SAN DIEGO — When golfers arrive at the 39th Annual UCP Golf Classic on August 16th, they'll be met on the putting green with a big smile. In this Zevely Zone, I met a boy filled with a love for golf and life. Mikey Manka has been playing golf for his entire life, so when the UCP Golf Classic needed a golfing greeter, the five-year-old was their hole in one. Mikey will be waiting to greet golfers on the putting green with advice on how to hit the long ball.
"I just line it up and send it like a rollercoaster," said Mikey.
The UCP Golf Classic is a fundraiser for United Cerebral Palsy of San Diego County. Mikey was born with a bleeding brain which led to mild paralysis and lives with Cerebral Palsy.
"A lot of fear, a lot of unknown because they gave us the prognosis of him never being able to walk or sit up," said Mikey's mother Tina.
From day one, Mikey's father, Jeff, told us his son defied the odds.
"His attitude is just so uplifting," said Jeff. Tina then added, "He is very persistent. He will not stop until he gets what he wants."
Mikey's Instagram page shows his many interests that include golf, baseball, martial arts and playing the guitar. He is talented at so many things but talking may be at the top of the list.
"You meet Mikey, you are never going to forget Mikey, I think the neighbors knew his name before me," said his father.
Mikey's golf coach, Brian Kelley, said often it's Mikey teaching him lessons about life.
"Oh yeah, never give up and always enjoy what you are doing," said Brian.
When he was a child, Brian had a brain tumor, so he knows bravery when he sees it.
"Wakes up every day with a smile on his face and gets after it," said Brian. "It's contagious."
Mikey's joy was recently on full display at Petco Park at the Park in the Park where he hit a homerun.
"I smashed it right out of the park, then I ran the bases and took off my helmet and said yeah!" said Mikey.
"I am just so proud," said his mother with tears in her eyes.
We all are proud of a little boy who dares to dream big. Mikey's favorite golfers are Ricky, Phil, Tiger and Rory which made us wonder: Can he putt like the pros?
The five-year-old stood over an eight-foot pressure put and drained it right in the heart of the cup. "Yeah, crushed it," yelled the boy who drives for show and puts for dough because Mikey Manka is the big dog.
The 39th Annual UCP Golf Classic to benefit United Cerebral Palsy of San Diego County takes place on Monday, August 16th at the El Camino Country Club. Entry fee is $325 per person - $1,180 per foursome and includes lunch, green fees, golf cart, dinner, tee prizes and refreshments.
For more information click here.
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