The Special Olympics North America Golf Championship took place in Seaview, New Jersey from October 2-5. 200 athletes and Unified Partners from across North America competed this year with competition in individual stroke and Unified team play.
Wilson County's Kody Montgomery and his Unified partner Michael Hallmark won the gold medal in Level 2, Division 1 with a lowest round score of 52. Montgomery and Hallmark have been playing for over ten years, but it was their first time playing in a tournament.
Montgomery had the opportunity to carry the torch in the opening ceremony and said he and his grandfather were “proud to have been there and chosen."
"The grass was longer, and the course was wet,” said Montgomery about the golfing conditions in New Jersey.
He prefers playing in hot weather, and the change in weather provided its challenges with some extra moisture on the course in the morning.
To prepare for the tournament, the Unified pair practiced at least two times a week to get used to taking every other swing. Montgomery also watches and plays golf frequently and was excited to be a part of such a big event.
The delegation from Tennessee also prepared matching shirts for each day of the competitions, which made them look elevated and cohesive from the rest of the competition. This was in large part to Cate Simon, Special Olympics Tennessee's Director of Competitions.
Not only did this tournament allow Tennessee athletes to hang out and get to know each other, but it also allowed them to meet athletes from other states. All the athletes had meals together and got to socialize in a less competitive setting.
A tremendous thank you to Special Olympics North America and Seaview Golf Club for being amazing hosts to our athletes.