Bishop Manogue Senior Headed To Pebble Beach

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RENO -- More than 70 of the top prep golfers in the country will be competing at Pebble Beach this weekend, including one from right here in Reno.

Although, this will be just one of many highlights for a rising star.

She can pound a driver; chip like a champ; and putt like a pro. But Alex Phillips has had to work hard to achieve on the golf course.

"I don't think any kid has worked harder than her," said Phillips' father Barry. "There's a few that probably got to the ultimate goal, but yesterday she was out on the driving range for over four hours. She works harder than any other kid I've ever seen," said the father of two.

Phillips carried around a club at an early age, but her real passion was gymnastics. A few family outings on the links quickly elevated golf to the top of her list.

"Last week, we played every day together," said Alex. "My mom also plays golf. So, it's a family outing that we get to do."

But when school is in session, it's all about Alex. The Bishop Manogue senior is the reigning 4A State Champion and now she's getting ready for something even bigger. Phillips is heading to the "WalMart First Tee Open" at Pebble Beach where she'll be paired with a senior pro. With a field that includes the likes of Fuzzy Zoeller and Tom Watson, Reno's young ace has a chance to gain national recognition.

"I'm so excited," said Phillips. "I'm a little bit nervous, but extremely excited. It's fantastic and playing dad didn't get to do that til he was 40. I get to do that at 17."

Obviously, this is a great opportunity for Phillips, but at the same time, she's still trying to win a golf tournament; something that definitely isn't easy when you're playing in front of one of the biggest crowds you've ever seen.

"I've never played in front of a crowd like that," said Phillips. "So. doing that and having an LPGA player on my bag, I'm not going to be thinking straight for a while."

But with a 4.0 grade point average and her father at her side, thinking straight shouldn't be a problem. After all, when you're playing one of the best courses in the world, having fun only comes natural.

"If you can't enjoy that, then you shouldn't be playing golf," said Barry Phillips. "So, just have fun. That's all we tell her: have fun when you're out there."

Alex is committed to play at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo next fall where she hopes to pick up a degree in Bio Medical Engineering.