Tubert Claims Victory in First-Ever World Long Drive Competition; James
Earns First Win of 2018 Three Weeks Before Defending World Championship
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
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
(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.
ABOUT WORLD LONG DRIVE ASSOCIATION
The World Long Drive Association is an organization that brings together golf’s longest hitters from around the globe. Emerging as one of golf’s most popular grass roots competitions – a finalist at the 2018 Cynopsis Sports Media Awards in the League of the Year for a Breakthrough Sport and Live Coverage of a Breakthrough Sport categories – sanctioned Long Drive events are open to amateur and professional golfers. With an Open Division, Women’s Division and Masters Division (Ages 45+), the sport appeals to golfers of all ages. The 2018 WLDA season consists of events across the United States and around the world, culminating with the Volvik World Long Drive Championship, Sept. 1-5, from WinStar World Casino & Resort on the Oklahoma / Texas border, where competitors will convene under the lights for the world title on Golf Channel. In 2017, World Long Drive coverage on Golf Channel featured three televised events, and across all telecasts (live and replay) airing across Golf Channel and NBC, 6.4 million unique viewers watched at least some portion of World Long Drive events, +295% vs. 2016, and the most-viewed season of World Long Drive on record (2013-2017, according to data released by The Nielsen Company).
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–