After four days and several extra holes of competition, the 2018 North American One-Armed Golfer Association Championship came to a close Thursday night.
Three champions were crowned after the fifth rounds of play ended at Odessa Country Club’s Old Course.
In the Getchell Division, four-time defending champion Jesse Florkowski was dethroned, 1-up, by Vince Biser on the second playoff hole. This is Biser’s sixth one-armed golf championship, as he won five straight titles previous to Florkowski’s streak.
Steven Shipuleski won the Fullgraf Division’s championship with a 3-and-2 victory over Jonathan Snyder.
Bart Oliva’s first time qualifying for match play at the championship ended with a trophy, as he took down good friend Shawn Reimold, 3-and-2, in the Sanders Division Final.
“It feels great,” Oliva said. “I came out here with the intention of winning it and I did everything I had to do.”
Biser, 30, won his first championship since 2013, with a birdie on No 18, while Florkowski settled for par. It was the third time on the hole during the round for the duo.
“It feels awesome,” Biser said. “I’ve been playing against this guy for four years, haven’t beat him, and I finally beat him.”
Biser, from Sarasota, Fla., added that getting over that hump was possible because he kept his composure and played his game throughout the championship round. The pair was even for the majority of the final round, but ultimately, it was Biser who came out on top.
“It feels real good to have it back … he was the top-ranked one-armed golfer in the world and I just beat him,” Biser said.
Shipuleski, 48, from Port St. Lucie, Fla., won his first one-armed golfing championship after competing with the organization since 2013.
He’s qualified for match play a few times since then, but got to lift a trophy Thursday, noting that he stayed consistent in the final round by remembering the one-arm golfers association motto — “never quit.”
“I missed only one fairway all day, so that was a good thing and the putting went well too,” Shipuleski said. “I had a lot of putts that rolled in from a long way. I got lucky with the putting.”
Oliva sank a putt from about 15 feet out to secure his first national championship win.
“I thought as long as I stayed in my own game I would be able to compete, but golf is a funny sport and doesn’t always allow you to stay in your own game,” Oliva said. “It throws you a lot of curve balls like life. You just got to never quit and keep going.”
Oliva added that his ability to adapt throughout the round and maneuver through the Old Course’s challenges was why he won.
“It’s all about adaptation,” Oliva said. “It’s what this entire group is about, it’s about adapting.
“We all have one arm or some kind of disability that only allows us to play with one arm. It’s about picking yourself up off the ground, getting out here, being with a great group of guys, having fun and winning championships if you can.”
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