The World Long Drive Association will head to the Oklahoma / Texas border for the WinStar Midwest Slam (August 2-4), which will serve as a prelude to the Volvik World Long Drive Championship in a little more than a month’s time. The 36-man field competing in the Tour event will showcase eight of the top-10 competitors in the World Long Drive rankings, including World No. 1 Justin James (Jacksonville, Fla.) returning to the site of his victory last September where he claimed the World Championship belt.
TOUR EVENT STORYLINES & DEFENDING CHAMPION: Contested last May, the 2017 WinStar Midwest Slam saw World No. 12 Landon Gentry (Jacksonville, Fla.) defeat Paul Howell (Wilson, N.C.) in the final, with Gentry utilizing a 403-yard drive to claim the title.
In lieu of a waiting list, the WLDA will stage a Tour Qualifier for 16 competitors on Friday (August 3) for the chance to compete in Saturday’s Tour event. Much like a “Monday qualifier” on golf’s professional tours, it will be staged as an Open qualifier, with 16 competing for four spots in the Tour event field. The format will be five sets, with point totals accrued and the top-four advancing to the Tour Event. The Tour event then will proceed with four “pods” of nine competitors with point totals determining those who advance.
2018 VOLVIK WORLD LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING: Competitors registering for their chance at qualifying for the 2018 Volvik World Long Drive Championship will have an opportunity to showcase their skills on Thursday-Friday, August 2-3. Four preliminary qualifying rounds (formerly known as local qualifying) will take place on each day, with four competitors from each advancing to a 16-man final qualifier (formerly regional qualifying) in the afternoon. The top-three competitors from the final qualifier each day (using a points system) will advance to the 2018 Volvik World Long Drive Championship in September, for a total of six spots up for grabs.
TOUR EVENT FIELD (IN ORDER OF WORLD RANKING): Justin James, Maurice Allen, Ryan Reisbeck, Tim Burke, Trent Scruggs, Paul Howell, Mitch Grassing, Jeff Gavin, Landon Gentry, Kyle Berkshire, Justin Moose, Kevin Shook, Steve Monroe, Jason Eslinger, Troy Teal, Eddie Fernandes, Mark Costello, Stephen Kois, Jeremy Easterly, Scott Kalamar, Wes Patterson, Brady Torbitt, Ben Tuaone, Spencer McDaniel, Mitch Dobbyn, Jim Waldron, Patrick Hopper, Press LaBrie, Bryan Kelly, Daniel Lambert, Anthony Thomas and Jacob Golliday.
WORLD RANKING POINTS UP FOR GRABS: World Long Drive Ranking Points: 1st – 800 points; 2nd – 600 points; 3rd & 4th – 400 points; 5th – 8th – 200 points; 9th – 16th – 100 points; 17th – 36th – 50 points.
CURRENT TOP-10 IN WORLD LONG DRIVE RANKINGS: No. 1 – Justin James; No. 2 – Will Hogue; No. 3 – Maurice Allen; No. 4 – Ryan Reisbeck; No. 5 – Ryan Steenberg; No. 6 – Tim Burke; No. 7 – Trent Scruggs; No. 8 – Paul Howell; No. 9 – Mitch Grassing; No. 10 – Jeff Gavin.
GRID: WinStar Golf Club & Academy, 10813 Pro Shop Rd., Thackerville, OK 73459