With the stage set and the crowd electrified, the eight men and four women advancing to Monday night’s conclusion of the Tennessee Big Shots benefiting Niswonger Children’s Hospital put on a memorable show.
Kyle Berkshire, who won the ROC City Rumble last month in Rochester, N.Y., was the only player to eclipse the 400-yard mark during the live telecast. He did it in his final match against Tim Burke.
“Tim is a two time world champion, and it just happened to be a bad set [for him],” said Berkshire. “I’m just focused on what I’m doing. I don’t compete against a player, I compete against myself. I think that helps because even if someone does put up a big number, or if you’re facing world champions, I only worry about my shots.”
Berkshire, who took over the No. 1 world ranking with his win last month, is on a phenomenal run, but he’s not getting ahead of himself and treating the upcoming World Long Drive Championship any differently.
“To me, it’s just another long drive tournament. The objective is the same,” said Berkshire. “I don’t assign any higher meaning to it. Obviously, it’s the crown jewel of our sport, but in terms of how I feel over the ball and what I’m trying to do, it’s the same thing.”
In the Women’s Division, Alexis Belton, who had a whirlwind 24 hours that saw her arriving to town at nearly 5 a.m. on Monday morning, prevailed over three-time winner this season, Phillis Meti.
“I think I just had a better day [than Phillis]. So, I felt good. It felt good to finally have a good roll. It was awesome.”
Belton was both excited and exhausted after her win, and couldn’t even fathom thinking about the upcoming World Championship.
“This is definitely a confidence booster,” said Belton of heading to Worlds. “I’m just happy. Yeah, I can’t even think.”