It’s finals day in Kingsport, Tennessee and the best of the Open Division started with the round of thirty-two. Round two would take the top eight performers from each group to advance into the round of sixteen later in the day. Going into the competition the top performers in group one included Josh Koch, Zach Holton and Martin Borgmeier. On only his third ball, Martin landed a shot at 384 yards. He continued his hot streak and accumulated 200 points in three of his five sets. Martin went on to have the longest ball of his group at 392 yards. Two other competitors, Zack Holton and Sean Johnson, also won three sets, making them the leaders of group one.
Kyle Berkshire dominated group 2 and won all five sets. He Impressed the crowd with a 396 yard ball, the longest of the group. The eighth and final spot to advance to the round of sixteen came down between Isaiah Joyner and Reid Russell. Reid, who was in the same group as Kyle in the last set, had to finish in 3rd or go into a blast off against Isaiah. He held on with a 390 yard ball, bumping him to the 7th seed of group two and secured a slot in the round of sixteen.
The athletes broke for lunch and returned to the tee at 1 p.m. to determine the final eight. The round of sixteen started with an upset, as 16th seed Will Hogue beat 1st seed Sean Johnson with a 393 yard ball. We would see another upset by 11th seed Seb Twaddell as he narrowly surpassed 6th seed Mark Costello by only two yards. Sam Attanasio and Kyle Berkshire were the final two to go head to head. Sam stepped to the tee and tried to take down Kyle Berkshire with a 384 yard ball but on his fifth swing, Kyle sent it 390 yards to lock in a quarterfinal spot.
The weather cleared and the fans packed the stands as the athletes prepared to make their Golf Channel season debut. The final rounds kicked off with the Women’s Quarterfinals. It was the battle of the Monicas, as Monica Lieving and Monica Borowicz-Cheney were the first to go head to head. With four of her six balls in bounds, world number one Monica Lieving, easily advanced with her longest drive of 327 yards. Phillis Meti struggled staying in-bounds but just got by to the final four with a 323 yard shot. Sandra Carlborg teed off against world number two Devon Casazza. In only her second event of the season, she put up three shots all over 300 yards in her set (300 yds, 310 yds, 314 yds). The final four ladies remained; Monica Lieving, Phillis Meti, Jeanine Minnick, and Sandra Carlborg. Phillis demonstrated her experience and shot a women’s tournament best of 343 yards, knocking Monica out of the running. Sandra, repeated another stellar set with her best ball of 315 yds advancing her to the finals. Experience speaks volumes as six-time world champion Sandra Carlborg, faced two-time world champion Phillis Meti in the finals. They went back and forth, but it would be Sandra’s 316 yard ball that would name her Women’s Division Champion in Kingsport, TN.
The Open Division was ready to go with its final eight competitors. The competition started with three upsets, this time 8th seed Jack Smith took out number one seed Will Hogue. Fifth seed Martin Borgmeier beat out 4th seed Colton Casto and 6th seed Seb Twaddell beat out 3rd seed Zack Holton. Kyle Berkshire advanced past Sam Judah with a 383 yard ball, twenty yards longer than Sam’s.
The first match of the semi-finals was Jack Smith vs. Martin Borgmeier. Both competitors have put up big numbers all weekend, but Jack Smith hit a ball that soared to 403 yards. Seb Twaddell and Kyle Berkshire were the next two competitors to fight for a finals spot. It was a tight competition but Kyle won the set by just one yard. Both final competitors, Jack Smith and Kyle Berkshire have been hot throughout the competition. The crowd were on their feet to see who’d take the title. Jack Smith was the first to hit a ball in-grid at 374 yards. Kyle responded with a 388 yard, but there was still an opportunity for both players to hit. Jack Smith went three for three with his best ball at 401 yards. Tension was high, as Kyle needed to do better than 401 yards to win. He felt short and Jack Smith officially became the WLD Kingsport, Tennessee Open Division Champion
The next event will be Oceanside, California September 29th- October 1st. All events including the amateur division will be streamed on the World Long Drive Youtube Channel.