discussion was the most worrying part.”

Perhaps all his thoughts and energy went into the application process. Because being elected was like a big relief and not a celebration.

“It’s finally starting to hit home,” Hall said. “Maybe when I’m there on the course – that it’s really happening, it’s going to sink in.”

The nervous hall that feels in his stomach usually does not settle until he steps on the first hole. It doesn’t take long for them to realize that it’s not high school golf.

“He cares, that’s for sure,” Takemura said. “I know they are scared without telling me. They care about doing well. It’s in his DNA. He expects more of himself. “

Although Pebble Beach or Spyglass Hill are unfamiliar to Hall, what will test his mind is the ability to play 54 holes over three days. Most tournament play consists of nine – 18 holes per tournament.

“I’m a little bit lucky because I know what’s coming at Spyglass,” Hall said. “When I played Pebble, it was more about the experience. I didn’t focus too much on the greens or the fairways.”

Hall recognizes the opportunities the event can provide. She is friends with last year’s Stevenson School graduate and Bryant University golfer Sydney Craven.

“I worked with Sydney over the summer,” Hall said. “He told me to get the most out of your pro. You never know who knows and what they can do for you in the future.”

There’s even more trouble looming in the tournament thanks to Craven’s last-gasp performance in teaming up with fellow pro Tim Petrovic to claim the Pro-Junior Team title.

“I saw the interview Sydney did last year,” Hall said. “So I’m feeling a little stressed. I have to let this get away from me and do what I do, play with my skills and use them well. “

Hall, who has ambitions to play golf or swim in college, is approaching this as a mental test, where he faces the distractions of the sport in public.

“It would be good to test how mentally strong I can be,” Hall said. “It’s more than what happened. It has been a dream to play in this. It will be very surreal. “

Salinas High’s Kalea Hall will team up with PGA Tour Champions Steve Flesch this weekend at Pebble Beach. (Courtesy Kalea Hall)