2005 Golf Tournament & Long Drive Contest
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Can long-drive golf competition get any better than this: A young golfer, Jeff Swihart of Jackson, Michigan, who had only competed in four prior events took the top money of $10,000 at the Laughlin Memorial Hospital Annual Tennessee Long Drive Shoot-out and Pro/Am Tournament. Someone was overheard as saying . . . “Well, that’s what makes the sport of long-drive golf so exciting; on any given day, a talented newcomer or a seasoned veteran can step onto the tee box . . . and win a major shoot-out.”
The grid workers phoned-in the measurement of 370 yards for Swihart, creating a new champion for the event that took place at the No. 1 tee at Graysburg Hills’ Knobs Course. Was it easy? No. Swihart had just outdistanced veteran long-driver Vince Howell by three yards, while beating a group of golfers that resembled a World Championship field.
Current World Long Drive Champion Dave Mobley finished third at 363 yds.
Jason Chester of Georgia and Dave Mobley of North Carolina were the two wild card entrants into the finals.
Local long-driver Bart Hartsell made it into the quarterfinal round with a 357 yard drive to his credit.
Last year’s champ, Danny Luirette, was eliminated in the semifinal round, but he went home as the professional winner of the Pro-Am Tournament.
Sean Fister, The Beast, two time world champion, also competed in the event.
Long driver, Scott Smith, who holds the world record of 539 yards, also hit the longest ball in the shoot-out. Smith blasted the ball 380 yards.
The Long Drive Event
The Laughlin Memorial Hospital sponsored event always brings out some of the best long drivers in the world, and this year’s event was no exception.
“This is the best,” Swihart smiled. “You’re going against the same people that are at the world (championship), especially when you get to the semifinals.”
The top 15 finishes in the long drive are as follows:
|1st||Jeffery Swihart - 370 yds - $10,000|
|2nd||Vince Howell - 367 yds - $4,900|
|3rd||Dave Mobley - 363 yds - $3,900|
|4th||Tim Hanley - 360 yds - $2,750|
|5th||Dave Gurekis - 355 yds - $2,200|
|6th||Brooks Baldwin - 354 yds - $1,900|
|7th||John Downey - 353 yds - $1,600|
|8th||Jason Chester - 344 yds - $1,300|
|9th||Matthew Eicholtz - 344 yds - $1,000|
|10th||Tom Peppard - 342 yds - $700|
|11th||Steve Magan - 341 yds - $500|
|12th||Scott Smith - 340 yds - $500|
|13th||Danny Luirette - 340 yds - $500|
|14th||Chad Roberts - 339 yds - $500|
|15th||Robbie Biershenk - 339 yds - $500|
PRO/AM TOURNAMENT WINNERS
B. Braun team (not available for picture), first low net. Stan Beardon; Fletcher Powell; Tim Cokkinias; Matt Cash; and Jeff Williams, professional long driver.
META Associates second low net. (L to R) Brooks Baldwin, long drive professional; Travis Beaty; Chuck Whitfield, president and CEO of LMH, and his son, Trey; and Andy Collignon.
Greeneville Federal Bank first low gross. (L to R) Brandon Hull, Johnny
Honeycutt; Danny Luirette, professional long driver. Not available for photo:
Doug Debusk and Mitch Cox.
Each year the long drive professionals have taken great interest in the
Junior Golf Clinic. The visiting professionals take time from shoot-out
competition to work with the young golfers on their driving, putting, and
chipping skills. Autographs and general encouragement provide smiles
on the faces of the participants. “It’s a very special part of the event,”
said Scott Smith, Chad Roberts, and Dave Mobley, who worked with
the young golfers during the clinic.
Bart and Geraldine Hartsell and their
long-drive friends were honored at the
awards banquet for their philanthropic
support of Laughlin Memorial Hospital.
Larry Coughlin and Tom Gregory, co-chairs of the 2005 event, commented, “It was a premier golfing experience again this year; everything came together for an exciting event. We appreciate all our sponsors and volunteers who made it happen. We are more than pleased with the revenue mission of the tournament: healthcare scholarships. This community desperately needs graduating high school seniors and others to pursue education in the critically needed areas of the healthcare profession; revenue from this event is a tremendous support.”
They continued, “We especially thank Bart and Geraldine Hartsell, our partners in this charity event, and their long-drive friends, who come here each year from across the nation to help us raise scholarship funds.”
For additional pictures and story: http://www.geocities.com/bwinters2000/prolongdrivers.htm