PLDA’s “Desert Launch” March 5-7, 2021
… The 2021 long drive season officially kicked off this past weekend at the “Home of Long Drive” in lovely Mesquite, Nevada on the Mesquite Sports and Events Complex championship long-drive grid.
The weather was very nice, running between 65-to-75* with
some gentle breezes to keep the hitters honest, and all-in-all it was a near-perfect weekend to play some serious long-ball.
Kanani Lodge got things started in the right direction with a 320+ yard drive to win the Ladies Competition, while veteran Jim Heflin took down favorite Kevin Blenkhorn of Canada to win the Senior Division.
Some of the best long-drivers on the planet were there for the Open Competition and the chalk favorites didn’t disappoint with virtually all of them in-the-money as the Final Eight featured reigning World Long Drive champion Kyle Berkshire along with 2017 Champion Justin James as well as 2012 Champion Ryan Winther.
The other quarter-final finalists were only slightly less distinguished and included three-time TV Final Eight round finalist Will Hogue along with Josh Koch who won a tour event last year, in addition to Scottie Pearman who won both the ALD and XLD Championships in 2020.
Rounding out the field were first-timer Reid Russell and sophomore sensation Brandon Flynn who made his bones in 2020 by qualifying for the finals of several tour events.
When the dust settled, Brandon Flynn took home the 1st Place paycheck by defeating Justin James in the quarterfinals, Scottie Pearman in the Semi-Finals and Josh Koch in the Finals.
With a soft grid from the prior week’s rain along with some cross-winds in place, the final numbers were running from the mid-360s to the low 380s.
The PLDA is already showcasing a YouTube video on the finals on their website. So check that out.
Next stop on the PLDA Tour = Memphis, Tennessee.
XLD’s “East Coast Classic” March 5-7, 2021
… The XLD Xtreme Long Drive 2021 long drive season officially kicked off this past weekend with their East Coast Classic event at the ParTee Golf Center in West Columbia, South Carolina, which was hosted by XLD Commissioner and two-time World Long Drive Master’s Champion Jeff “Critter” Crittenden.
The Open Division tour event featured several top professional long drivers, all of whom are among the PLD’s top ranking, and each of them have made a trip to the televised TV Final Eight of the World Long Drive Championships. Those competitors included: Jim Waldron. Trent Scruggs, Rob Tiettmeyer, and Wes Patterson.
In a sport that is chock-full of 6’4”, 250-lb behemoths, 5’8” Trent Scruggs stands tall, and when the final ball had been hit he stood alone with the East Coast Classic winner’s paycheck in-hand after beating Jim Waldron in the final match with a 375.6-yard drive. Rob Tiettmeyer, who posted the long ball of the day at 410-yards, grabbed the third spot.
Trent got into long drive as its “newest sensation” at the tender age of 16 in 2011 when he qualified for his first World Long Drive Championship. He received mixed reviews during his first two years during which time he earned the forgettable nickname “That Scruggs Kid.”
Generally, Trent travelled in a Scrugg’s-pack with brother / instructor Trey and dad Maury, who is always ready for that “money shot,” so he carries more cameras around his neck than a Japanese tourist.
While most of the “hot new sensations” in long drive tend to disappear fairly rapidly after they have run-up against the hardened veterans of the sport, Trent worked at his craft to not just compete with the best, but to win against the best and in _ 2013 he put up an enviable record of making the Final Eight round of every WLD tour event, while getting wins at the East Coast Shootout, the Mile High Championship, as well as at the Dixie Classic.
Trent subsequently was ranked as high as Number 2 in the WLD world long drive rankings, and in 2016 he made a trip through qualifying rounds and made it all the way into the TV Final Eight at the 2016 World Long Drive Championships, which were televised live on the GOLF CHANNEL.
At this same event in the XLD Q-Series qualifying last week Trent also earned his entry to the XLD Championship on September 11-19, 2021 at the famous Cog Hill Country Club in Chicago, Illinois later this year by beating Kyle Gabbard in the Finals Round.
In the XLD Open Ladies Division ranked Mary Driscoll beat Kristin Tiettmeyer in the finals with a long-ball-of-the-day 320.1-yard drive.
The older men’s divisions featured some of best long-drivers who have ever graced the sport; former WLD Masters Division Finalist Mike Bauman won the XLD Masters 45+ division, while hometown favorite and two-time Master’s Champion Jeff “Critter” Crittenden won the XLD Seniors 50+ event, and former WLD Open and Seniors Division long-drive champion David Mobley won the XLD Super Seniors 55+ division.
The next major tour event and qualifying events on the XLD Tour are scheduled for April 17-18 at the home of long-drive, the Mesquite Events and Sports Complex in Mesquite, Nevada.
Check the XLD website for full details – see you there!