In another thrilling tournament, Justin James and Sandra Carlborg won the Volvik World Long Drive Championship to submit their names in the history books.
After a day of upsets in the World Long Drive Championship, it was two of the biggest stars that came out on top. On the men’s side, it was World No. 3, Justin James who came away with the championship belt for his first title.
On the ladies’ side, it was Sandra Carlborg who captured her fifth world long drive title, cementing her legacy as arguably the greatest long driver of all-time. She defeated a rising star in Alexis Belton with a whopping 349-yard drive, and then knocked off former champ, Heather Manfredda to grab the belt.
Other than her five VWLDC wins, Carlborg has won three championships in Europe and five in Sweden, her home country. This world domination certainly would get Sweden golf great, Henrik Stenson on his feet.
With her win tonight on top of her numerous other titles, Carlborg may have just surpassed Jason “Golfzilla” Zuback as the best long driver in history. She did it not only with power but with pure accuracy as well, and it was that precision which sealed the deal for the 33-year-old.
Justin James knocked off the dangerous Nick Kiefer, who was one of the more accurate drivers of the night. After that, it was a finale against Mitch Grassing who defeated powerful rookie Kyle Berkshire a matchup earlier.
Justin James stepped up in pressure-packed World Long Drive finals
The finale didn’t quite have the excitement of the matches from the round of 16, but it was two great players under intense pressure. Both men hit their shots out of bounds on their first four balls.
It was Grassing’s turn, to try and put pressure on James. But, as the lights shined the brightest, that heated pressure got to the 22-year-old Canadian, as he OB’d his final four balls.
All James had to do now was keep his ball on the grid, and he’d grab his first VWLDC title. His best finish was third place at last year’s tournament, and this year he won twice already.
As he hit a mammoth drive that went over 420-yards, he knew the belt was his. At that point, he ran around like a wild horse and even jumped into the stands to celebrate with his family.
It was the third win of the season for James, and without a doubt, the biggest of his career. The 27-year-old has slowly built up a resume that could become legendary.
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He won the event and had a terrific season, even with greats such as Tim Burke, Joe Miller and Maurice Allen all still in their prime. It wouldn’t shock me though that someone else could wear the belt next year, with the field getting bigger than ever.
On another note, Jeff Crittenden won the Volvik World Long Drive Masters event. The 47-year-old is one of the most accurate drivers in long drive history, with his best finish being runner-up in the 2014 World Long Drive Championship. He also finished fifth in 2015.
It just shows that, much like regular golf, long drive is diverse with a rich group of young and experienced talent. So the night at the WinStar Casino in Oklahoma gave us a new winner in James and the cementing of a legend in Carlborg.
No matter how you may feel about World Long Drive competition, it is undoubtedly the most electrifying event in the sport of golf. And it continues to grow, as golfers hit the range, pulling the driver out, ready to hit that perfect tee ball.
What are your thoughts on the Volvik World Long Drive Championship and the sport of long drive as a whole? Let us know in the comments section. You can also hit me up on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio and be sure to keep it locked here at PGN for all the latest golf news.