Championship Tuesday at the Re/Max World Long Drive Championship lived up to all expectations as six champions were crowned. A large crowd greeted and hooted for their favorite long drivers for three hours of intense competition Tuesday morning.
Eight long drivers survived 22 rounds of competition to meet Tuesday morning in the Senior Division championship. Four long drivers went head to head in two groups with two players moving on from each group. Jeff Gavin, fellow Canadian Keven Blankhorn, Scott Smith and George Slupski qualified for match play. Gavin defeated Slupski 369 yards to 365 yards in the first match. Blankhorn hit a monster drive of 394 yards to defeat Smith. Gavin then defeated fellow Canadian Blankhorn with a drive 384. It was Gavin’s first World LDA title trophy plus a winning purse of $20,000.
The Re/Max World Long Drive competition continues tomorrow with last chance qualifying for the Open Division championship. Saturday eight golfers will be left standing to determine who goes on to the World LDA at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on November 4 at 10pm E.T. The winner will receive a purse of $250,000.
First up was the Masters Division with Roy Bechtol, Rick Scott and Buzz Burger going up in head to head competition. Scott won out with a drive of 320 yards followed by Burger with 310. Iowa native Scott garnered the first prize of $7000 for his efforts.
In a battle of former World LDA Champions big Mike Gorton prevailed in the Legends Division in match-play competition. Gorton eliminated former champ Jack Crutchfield with a drive of 348 yards to 329 yards for Crutchfield. He then faced former champ Steve Griffith who defeated Thomas Proben 327 yards to 314 yards. Gorton defeated Griffith 332 to 321 yards to win the championship and a purse of $11,000.
Former Champ Sweden’s Sandra Carlborg returned to the winning circle defeating two opponents. Carlborg first dispatched amateur Hayley Vandenberg with a drive of 306 yards to Vandenber’s drive of 275 yards. Carlborg then faced returning champion Heather LeMaster in the finals. Facing elimination with her last shot, Carlborg hit a massive drive of 332 yards to regain her championship. Carlborg won $8,000 for her efforts.
The Grand Champions Division was next up featuring three LDA Hall of Famers and newcomer from Canada in match play competition. Bobby Wilson defeated Canadian Daniel Fournier 353 yards to 337 yards. Hall of Famers Pat Dempsey and Frank Miller, who each have four championship rings, battled in the other semi-final match Dempsey winning with a drive of 361 to 341 yards for Miller. Wilson and Dempsey joked about the number of years they have faced each other before teeing up. Dempsey led Wilson 358 yards to 356 yards after three balls. Wilson then drew back and put one out for 364 yards to take the title.
Vince ‘Pasta Man’ Ciurluini said his dreams came true after 18 years competing at the World LDA Championship, winning the Super Seniors Division after placing second in all divisions during that time. Ciurluini defeated Mike Barbarosa quite easily 373 yards to Barbarosa’s 344 yards. He then went head to head with Johan Tumba of Sweden. ‘Pasta Man’ Ciurluini had the winning drive right out of the box with 359 yards. He finished with a 372 yard drive to Tumba’s 350 yards. He won $14,000 for his afternoon work. Photo by Lou Martin.
Masters (65+ — 3-player final)
- Rick Scott — Sioux City, IA (324)
2. Buzz Burger — Glen Mills, PA (310)
- Roy Bechtol — Austin, TX (304)
- Mike Gorton — Erie, CO (332)
- Steve Griffith — Hamilton, OH (321)
- Sandra Carlborg — Gothenburg, Sweden (333)
- Heather LeMaster — Sacramento, CA (315)
Grand Champions (55+)
- Bobby Wilson — Southlake, TX (364)
- Pat Dempsey — Sunland, CA (358)
Super Seniors (50+)
- Vince Ciurluini — Los Angeles, CA (372)
- Johan Tumba — Bromma, Sweden (350)
- Jeff Gavin — Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (384)
- Kevin Blenkhorn — Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada (361)
WEDNESDAY, September 24
THURSDAY, September 25
THURSDAY, SEPT. 25 WILL START ONE HOUR EARLIER
The start time for the Open Division Day One on Thursday, Sept. 25, has been moved up by one hour to 8:00 AM PST. The change was made due to the forecast of high winds in Mesquite in the afternoon and to create the best possible conditions for competitors.
- 9:00 AM Open Division Qualifying Groups 1-2 Rounds 1–7
- 10:30 AM Open Division Qualifying Groups 3-4 Rounds 1–7
- 12:30 PM Open Division Qualifying Groups 5-6 Rounds 1–7
- 2:00 PM Open Division Qualifying Group 7-8 Rounds 1–7
FRIDAY, September 26
- 9:00 AM Open Division Qualifying Group 9-10 Rounds 1–7
- 10:30 AM Open Division Qualifying Group 11-12 Rounds 1–7
- 12:30 PM Open Division Qualifying Group 13-14 Rounds 1–7
- 2:00 PM Open Division Qualifying Group 15-16 Rounds 1–7
SATURDAY, September 27