Team NJ Golfers Shine on the Golf Course Earning 6 Gold Medals
This week, all eyes will be on Congressional Country Club as Tiger Woods returns from a nagging back injury to compete on the PGA TOUR — against the greatest golfers in the world — trying to regain his form as he chases Jack Nicklaus and his 18 Major Championships. Last week, on the fairways of Mercer Oaks Golf Course in West Windsor, N.J., hundreds of golfers from across the U.S. teed it up and competed. While six athletes from Team New Jersey captured gold medals (along with 2 partners), at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, the sportsmanship was second to none and smiles lined the fairways all week.
The Special Olympics USA Games is about more than gold medals. Yes, gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded to the winners, and the athletes are thrilled to receive them, but simply participating is what it’s all about for these athletes. It’s about camaraderie, support, volunteering, determination, perseverance and most of all the confidence and guts to participate.
Yes, Tiger Woods will be back on TOUR next week, and he may have inspired the next generation of golfers, but the truly inspiring athletes were the individuals teeing it up in New Jersey this week.
Brothers Brad and Bob Hennefer (PGA professional, Indian Springs GC), of Team New Jersey (pictured above) captivated the fans and captured a gold medal for Team New Jersey in the Level 2 Competition.
Level 2: 9-hole Unified Sports Alternate Shot Team Play Competition where each team is made of two individuals; one athlete with an intellectual disability and one Unified partner without an intellectual disability. One ball is in play each hole and shots are alternated.
Christopher Harold (pictured above) was one of four gold medalists from Team New Jersey in the Level 4 competition.
Level 4: 9-hole Individual Stroke Play Competition where the athlete plays individually with the assistance of a caddie.
Level 2 Gold Medals
Athlete: Carissa Sommers & partner: Brian Millen (Division M2)
Athlete: Bradford Hennefer & partner: Bob Hennefer (Division M5)
Level 4 Gold Medals
Pauline Naturile (Division F2)
Christopher Harold (Division M1)
Gerard Coburn (Division M2)
Daniel Philippi (Division M3)
Left: Pauline Naturile celebrates her Level 4 win on the podium. Right: Team New Jersey medalists pause for a photo with Chris Hunt, Golf Commissioner for the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games and Executive Director of the New Jersey Golf Foundation.
For full results visit www.sonj.org.