VERNON - Aaron Vanderhoff tasted victory up close and personal. The Vernon High School golfer watched from the course as 24-year-old Sergio Garcia won a thrilling playoff at the Buick Classic at Westchester County Club on June 13. Vanderhoff was one of almost four dozen varsity golfers from Vernon who walked the course with professional golfers as the players prepared for the U.S. Open. "It was a great time," said junior Eric Wolk. "You can learn a lot from those guys and it is something I will never forget." It was Wolk's fifth time attending the Buick Classic with his coach Karen Mayer. But according to Wolk, who walked the course with Fred Couples, watching professional players never gets old. The sport's most prominent player, Tiger Woods, was not at the tournament this year. Mayer says that Woods appears at The Westchester every other year depending on when the U.S. Open is held. With the U.S. Open just one week away, Woods passed on the Buick Classic. The young golfers' one disappointment was not getting a chance to walk with Phil Mickelson. Since Mickelson teed off in the afternoon, and the Vernon golfers walked in the morning, the kids missed a chance to accompany one of the PGA Tour's most popular players. But they didn't miss him entirely. "We got to watch Phil play," said Mayer. "He is a wonderful man. We were all able to get his autograph and talk to him. The kids loved him. He is just a great person." Garcia took home a $945,000 purse for winning the Classic. But 42 young Vernon golfers got something just as valuable - an experience that will last a lifetime.