Fifteen years later, Kevin Hall carries vivid memories of his only previous start in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He remembers his birdie on No. 18 at Pebble, naturally, but he mostly remembers about 50 kids clamoring for his attention on the picturesque closing hole.

They were deaf. Hall is deaf. So he spent an hour with them after his round — immersed in spirited sign-language conversation, explaining his ambitions to play professional golf and, more than anything, connecting with his eager young audience.

“That was so much fun,” he recalled.  And what kind of impact has Hall had on kids over the years?

“I think what I’m doing encourages them to reach for the stars,” he wrote in an email interview.

Hall doesn’t count as the biggest name in this week’s field at Pebble Beach, but he brings one of its most inspiring stories. He’s a 38-year-old tour pro who has spent his career bouncing around the minor leagues, struggling to find traction on the course.

So you couldn’t blame him if he felt like an outsider, even if his engaging smile suggests otherwise.

Hall recalled one tournament in his youth, soon after he started to play in junior events. He went to register and the person in charge, upon realizing Hall was deaf, immediately placed him in the last group, with the worst players.

The round took nearly seven hours to complete, but Hall finished second in the tournament — and crossed paths afterward with the same man who made inaccurate assumptions about his game.

“The look on his face was priceless,” Hall wrote.

He grew up in Cincinnati, with parents Percy and Jackie and older sister Oris. Hall’s hearing was normal at birth, but he contracted meningitis at age 2 and abruptly entered another world, as Percy put it.

The Halls really had not spent time around deaf people, and suddenly they found themselves learning sign language and quickly adapting to their son’s situation. Percy talks a lot to Kevin to this day, and he reads his dad’s lips.

Long ago, Percy and Jackie Hall decided they did not want to sequester Kevin. They tried, as best they could, to keep him on parallel paths.

“We tried to make it so he’s living in the hearing world and the deaf world — we wanted him to be able to function in both,” Percy Hall said. “So we introduced him to a lot of things, including various tests that deaf kids didn’t have to take. We made him take them because he was living in both worlds.”

His first swing, with a driver, sent the ball about 125 yards with the “prettiest little draw,” by his recollection. He was instantly hooked. Hall set aside his other sporting interests — he also played baseball and was a nationally ranked bowler — and committed himself to golf, fascinated by the enduring challenge.

Pebble Beach Pro-Am

When: Thursday-Sunday

Where: Pebble Beach

and Spyglass Hill

Who: 156 PGA Tour pros (no amateurs, spectators this year)

TV: Noon-3 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Golf Channel; 10-11:45 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Golf Channel; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Sunday Channel: 5Channel: 13Channel: 46

Notable players: Phil Mickelson, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth,

Francesco Molinari, Rickie Fowler

Last year: Nick Taylor won at 19-under-par, four strokes better than Kevin Streelman and five better than Mickelson

Purse: $7.8 million

($1.369 million to winner)

Fast forward to 2004, when Hall, then playing at Ohio State, conquered the challenge with a Tiger-like display. He won the Big Ten individual championship by 11 strokes, punctuating his Mother’s Day victory by exuberantly twirling Jackie — whose mother had just died — and telling her, “This was for you.”

Even so, Hall hasn’t duplicated this success as a pro. He’s missed the cut in each of his six PGA Tour appearances, including the 2017 Genesis Open at Riviera, and he’s made the cut three times in 12 starts on what is now known as the Korn Ferry Tour (his best finish was a tie for 30th in 2005).

“Sometimes, he puts undue pressure on himself,” Percy Hall said. “He wants to do well not just for himself, but also for other people. … You can’t take the whole world on your shoulders: the deaf community, the Black community.”

In recent years, Hall’s odyssey through the game’s various mini-tours led him to the Advocates Professional Golf Association (APGA) Tour, a circuit designed to diversify the game. Hall has three APGA wins and finished third in a 27-hole event Jan. 30 at Torrey Pines’ North Course in San Diego.

Kamaiu Johnson, another APGA tour pro, joined Hall in landing a sponsor exemption at Pebble Beach.

Hall would like nothing more than to make the cut and earn two extra rounds at Pebble. But his presence this week on the Monterey Peninsula speaks more to his diligence and unique perspective than his skill as a golfer.

“I see and think about the world a little differently because I can’t hear what’s going on,” he wrote in the email interview. “My education is through a lot of reading and keeping up with news. I interact with the hearing world every day, so I’m still in there, but I lose a little bit by not being able to hear. I just deal with it.

“It doesn’t challenge me a whole lot physically, because I can still hit the ball and putt like everyone else. The greatest challenge is traveling and being the only deaf person to play golf professionally here in America. I don’t get enough interaction with the deaf community, and that makes life lonely at times.

“I’m lucky to have my parents with me every step of the way and friends almost everywhere I go, so that helps take away some of the loneliness.”

Hall gained a measure of prominence in November, when CBS asked him to help narrate its introduction of the Masters. Hall spoke eloquently, and used sign language, to tell his story and set up an extraordinarily quiet Masters, without spectators or the customary roars they bring to Augusta National.

The segment was powerful, in part because it showed Hall’s abundant spirit.

“My phone blew up as soon as it aired,” he wrote. “The experience was very meaningful to me. I got to set foot on Augusta National, and also my passion for the game came across. People could kind of sense it through my facial expressions, body language and how I described watching golf and the Masters.”

Now he’s on to Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill — and this time he’s playing.