Phillis Meti, Tim Burke win 2019 Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun World Long Drive

Meti’s 413-yard Blast in finals sets new World Long Drive Women’s Division Record; Burke defeats Kyle Berkshire with 474-yard Drive in finals

Phillis Meti and Time Burke

World Long Drive Season Continues with Exchange Celebrating Service: Fort Jackson (S.C.) Event, Airing Tuesday, May 7 Live on Golf Channel.

The 2019 World Long Drive season got off to a roaring start with Phillis Meti (Auckland, New Zealand) and Tim Burke (Orlando, Fla.) winning the Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun in spectacular fashion amidst the dust-coated Arizona desert outside of Phoenix.

Meti – the three-time (and defending) Volvik World Long Drive champion – successfully backed up her 2018 Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun victory in style, to the tune of a 413-yard drive in the finals against Alexis Belton (Ruston, La.). The high mark for the World No. 1 competitor set a new record for the longest drive ever recorded in the Women’s Division at a World Long Drive competition, eclipsing Meti’s own previous record of 406 yards (2017 Mile High Showdown).

“It hasn’t really even sunk in,” said Meti. “I didn’t even think that was possible. That’s probably the fastest I’ve ever swung it to be honest. Hopefully I can stay on this path and keep riding the rollercoaster for the rest of the season.”

Not to be outdone, the two-time Volvik World Long Drive champion Burke manufactured a 474-yard drive that tight-roped the grid boundary on his eighth and ultimate ball in the finals against Kyle Berkshire (Orlando, Fla.). Burke’s previous long was a 453-yard drive, which would not have been enough to surpass Berkshire’s 466-yard ball. The victory marks the first time that Burke has won a televised World Long Drive competition since his 2015 world championship title.

“It feels good to start off the year,” said Burke. “My strategy today was just to pepper that left side [of the grid]. I knew one of [my drives] was going to take off. I saw it all week with other players that were beating me. So that’s what I did, and the strategy worked out.”

The Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun marked the first of six televised World Long Drive Tour events in 2019, culminating with the Volvik World Long Drive Championship in September. The next event will take place in three weeks in South Carolina, the Exchange Celebrating Service: Fort Jackson, airing live on GOLF Channel Tuesday, May 7 at 5 p.m. ET. In addition to the Open and Women’s Divisions, the event also will include a Military Division consisting of active, reserve and retired service members having qualified at one of 12 events at Army Installations around the United States.

(9) Tim Burke def. (5) Kyle Berkshire

(1) Phillis Meti def. (5) Alexis Belton

Kyle Berkshire def. (3) Will Hogue (Memphis, Tenn.)
Tim Burke def. (6) Justin Moose (Columbia, S.C.)

Alexis Belton def. (2) Sandra Carlborg (Alingsas, Sweden)
Phillis Meti def. (4) Troy Mullins (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Tim Burke def. (1) Justin James (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Justin Moose def. (19) Eddie Fernandes (Winter Garden, Fla.)
Kyle Berkshire def. (20) Kevin Shook (Bradenton, Fla.)
Will Hogue def. (2) Maurice Allen (Pine Hills, Fla.) 

About World Long Drive Association
Originating in 1976, the World Long Drive Association is golf at its farthest, loudest, most athletic and adrenaline-filled extreme. World Long Drive was named a finalist at the 2018 Cynopsis Sports Media Awards in the League of the Year for a Breakthrough Sport and Live Coverage of a Breakthrough Sport categories. The broader sports industry also has taken notice, including ESPN proclaiming that long drive has “recently started to enter the mainstream of golf;” Men’s Journal noting “with the sport’s ascendant profile and ever-growing prestige,” fans should “buckle up for more high-octane action;” Golf Digest saying the World Long Drive is “on the upswing, gaining traction;” and claiming it as “an eye-opening experience”. Sanctioned WLD events are open to amateur and professional golfers. The 2019 WLDA season consists of events across the United States and around the world, culminating with the Volvik World Long Drive Championship, Aug. 30-Sept. 4, from WinStar World Casino and Resort on the Texas / Oklahoma border, where competitors will convene under the lights for the world title on Golf Channel. In 2018, 8.3 million unique viewers watched at least some portion of World Long Drive events (live and replay), +23% year-over-year, and the most-viewed season of World Long Drive on-record according to data released by The Nielsen Company.