Canadian Jesse Florkowski of Medicine Hat, Alberta, became the first one arm golfer to go over the 300-yard mark in his first drive of the day. Florkowski continued to improve throughout the double-elimination rounds until he drove a 333-yarder to outhit fellow Canadian Bob McDermott of Sherwood Park, Alberta, who had a 304-yard drive in the Arm Championship. McDermott has an arm and a leg amputation and became the first in his category best the 300-yard mark.
Anthony Netto, San Diego, won the Paramobile division with a drive of 295-yards. Netto, who founded the “Stand Up and Play Foundation, is paralyzed from the waist down and hits with both arms from a mobile cart he designed that allows paraplegics to swing a club and play golf. One-armed Paramobile champion was Jake O’Donnell of Baldwin Park, California.
Bill Davis, a visually impaired golfer from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., became the first blind golfer to surpass the 300-mark in Mesquite when he hit a 324-yarder. Davis, a former World-Class decathlete before his eyesight became deteriorating, will join a larger group of blind competitors who are scheduled to attend the ParaLong Drive Worlds event next Oct. 16-17 in Mesquite.
The ParaLong Drive Nationals included some of the top disabled golfers from throughout the U.S. and Canada such as Brad Clayton, Oxford, N.C., who won the arm-assisted category; five-time North American One-Armed Golfer Association champion Vince Biser, Baltimore; and Alan Gentry, Louisville, who became the third arm amputee of the day to go over 300 with a 310-yard hit.
“The event was held in conjunction with Olympic Day 2014, where the ideals perseverance, participation, and respect for other participants and officials were personified in this special day in Mesquite,” said Bryan Dangerfield, Mesquite NV Director of Athletics and Local Organizing Committee Chair.
He said that Dean Jarvis, an above the knee amputee and founder of the Amputee Long Drive Championship from Maryville, Tenn., is the driving force behind getting respect for disabled golfers throughout the world and is using Long Drive as the vehicle.
“With Mesquite, Nevada being the Home of Long Drive, we knew disabled golf, and long drive in particular, has found a welcoming home,” said Jarvis. “Besides having the World’s Best Long Drive facility in the Mesquite Sports & Event Complex, Mesquite also has a well-trained, professional group of volunteers and corporate partners.”
The next disabled long drive event will be July 17-18 for the Amputee Long Drive Championships in Sevierville, Tenn. The event comes back to the Mesquite Sports & Event Complex for the ParaLong Drive Worlds on Oct. 16-17, when North America will tee off with athletes from throughout the world.
Other disabled golf championships will be held on golf courses in Mesquite this year with the North American One-Armed Golf Association National Championship event in June and the North American Disability Golf Partnership will have their Phoenix Cup Golf Tournament in October (North America vs. Rest of the world in a Ryder Cup format).
For additional information log on to www.amputeelongdrivechampionships.com and https://www.facebook.com/MesquiteNVParaLongDrive or call (702) 346-8732.