(PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla.) - A field of 160 golfers from 18 U.S. programs will compete in the 10th Annual Special Olympics Golf National Invitational Tournament, July 31-Aug. 3, in Lincoln, Neb.
The Mahoney Golf Course and Highlands Golf Course in Lincoln will host the annual tournament for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics golfers ranging from ages 13 to 57 will test their golf skills in five levels of competition for athletes of different abilities. Several top-performing competitors in the 18-hole individual stroke play competition are returning while nearly 20 family pairings of fathers-sons, mothers-daughters and brothers will compete in the 9- and 18-hole team competitions.
"Special Olympics, like the game of golf, provides rewarding recreational and competitive opportunities that cross boundaries of age, gender and skill levels," says PGA of America President, Jim Remy. "The 10th annual Special Olympics Golf National Invitational Tournament is again a prime example of the principles of golf ~ inclusion, sportsmanship, respect among players and satisfaction in a shot well-played. On behalf of the 28,000 men and women PGA Professionals, we wish all of the athletes and team partners an exciting week of competitive golf and look forward to welcoming them back to their home courses for additional playing opportunities throughout the year."
Special Olympics golf offers five levels of competition for athletes of different abilities. Level I is an individual skills contest, where six golf skills are tested. Level II is an alternate shot team play, where a Special Olympics athlete is paired with a non-Special Olympics partner of more advanced skill for a 9-hole competition. Level III is Unified Sports® team play, pairing Special Olympics athletes and Unified partners of similar ability for an 18-hole competition. Levels IV and V are individual stroke-play 9-hole and 18-hole competitions, respectively. Competition for levels I, III & V will take place at Highlands Golf Course, while Level II & IV competitors will play at Mahoney Golf Course.
The Special Olympics Golf National Invitational Tournament travels to Lincoln this year as a precursor to the community's hosting of the 2010 Special Olympics USA Summer Games.
Olympic-style Opening Ceremonies will tee off the 2009 tournament on Fri., July 31, on the campus of the University of Nebraska. Three competitive golf rounds will be played Aug. 1-3, with medal ceremonies held immediately following the final round at each golf facility on Mon., Aug. 3. The golf industry has pledged its support once again with The PGA of America and USGA as presenting sponsors, and the GCSAA as supporting sponsor.