Begay III gifts golf clubs for Los Alamos HS trio to replace stolen gear - Albuquerque Journal

Begay III gifts golf clubs for Los Alamos HS trio to replace stolen gear

Notah Begay III, left, offers pointers to Los Alamos High players, from left, Conner Cook, Natalie Crawford and Gabrielle Mowrer after gifting them with golf clubs. The players’ clubs were stolen in May before they were to compete in the state tournament. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Conner Cook, a recent graduate of Los Alamos High School, will start classes at the University of New Mexico on Monday with a set of new golf clubs and a renewed positive outlook.

He was unsure about trusting people after his clubs were stolen just before the state tournament started on May 9. Cook’s teammates, Gabby Mowrer and Natalie Crawford, also had their clubs stolen.

Cook, 18, said he saw the aftermath at a hotel on Jefferson Street near Interstate 25. That’s where Los Alamos’ team SUV was parked, he said. Cook had dinner with his mother and grandmother on Mother’s Day, the night before he saw the back window of the SUV had been smashed away.

“The clubs were gone; they even took the floor mats out of the vehicle,” said Cook, who was making his third appearance at state. “It was very frustrating. I was just thinking that I had to keep my composure to play the tournament.”

Cook soon knew he could play because staff from Santa Ana and Twin Warriors Golf Clubs helped provide replacement clubs for the event that was played at the golf courses on the Santa Ana Pueblo.

Later in the day, Notah Begay III, with the help of Realty1 of New Mexico, told the three players they would replace their clubs with a set of new ones. On Monday, at the Realty1 offices in Albuquerque, Begay presented Cook, Mowrer and Crawford with new PING clubs, along with a golf bag.

Begay, the four-time PGA Tour winner who starred at Albuquerque Academy and Stanford, said he immediately thought, “How can we replace the clubs,” when he found out they were stolen from the three Hilltoppers. This year, the state tournament was known as the NB3 State Golf Championships presented by Realty1 of New Mexico so Begay found out quickly about what had happened.

“We all come across bad things that happen in life,” Begay said. “It’s at that time we have to come together and try to support each other. The same partners, R1, Santa Ana Golf Club, they’re great groups to work with. There was no hesitation to get this done.”

Cook said he will use the clubs to practice for amateur events he plans to play in the future while he juggles his academic work, majoring in Electrical Engineering.

“It was awesome,” Cook said of receiving the new golf clubs. “I had no faith in people after the clubs got stolen. But this was an awesome feeling, knowing that you can trust people and they want to help you out.”

Begay gave the three Hilltoppers advice along with the clubs, and a demonstration during a press conference.

“I think I was more excited than the kids,” Begay said. “I love supporting the NMAA and high school athletes. It was wonderful to be a part of that and we were all fortunate to help.”

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