THACKERVILLE, Okla. — Imagine hitting a golf ball over the top of the Empire State Building.
Mount Airy’s Justin Young drove a golf ball more than 400 yards Wednesday night — and remarkably it wasn’t enough to move on in the World Long Drive Championship.
To put this into perspective, the broadcast stated that the average amateur golfer between 20 and 50 years old has a drive of 253 yards. The average PGA Tour professional has a drive of 290 yards.
The local boy got a mulligan on Tuesday when his opponent cracked under pressure, but in the round of eight, Young faced the strongest competitor in the field.
Literally. Ryan Steenberg owns Fore Performance Gym in Rochester, N.Y., and he bulged out of his golf shirt.
Steenberg went first and cranked out a ball of 393 yards right down the center of the landing grid. He also had one nearly travel that far in the air before bouncing out to 413 yards.
That put a lot of pressure on Young, who struggled mightily in the prior round.
With eight balls to use Tuesday, Young missed wide right and wide left. When his opponent also failed to land one in the grid, Young had second life.
He sent a high ball almost 340 yards in the air, but on a wet field, the ball only trickled forward to 342 yards.
A light wind helped carry the ball more and also dried out the landing area for better bounce.
On his second ball, Young hit a ball 191 feet into the air, losing the cameramen who were searching for the ball in the 380-390 range. Nope, this ball rolled all the way out to 411 yards.
Young then hit another hard ball toward the right edge of the grid, but a bit of backspin caused the ball to stop quickly without that valuable roll.
So despite hitting a ball 69 yards further than the day before, Young was knocked out.