Welcome to SoCal. Yucca Valley, California was the first stop of the year for 2017 World Long Drive Championship local qualifying. Big names and fresh faces were spotted up and down the range at Hawk’s Landing Golf Club, all hoping to grab one of four WLDC invitations.
On Day 1, two familiar names to World Long Drive enthusiasts schooled the competition. Kody Zurek and Stan Ramsey were the first two to qualify and earn exemptions to WinStar World Casino & Resort in September.
Zurek advanced from the Winner’s Bracket with drives of 440, 443 and 442. Stan Ramsey lost in the first round and was sent to the Loser’s Bracket to fight his way out. In Round 3, Ramsey mashed a 437 yard drive that kept him alive, followed by tape measure shots of 444 and 456 to put him in the round of 8 with the last exemption of day up for grabs. Facing two strong hitters in Kyle Blakely and Press LaBrie, both who took it 450+ in their previous rounds, Ramsey unloaded the second longest drive of the day, a 464 yard monster to advance to Worlds.
Day 2 of local qualifying at the Endless Summer Invitational welcomed two new faces to World Long Drive. Travis Britt of Santa Monica, California put on a strong performance and advanced out of the Winner’s Bracket by defeating veterans Mitch McDowell (425) and Spencer McDaniel (445) with an impressive drive of 458. Britt would be joined by fellow newcomer Kyle Berkshire who battled out of the Loser’s Bracket with a winning drive of 415 in Round 8.
Once local qualifying was finished, Ben Tuaone defeated Justin James to win the 2017 Endless Summer Invitational.
Veterans and rookies fought it out throughout the weekend. The sport of Long Drive is alive and well.