BY REBECCA PALMER
WEST BOUNTIFUL — Some of the best long-drive golfers in the world converged on quiet Lakeside Golf Course here last weekend, but the golfer from Layton walked away champion.
Ryan Winther’s two drives totaling 437 yards each were the longest of the day in the Rockwell Long Drive Championship, held Friday, but Ryan Reisbeck* won it on a 422-yard drive in the final round. He took home $6,000 in winnings.
The next day saw the Re/MAX world championship qualifier. The final event will take place in Mesquite and Las Vegas this fall.
This was the second year Lakeside hosted each event. It recently extended its driving range, which allowed it the opportunity.
“It was my favorite tournament of the year — its just the atmosphere,” said Vince Cirulini, who has taken second place in the world championships for he last two years. “As professional long-ball whacker stuff, this is what we love.”
Last year, Winther won the Re/MAX world championship and hit a 469-yard drive in qualifying rounds, a new record for the competition.
In the long drive events, each golfer gets two minutes and 45 seconds to launch long drives into a grid-like landing area. The balls must land and stay in play to qualify.
“I think this is fantastic,” said Riesbeck, who acted as event spokesman. “There are very few driving ranges anywhere in the world that have the ability to host something like this.”
West Bountiful Mayor Ken Romney sees the events as advertising for the city-owned course. Both are revenue-neutral for the city, he said, but he added that he thinks anybody who golfs should come out to watch next year. The city has a 5-year contract for the events.
*This article has been corrected to reflect that Ryan Reisbeck was champion at the Rockwell Long Drive Championship. Ryan Winther, originally identified as the winner, took second place.