SHOAL CREEK, Ala. -- Using an unconventional 60-inch driver, Wedgy Winchester of Phoenix, Ariz., won a $50,000 National Long Driving Championship with a 319-yard 14-inch drive at Shoal Creek Country Club Tuesday.
The event is sponsored by Golf Digest.
Winchester, 40, a pro trick-shot artist, designs golf clubs and said he developed a 60-inch driver to give him better club speed and more distance. A conventional driver is about 42 inches.
Winchester won the top prize of $15,000 and a new convertable by beating Lon Hinkle, 35, a tour pro, who won $7,000 as runner-up with a drive of 304 yards. Finishing third at 274 yards was 27-year-old tour pro Payne Stewart, who won $5,000.
NCAA long-drive champion John Slaughter of the University of Houston tied for fourth along with 1980 long-drive champion Scott DeCandia, of Bedford Hills, N.Y., and Denny Wolfe, of Massillon, Ohio.
Each hit all four of their final round drives out of bounds, but received $2,166.
In the semifinal round, won by Slaughter, defending champion Terry Forcum of Ponca City, Okla., failed to hit any of his four drives inbounds and tied for 14th. Tour pros Tom Purtzer finished ninth and Jim Dent was 10th.
The tournament, benefitting junior golf, began last spring as 9,000 contestants qualified at 150 sites throughout the country.
The $700,000 PGA Championship is scheduled to get under way Thursday at the Shoal Creek course south of Birmingham.