10 Competitors set to join LDA this fall; Mesquite’s Klein barely misses

On August 8 and 9 the Long Drivers of America held one of their divisional competitions in Mesquite to determine the golf world’s longest hitter.

Chad Klein, a resident of Mesquite and seven-year competitor, went up against 78 other men from around the country to qualify for September’s finals.

Left to right: Miles Mulkey ($400), 406 yards. Richard Moore ($1000), 412 yards. Ruben Carmona ($600), 409 yards. Photo by Kimberly Cazier

Left to right: Miles Mulkey ($400), 406 yards. Richard Moore ($1000), 412 yards. Ruben Carmona ($600), 409 yards. Photo by Kimberly Cazier

Richard Moore came in first hitting his ball 412 yards followed by Ruben Carmona at 409 yards and Miles Mulkey with 406 yards. These men will have the opportunity to come back to Mesquite September 25 to compete at the worlds championship finals.

Klein moved to Mesquite about 9 years ago from Pocatello, Idaho and lived near the Palms golf course where he saw his first Long Drive competition and thought to himself, “I can do that.”

And he has done quite well by having qualified for the world championship several times over the last four years. He even has his own fan club made up of friends from Sun City where he worked at Conestoga Golf Course for several years prior to starting his career in architecture. Being a newlywed since May, his wife Kaite was also there to lend her support along with several of his fans. Chad and Kaite are preparing to welcome their first child in February.

Chad Klein warms up for the competition on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Kaite Klein.

Chad Klein warms up for the competition on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Kaite Klein.

Chad competed in Salt Lake City in July against a field of 45 competitors, but was just short of making the top six that would go on to the world finals. So, he came back to Mesquite Saturday to try again, but was denied again, being just two yards shorter than needed to make the top ten.

“The morning was gorgeous, no wind at all and by the time I hit round seven, I switched drivers and there was a head wind. It messes with you mentally, and I think that was a factor with my overall game,” said Klein. “I want to be number one in the world, and it’s disappointing when there are so many factors that can keep you from that. Every year it seems to get harder to hit the ball longer. I’ll just work through the winter and do my best for next year.”

In September, when the 128-man field comes to Mesquite to compete for the finals in Las Vegas in October, there may be three professionals to beat.

In an announcement from the LDA on Monday, the PGA held their first Long Drive Competition at the PGA Championship since 1984.

Louis Oosthuizen took the long drive title at the PGA Championship with a drive of 340 yards. In addition, the organization has reserved coveted spots for Oosthuizen, Jason Day and Johan Kok (2nd and 3rd place finishers) in the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship to be held September 25-27, 2014 to try and qualify to become one of the eight finalists that will move on to Las Vegas on November 4, which will be aired live on the Golf Channel. The total purse for winning the final round is a winner-take-all purse of $250,000 and the World Champion title.

Photo Left to right: Gearhart, Inchcliff, Carmona, Rodriguez, Pridmore, Allen, Carriel, Mulkey, Moore, Walker. Photo courtesy of the LDA.

Photo Left to right: Gearhart, Inchcliff, Carmona, Rodriguez, Pridmore, Allen, Carriel, Mulkey, Moore, Walker. Photo courtesy of the LDA.

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