The first round of qualifying for the American Golf Long Drive Championship has been completed with a record number of 400+ yard hits making this the most fiercely contended opening round in history.
Local qualifying was held over 3 weeks at over 100 American Golf stores nationwide and has seen eight qualifiers hit over 400 yards top the leaderboard going into the regionals. With the bar set at new heights, more competitors than ever are in contention for the National title and the prize of a place in the 2018 World Long Drive Championship in Oklahoma.
The biggest hit on show was from 2017 finalist James Tait who stepped up at the American Golf Monument store to smash a 422 yard monster, narrowly edging out tournament newcomer Paul Woodcock who hit one yard less with 421 at the Trafford store.
The Over 45 category was equally hotly contested with 2015 Champion Steve Kent keen to regain a grip on the trophy with a category leading 377 yards at the Cardiff store, just one yard ahead of 2017 runner up David Willmore in Oxford. 2015 and 2016 Ladies Champion Rebecca McGinley has come back strong with a fantastic strike of 290 yards, completing our table topping returning favourites who are staking a claim to take back their coveted National titles.
One key new aspect of the 2018 event has been the introduction of tournament sponsor Callaway and the opportunity to hit three balls with the latest Callaway Rogue driver. Comparison of customers’ own drivers, vs the Callaway Rogue produced a remarkable 19 yard average increase in distance using the latest Callaway technology.
Nathan Dennis, Retail Marketing Manager at Callaway Golf, commented, “It has been fantastic seeing so many golfers trying the new Callaway Rogue Drivers to give themselves the best chance of qualifying in store. We wanted to be involved with this year’s event as it really is a celebration of every type of golfer letting loose and giving it all they’ve got. For us a brand it is fantastic to be at the heart of that, helping so many people get the best out of their game and seeing what Jailbreak Technology can do to unlock their distance potential.”
Matt Bacon, Head of Events at American Golf added, “The American Golf Long Drive Championship has grown to be Europe’s premier Long Drive competition and as such, the quality of participants has grown hugely. Anyone progressing to the regional finals has done incredibly well and I’m really excited to see how the next stage progresses. It’s been great to see some of the guys hitting even further than they thought they could by using the Callaway Rogue Drivers. It’ll be interesting to see how many people turn up at regionals having switched models!”
Competitors are now just one step away from the national finals. The top ten distances recorded in each category at regional qualifying will qualify for the final, to be held at Chester race course in August. Fans will be able to tune into Sky Sports to watch the best long drivers in Europe compete at the Final for an elusive spot in the World Long Drive Championships.