KINGSPORT, Tenn. (Aug. 13, 2018) – Emily Tubert (Burbank, Calif.) and Justin James (Jacksonville, Fla.) outlasted the field on Monday night in front of a standing-room only crowd at the World Long Drive Association’s inaugural Tennessee Big Shots benefiting Niswonger Children’s Hospital.
Tubert – an LPGA Tour player with conditional status – eclipsed Alexis Belton (Ruston, La.) in the Women’s Division final with a 322-yard drive on her fifth ball of the set in her first-ever World Long Drive competition. The Southern California native won’t have much opportunity to celebrate her first WLDA victory, as she’s planning to hit the road at 3:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday morning to drive straight to Indiana where she’ll squeeze in a practice round ahead of rejoining her LPGA Tour peers for the Indy Women in Tech Championship beginning on Thursday.
“There’s no rest for the weary,” Tubert said following her win. “This has helped me free up my swing. I’ve battled my demons, it’s been a rough year. But this was so much fun.”
On the men’s side, despite a successful year by many standards with multiple quarterfinal and semifinal appearances to-date, James ended his winless drought that dated back to the 2017 Volvik World Long Drive Championship; the same place where he’ll look to defend his title three weeks from Tuesday. James’ 396-yard blast in the final match was enough to get past the 393-yard drive of Kyle Berkshire (Orlando, Fla.).
“I just like to win,” James said following his first win of the season. “The people around me are really the story. That’s the reason I’m able to do what I do. I’m just an experiment. It’s always good to have a new venue like this. It’s the best crowd we’ve had all year, and I can’t wait to be back.”
“This is the reaction we’ve been waiting for all season from Justin James,” said Jonathan Coachman, play-by-play host for World Long Drive Association events on Golf Channel. “There is no need to apologize when you have emotion in this sport.”
The Tennessee Big Shots marks the penultimate WLDA competition of the year, with the season-culminating Volvik World Long Drive Championship taking place Aug. 30-Sept. 5. Golf Channel will showcase the conclusion of the World Championship live and in primetime under the lights beginning at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday-Wednesday, Sept. 4-5, from WinStar World Casino & Resort on the Oklahoma/Texas border.
OPEN DIVISION FINAL
(1) Justin James (Jacksonville, Fla.) def. (9) Kyle Berkshire (Orlando, Fla.)
WOMEN’S DIVISION FINAL
Emily Tubert (Burbank, Calif.) def. Alexis Belton (Ruston, La.)
OPEN DIVISION SEMIFINAL MATCHES
(1) Justin James def. (5) Ryan Steenberg (Rochester, N.Y.)
(9) Kyle Berkshire def. (2) Will Hogue (Memphis, Tenn.)
WOMEN’S DIVISION SEMIFINAL MATCHES
Alexis Belton vs. Phillis Meti (Auckland, New Zealand)
Chloe Garner (Johnson City, Tenn.) vs. Emily Tubert
OPEN DIVISION QUARTERFINAL MATCH RESULTS
(1) Justin James vs. (25) Wes Patterson (St Louis, Mo.)
(5) Ryan Steenberg vs. (8) Paul Howell (Wilson, N.C.)
(4) Ryan Reisbeck (Layton, Utah) vs. (9) Kyle Berkshire
(2) Will Hogue vs. (24) Stephen Kois (Wheaton, Ill.)
2018 WORLD LONG DRIVE ASSOCIATION SCHEDULE:
DATE EVENT LOCATION WINNER(S) / DEFENDING CHAMP
March 15-17 East Coast Classic West Columbia, S.C. Justin Moose
April 21-24 Clash in the Canyon (*Golf Channel*) Mesquite, Nev. Alexis Belton, Will Hogue
May 11-15 Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun (*Golf Channel*) Maricopa, Ariz. Phillis Meti, Will Hogue
June 4-5 Atlantic City Boardwalk Bash (*Golf Channel*) Atlantic City, N.J. Sandra Carlborg, Mark Costello
June 21-23 Bluff City Shootout Memphis, Tenn. Will Hogue
July 6-8 Bash For Cash Port Rowan, Ont., Canada Ryan Steenberg
August 2-4 WinStar Midwest Slam Thackerville, Okla. Kyle Berkshire
August 12-13 Tennessee Big Shots benefitting Niswonger Children’s Hospital (*Golf Channel*) Kingsport, Tenn. Emily Tubert, Justin James
September 1-5 Volvik World Long Drive Championship (*Golf Channel*) Thackerville, Okla. Sandra Carlborg, Justin James
Showcasing the truly global nature of World Long Drive, several events throughout 2018 are staged through officially sanctioned WLDA international partners, including stops in Germany, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom, along with an all-encompassing international qualifier for the Open Division of the Volvik World Long Drive Championship in September.