Garner, Berkshire Claim World Long Drive Titles

Chloe Garner of South Africa captured the Women’s Division and Kyle Berkshire of Crofton, Md., claimed the Open Division in the 44th World Long Drive Championships at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla.

Garner earned a measure of redemption after losing to Phillis Meti of New Zealand in the final each of the last two years, winning with a 347-yard drive on her fifth attempt. Meti, a three-time champion, fell a bit short with a drive of 344 yards.

“That was unbelievable,” said Garner, who defeated Alexis Belton with a 346-yard drive in the semifinals. “I felt really good going into it. I felt like I had found a good rhythm. I think maybe Phillis felt a bit more pressure having to back up those titles, whereas I was able to let loose.”

Meti defeated Troy Mullins with a 337-yard drive in the semifinals.

The top-ranked Berkshire won for the third time in the last six weeks on the long-drive circuit by taking down two-time world champion Tim Burke, of Orlando, Fla., with a drive of 406 yards.

Burke, who reached 374 yards on his eighth and final drive, claimed the title in 2013 and 2015.

“This feels awesome,” said Berkshire, who defeated Jordan Brooks of England in the semifinals. “It’s validated a lot of the hard work and sacrifice I’ve put into (being) the best, and I am the best right now. I look forward to raising that bar.”

Burke downed Emil Rosberg of Sweden in the semifinals with a 397-yard drive on his first attempt.

In the Masters Division, 48-year-old Jeff Crittenden of Greensboro, N.C., won for the second time in three years by beating defending champion Eddie Fernandes of Winter Garden, Fla., with a 388-yard drive.

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