Brightspot is proud to be sponsoring the 2013 Congressional Pro-Am, on June 24th. In addition to those representing Brightspot, we have an incredible collection of golfers including gifted athletes with Intellectual Disabilities:
Matt James, a six-time Maryland state champion, was selected last year to compete in the 13th annual Special Olympics Golf National Tournament, which was held in Phoenix, AZ. Matt is a member of the Fore Sisters Golf Club, where last year he scored his second career hole-in-one with an ace on the 160-yard ninth hole.
David Sargent was the 2012 Outstanding Athlete of the year for Special Olympics Missouri. In addition to competing in bowling, golf, and basketball with SOMO, David (Davo) has been an Area Office intern for over a year, assisting with weekly tasks such as shredding, filing, equipment loading for events, and spreadsheet updates. He is very generous with his free time, volunteering with multiple organizations around the St. Louis area. Davo even took on the planning and creation of a haunted house at St. Louis Life for community members to enjoy, with the funds going back to benefit St. Louis Life. Davo enjoys the competitive side of SOMO sports, and though he does not have family residing around St. Louis, they always come to events to cheer him on.
Joel Murray is a long-time participant of Special Olympics and a very talented golfer. He was introduced to the game by his parents and has thus represented Special Olympics Louisiana in eight National Invitational Golf Tournaments, bringing home the championship at the 2009 National Invitational Tournament Level 5 play. At this event, he shot the lowest score in the history of the event. Joel not only loves the game of golf, but also has been an outstanding employee of Academy Sports in West Monroe for 7 years. Joel is an exceptional athlete, not only known for his numerous accomplishments and medals, but for his perseverance and drive to bring honor to his state, family, and himself.
Scott is a hard-working, talented young man who focuses on his love of golf and his love of playing with his father, partner and coach, Jeff Rohrer. Through his dedication to the sport he has been featured in various media outlets including WorldGolf.com, The Golf Channel, Golf Week, and PGA.com. When asked how Special Olympics has changed his life, he explains, "It has given me the opportunity to meet and compete with some great people." At the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games, he shot a 1-under-par 71, and became the only player in Special Olympics history to shoot three rounds in the 70s.
Grace Anne Braxton
Grace Anne Braxton, of Fredericksburg, VA, is the top-ranked female Special Olympics Golfer in the world. A VSGA member, Braxton won her most recent world championship at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece. Braxton finished with a 72-hole 383 (96-92-90-105) aggregate to claim the Division I women’s competition. She posted her second consecutive victory in the World Games, taking home a 36-stroke triumph in the division; she also claimed the world title in 2007 in China by 36 strokes. Braxton has long been a big name in Special Olympics, dating to 1991 when she won a gold medal in swimming at the World Summer Games. She’s served four years on the Virginia Special Olympics board of directors, and has been a Special Olympics Virginia athlete since 1982. In addition to her Special Olympics competitions, Braxton finished 12th in the 2010 Virginias Women’s Stroke Play Championship.
Michael “Boomer” Hedrick is a dedicated Special Olympics athlete, having spent 16 years involved in Special Olympics Connecticut. Over the years, Mike has participated in golf, track & field, bowling, and floor hockey. He is quite an experienced athlete and has traveled outside the state for competition several times, including the 1999 Special Olympics World Games. Mike participates in Special Olympics because he enjoys spending time with his friends as much as the competition itself, “to experience the ‘thrill of victory and the agony of defeat’ and to meet new people.”
David Curtin, a Special Olympics Virginia athlete from Springfield, VA, was a silver medalist at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece. He also was a gold medalist at the 2010 Special Olympics National Games in Lincoln Nebraska. David has been a Special Olympics athlete since 1994, and also competes in softball. During an interview about being a World Games golfer, Curtin said “This is the opportunity of a lifetime. I will get to show that people are not limited by their disabilities. Anyone can achieve their goals with hard work, practice and determination.”
Carl Hibbert is a Global Messenger and Special Olympics athlete from North Carolina. Carl started competing for Special Olympics when he was 10 years old. Carl graduated from high school and has worked for several organizations but now he works at Harris Teeter. Carl swims, snow ski, and plays golf for Special Olympics. Carl loves being part of Special Olympics and has learned many things from training and competing. From Special Olympics Carl has learned about courage, trying hard, as well as how important it is to try to do your best. Carl’s interests are reading, drama, golf, swimming, videos and travel.