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MAPLEWOOD/SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Columbia High School freshman Jada Fowlkes enjoyed a great experience at the recent LPGA Cognizant Founders Cup golf tournament held at the Upper Montclair Country Club.

Representing the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf of Greater Newark, Fowlkes, 14, was invited to play in the pro-am tournament for the second year in a row. 

On Wednesday, May 11, Fowlkes played with professional Lizette Salas, Salas’ agent, and Jeffrey Hirsch, the CEO of the Starz network. She also played with professional Pajaree Anannarukarn. 

Fowlkes was also invited to the pairing reception on Tuesday evening, May 10, and was a guest speaker at the LPGA Pioneer Dinner on Thursday evening, May 12, where she participated in a fireside chat with LPGA Foundation senior director Laura Diaz and discussed when and how she became interested in and started playing the game of golf. She was incredibly poised, confident and energized.

Fowlkes, along with her mother, Terri, was honored to be able to spend time with many golf legends — Renee Powell, Nancy Lopez, Gloria Ehret, Megan Mullen and others — and to share her story. 

After helping out with numerous girls golf activities in the morning and afternoon, Jada spent more than four hours in the NBC Sports Golf Channel broadcast booth with sports anchor Morgan Pressel, as she is preparing for a potential future career in media and broadcasting. 

“Being invited to play in the Cognizant PGA Founders Cup pro-am for the second year in a row was an incredible experience and great honor,” Fowlkes said. “I am especially happy that I was able to play with the golf pro Lizette Salas. She is incredible. She is an excellent golfer and very personable. While we were playing she gave me pointers on how to improve my game. I was nervous at first because of all of the cameras and people around us, but I eventually became more comfortable. 

“I was also asked to be the Girls Golf of Greater Newark representative for a fireside chat at the Pioneer Dinner during the event, to tell my story about how I started playing golf. That was also a great experience, because many famous LPGA pros were there.”

Fowlkes began playing golf at the age of 8. She was instrumental in starting the golf program at Columbia High School on the club level this year. She is the only girl in the club, which has about eight members.

Photos Courtesy of Terri Fowlkes

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