Long Drive Championship, American Golf, at High Legh Golf Club 19th August 2016

Rebecca has the drive to succeed

Brilliant performance sees McGinley defend her title and win a place in the world final

Big-hitting Rebecca McGinley is through to the final of the American Golf Long Drive Championship for a second time.

The North East pro, from Prudhoe, gave another incredible display of power hitting to defend her UK title at Warrington’s High Legh Park.

Victory meant she picked up a top prize from Garmin but, more importantly, qualify for the World Long Drive Championship in Oklahoma for the second time.

Rebecca went into the final as hot favourite after winning the 2015 event and going on to finish third in last year’s world final.

She hit the ground running in her opening head-to-head match with a mammoth drive of 318 yards – but it didn’t all go her way with a strong challenge mounted by newcomers Olivia Raybould, Lorna McClymont and Rebecca O’Grady. All three registered drives in excess of 260 yards with finalist Olivia Raybould topping out at 285.

In the final, Rebecca hit a drive of 299 yards in her first set of three. With Raybould unable to match it from her first or second set she was crowned American Golf Long Drive champion and booked her seat on the plane to Oklahoma.

“I’m so pleased to have defended my American Golf Long Drive title,” she said. “The competition was tough this year so I was pleased to get a couple of 300 yard drives on the board.

“Now I’ve qualified for the world final, I’m going to have to up my game. I know if I put the work in I can do American Golf and Garmin proud and hopefully bring back a better finish than my third place last year.”

Daniel Gathercole, director of marketing and communications at American Golf, added: “Rebecca has been a fantastic ambassador for American Golf throughout her year as champion.

“Now she has a year’s more experience, and two titles under her belt, I’m really excited to see what she can do at the World Championship.”

The Long Drive Championship is part of American Golf’s drive to get more people playing golf more often, and they are backing a series of new events including scratch and individual championships, a family cup, pitch and putt championship and adventure golf championships added to the junior championship, long drive, nine-hole, seniors and ladies tournaments.