(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) - Andrew Montgomery credits golf with helping him heal from wounds throughout his body caused by a triple-strand IED in Afghanistan in April 2011. Though he had played only a dozen or so rounds before his injuries, the Army staff sergeant was encouraged to play during his recuperation at Fort Drum, N.Y.
"When I was out on the course, I was thinking about the next shot," said Montgomery, a student at Golf Academy of America's Myrtle Beach, S.C., campus. "It was the only time I wasn't reliving the nightmare."
Two years later, Montgomery has been honored as one of 22 wounded soldiers selected to compete in the third-annual Warrior Open Tournament sponsored by the George W. Bush Presidential Center. The event will be Sept. 26-28 at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas.
"We're extremely proud of Andrew," said Golf Academy of America president Jim Hart. "He's been rewarded for his hard work and dedication."
Montgomery's drive to succeed led him to Golf Academy of America, where he's trimmed his handicap from 17 to 6 in only eight months while working with the Myrtle Beach campus' PGA instructors and on his own on the driving range and on the academy's golf simulators.
"I'm going to the Warrior Open to win," said Montgomery, who will have to beat Golf Academy of America graduate Chad Pfeifer, the 2011 and 2012 champion.
"The Golf Academy of America has been great for me," Montgomery said. "I've been able to recreate my swing. I've learned to shape my shots and improve my short game. When I finish, I'll be ready to teach golf to people with disabilities at a non-profit clinic."