Garner excited about local Long Drive event

Joe Avento • Updated Jun 25, 2018 at 8:31 PM

KINGSPORT — When Chloe Garner first heard there might be a World Long Drive Tour event in the Tri-Cities, she began thinking what it would be like to have what would in effect be a home game.

Now that it’s a reality, she’s even more excited.

“I’m a little bit in shock that it’s going to be here,” Garner said Monday during a news conference announcing the Tennessee Big Shots, a competition to benefit Niswonger Children’s Hospital that will be held Aug. 12-13 at Cattails at MeadowView.

Garner, who won an event on the tour last year, has lived in Johnson City since finishing her golf career at East Tennessee State. That’s certainly going to help attendance at the Cattails competition, where admission will be free.

“I’m going to promote it pretty hard,” she said. “I still have connections at East Tennessee State University so I’ll reach out to them.”

Garner, originally from South Africa, has been battling a shoulder injury this summer and hasn’t competed on the tour yet. She’s expecting to be ready, or close to it, by the time August rolls around.

“I think it started back when I was a college golfer,” said Garner, who also competes in CrossFit. “I’d been increasing my training and it just got irritated a little more. I think it will always be there but it’s getting better to the point where I can compete.”

As hard as long drive competitors have to swing, the condition of Garner’s shoulder is pretty important.

“I’m focusing more on shoulder health instead of shoulder strength and I think that’s important,” she said.

Garner’s longest drive in competition was 400 yards, although she admits it came in Denver and says the altitude deserved some of the credit. Still, regularly blasting a golf ball farther than most if not all of the PGA Tour players can has to be quite a rush.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Garner said. “There’s lot of nerves that go along with it and a lot of adrenaline that helps it. It’s the best club to hit in the bag so you know it feels good.”

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