They say it only takes one ball in the grid to win it all and Ryan Winther from Lodi California proved it in the quarterfinals going 393 yards on his last shot after going out of bounds on five straight shots to move into the semifinals of the WLDC championship. Moving into the semifinals with Winther, were Canadian Jamie Sadlowski with a drive of 389 yards, Tim Burke from Washington D.C. with 385 yards and Landon Gentry of Jacksonville Florida with 379 yards. Sadlowski displayed his power, with four of his six balls over 380 yards.
The wind which is critical in long drive competition began to blow after the first semifinal match between Gentry and Winther. Winther prevailed with a drive of 366 yards to 355 yards for Gentry. “I just need to hit my ball," said Winther after his match.
Sadlowski’s decision to hit second in his match with Burke may have been his downfall as Burke was able to keep one ball 354 yards on the grid before the wind became more intense. All of the golfers in the preliminary rounds were able to stroke a few balls over 400 yards as the wind blew out. Sadlowski could not compete with the wind and had to settle for 339 yards on his last drive of the day and was eliminated.
Burke took the lead in the finals with a drive of 335 yards on one of his first three balls. Winther went off the grid on his first two balls before letting out a scream as he drove 343 yards to take the lead. Burke had three chances to make up eight yards but the wind and the pressure of a $150,000 ball was just too much as his last two shots went out of bounds off the grid. Winther’s win also has a side benefit, automatic qualifying for future championships.