Raleigh, N.C. — Nine Special Olympics North Carolina golf athletes and three partners competed in the 2015 Special Olympics National Invitational Golf Tournament at the Port Royal Golf Club, a Heritage Golf Group property in Hilton Head, SC. The event was held Sept. 11-13, 2015 according to Keith L. Fishburne, president/CEO of Special Olympics North Carolina.
A field of 240 golfers and Unified Partners representing the United States competed in one of five levels of competition – individual skills (Level 1), nine and 18-hole alternate shot team play – athlete is paired with a partner without intellectual disabilities, (Levels 2 & 3), and nine and 18-hole individual stroke play (Levels 4 & 5). All athletes participated in three rounds of competition at the Port Royal Golf Club.At each level of play, athletes were placed in divisions based on age, gender and ability level. KPMG served as the Presenting Sponsor of the tournament, with additional support from the PGA Tour and the United States Golf Association (USGA).
Local Special Olympics North Carolina programs represented include: Alamance County, Guilford/High Point, Harnett County, Moore County, Orange County, Surry County and Wake County.
The results of the 16th Annual National Invitational Golf Tournament are as follows:
- Alamance County: Phillip Buzzell and Richard Wilkerson (partner), Level 3 (18-hole alternate shot Unified play) – Bronze Medal
- Guilford/High Point: Tyler Butcher, Level 4 (nine-hole alternate shot) – Silver Medal
- Harnett County: Kelly Dixon, Level 1 (individual skills) – Gold Medal
- Moore County: Mark Childress, Level 1 (individual skills) – Gold Medal
- Moore County: Powierski, Christopher, Level 1 (individual skills – Gold Medal
- Orange County: Justin Jarmusz and Leo Jarmusz (partner), Level 2 (nine-hole alternate shot) – Gold Medal
- Orange County: Joey Kessler, Level 4 (nine-hole individual stroke play) – Fourth Place Ribbon
- Surry County: Brian Flippin and Dean Atkins (partner), Level 2 (nine-hole alternate shot) – Bronze Medal
- Wake County: Cole Hovey, Level 4 (nine-hole individual stroke play) – Gold Medal
Others in the Special Olympics North Carolina golf delegation included: Guilford/High Point: Michael Shea Bailey (caddie); Wake County: Jeff Hovey (caddie); Orange County: Craig Stopa (caddie); Moore County: Mark Childress Sr. (coach); Moore County: Vince Powierski (coach); Harnett County: Holly Watt (coach); Alamance County: MJ Wilkerson (chaperone): Michelle Bandklayder (Head of Delegation).
Photos of SONC athletes at the 2015 Special Olympics National Invitational Golf Tournament are available on the SONC Flickr site.
Special Olympics’ Golf Program began in 1988 with the assistance of The PGA of America and USGA. Both associations have contributed to the growth of the Program with grassroots training, rules education, tournament administration, and national program financial support. Currently, more than 22,940 Special Olympics North America Athletes participate in Golf Competition.
About Special Olympics North Carolina
Special Olympics North Carolina offers year-round sports training and competition for nearly 40,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. These athletes inspire greatness through their success and provide motivation to the thousands of coaches, sports officials, local program committee members and event organizers involved in Special Olympics statewide. SONC offers Olympic-type competition in 19 sports on local and state levels. Visit Special Olympics North Carolina at www.specialolympicsnc.com. Engage with us on http://twitter.com/sonc_beafan; http://www.facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsNC and http://www.youtube.com/BeAFanSONC.