Close encounter of the third kind

McGinley just misses out again in world long drive championship

Wearside’s Rebecca McGinley has notched a second successive third-place finish in the World Long Drive Championship.

The Prudhoe-based pro qualified to take on the biggest hitters in the women’s game in Oklahoma after winning the American Golf UK Long Drive Championship.

Despite a hand injury, Rebecca cruised through the first five stages of the tournament finishing as third seed for the knockout quarter finals.

In tough conditions with a 15mph headwind and a damp landing surface, the quarter finals produced a display of power hitting from every competitor with Rebecca edging out Los Angeles-based Troy Mullins with a 297-yard monster hit. Progressing to the semi finals, Rebecca came up against number two seed Phyllis Meti from New Zealand.

“Phyllis is a great competitor so I knew it’d be a tough match up,” said Rebecca. “I wasn’t hitting the ball as well as I’d like as I’ve been struggling with a hand injury, but we were evenly matched and it just came down to who got the better ball away on the day.”

Taking the first set of six balls, Rebecca struggled for consistency but managed to get away a good drive of 290 yards. Phyllis took up the challenge and edged past with a 294-yard effort knocking Rebecca out and into third position.

Phyllis went on to secure the overall title with a 310 yard drive in the final with the very last ball of the tournament.

“To lose to the winner is some consolation but I know that I can do better,” said Rebecca. “I’ll be heading to my local American Golf next spring to start the qualification process for next year. This is my second year at the world championships and American Golf and Garmin have been a fantastic support in bringing me out here both years as their champion.

“I’m going to do my best to win the UK title in 2017 and will come back to look after some unfinished business.”

American Golf will be opening the UK qualifying for the 2017 World Long Drive Championships in the spring.