Eight long drivers move on to finals in Las Vegas

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The final eight from left to right, Daniel Beckman, Jeff Crittenden, Matt Hanger, Jamie Sadlowski, Joe Miller, Adam Smith, Jeff Flag and Connor Powers. Photo by Lou Martin

The final eight from left to right, Daniel Beckman, Jeff Crittenden, Matt Hanger, Jamie Sadlowski, Joe Miller, Adam Smith, Jeff Flag and Connor Powers. Photo by Lou Martin

Saturday morning started with 32 of the world’s longest long drivers still in the hunt for the big $250,000 winner take all prize at the Re/Max World Long Drivers contest which will be held on November 4 at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. The day ended with eight long drivers still standing at the conclusion of three days of intense competition. Five of last year’s eight competitors fell by the wayside. Former world champions Matt Hanger, Jamie Sadlowski and big Joe Miller from London England will return with newcomers Daniel Beckman, Adam Smith, Jeff Crittenden, Jeff Flag and Connor Powers.

Sixteen golfers from the winners bracket were up first to begin the day’s contest. They competed in groups of four. Two winners from each group would move on to the final 12 and the losers would move on to the losers bracket for a chance to continue.

Jeff Crittenden and former world champ Mike Dobbyn were the first to move on with drives of 414 and 402 respectively. Big Joe Miller and Jeff Gavin continued on with drives of 410 and 412 yards. Jeff Flag and Connor Powers qualified in the third group with drives of 403 and 393 yards. The final winners bracket group winners were Ben Tuaone 414 yards followed by Matt Hanger 407 yards.

The pressure increased for the sixteen losers bracket competitors as two long drivers from each group would advance to the next round against the losers from the afore mentioned winners bracket. Advancing were winners Cam Swanson with the longest drive of the day 443 yards, Ryan Reisbeck 426 yards, former world champ Jamie Sadlowski 424 yards, Dan McIntosh 419 yards, Chris Bennetts, Jeff Grear 411 yards, Adam Smith 409 yards and Will Hogue 405 yards.

The pressure continued to mount as 16 competitors were left competing for four spots in the final round. Ryan Reisbeck led the group of eight with a drive of 435 yards followed by Adam Smith’s drive of 428 yards. Also moving on were Jamie Sadlowski 419 yards, Glenn Wilson 419 yards, Will Hogue 414 yards, Daniel Beckman 415 yards, Aaron Mansfield 409 yards and Dan McIntosh 403 yards. Surprising loser in this round was former world champion, Jason Zuback.

The eight winners of the previous round moved on to round 11 where four would advance to the final 12 against the eight winners of the loser’s bracket. The winners were Adam Smith, Daniel Beckman with longest drive of this round 430 yards, Glenn Wilson and two time world champ Jamie Sadlowski.

Now it was the eight competitors in the winner’s bracket going head to head with four winners moving on to Vegas and the four losers competing against the four winners of the loser’s bracket. Moving on to Vegas were the top qualifiers Matt Hanger 403 yards, Connor Powers 402 yards, Jeff Flag 397 yards and last year’s Las Vegas runner-up London resident Joe Miller.

The pressure fell to the last eight competitors for four remaining spots. Advancing were Jamie Sadlowski 409 yards, Jeff Crittenden 398 yards, Adam Smith 397 yards and final qualifier, Daniel Beckman 396 yards. A surprising non-qualifier crowd favorite Ben Tuaone from Utah who was fifth in the final group.

Big Joe Miller from London England stretches out to defeat Ben Tuaone to advance to the elite eight. Miller hopes to improve on his runner-up status in last year’s championship. Photo by Lou Martin

Big Joe Miller from London England stretches out to defeat Ben Tuaone to advance to the elite eight. Miller hopes to improve on his runner-up status in last year’s championship. Photo by Lou Martin

“I knew I had to get a good one, feels good to be back,” said Joe Miller from England. “My swing is a lot better than when I won in 2010. I have better control and seem to be in control of my swing. I’m looking forward to Vegas. I go home to London tomorrow (Sunday) and return in November.”

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