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Why This Golfer With Down Syndrome Has Everyone Talking

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Golfer Amy Bockerstette hit a par, the prescribed number of strokes a player needs to complete a hole without penalty, on hole 16 of the Phoenix Open during the PGA Tour. Now everyone is paying attention to the young athlete.

Her talent on the golf course is not surprising. Last year, Paradise Valley Community College offered her a full-ride scholarship to play on their women’s golf team. Bockerstette then became the first person with Down syndrome to receive a college athletics scholarship. During high school, she was the first Arizona student with Down syndrome to compete in the state high school playoffs.

The day before the Phoenix Open, professional gold player, Gary Woodland, partnered with the PGA Tour and Special Olympics to surprise Bockerstette with a chance to play hole 16 during the practice round. Since then, the PGA video of Bockerstette hitting par has gone viral.

Bockerstette played the round with the support of her dad, Joe Bockerstette, who encouraged her throughout the round. She charmed viewers, as we see a confident woman saying, “I got this,” and “I can do this.” And she does.

Even when she hits the ball in the bunker (sand dune), Bockerstette lets Woodland know she can do it when he offers to take the shot for her. She confidently hits the ball, landing it a perfect distance for a par putt.

In an interview with azcentral, Woodland said Bockerstette’s par on 16 was, “by far the coolest thing I’ve ever experienced.” He added, “I’ve never rooted so hard for somebody on a golf course.” And it is easy to see and hear his enjoyment the moment he realizes Bockerstette is, indeed, a strong player.

Bockerstette finished the hole waving at the crowd, blowing kisses. Her mother came running to congratulate her. Bockerstette is right when she said, “Everyone loves me.” Yes Bockerstette, we are your fans!

Banner image screenshot from PGA video.

Originally published: January 31, 2019
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