Tim Burke won the Re/Max World Long Drive Championship on Wednesday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, hitting his fourth shot in the final round 427 yards.
England’s Joe Miller was second.
The two advanced from the final field of eight who began the night, battling chilly weather conditions, and hitting the ball toward the bright lights of the famed-Las Vegas Strip in the distance.
Both Burke and Miller each got six drives, over two rounds of three shots apiece, with the longest shot that stayed within a 50-yard wide grid counting toward their final score. Burke, who was second to Ryan Winther in the 2012 event, earned $250,000.
Moments after drilling the 427-yarder, Burke said he couldn’t help but look straight into the sky and think about his his father.
Burke’s father died 13 years ago, when the long-hitter was a freshman in high school, but the 27-year-old Orlando, Fla., resident said it was the first thought that crossed his mind after winning.
”I just looked up and thought to myself, and said to him, `Wow, I can’t believe I did it.’ It was surreal,” Burke said. ”I waited a year for this. I took one week off last year, and I just decided I’m going to start from the foundation up. I got a little better golf swing and gained a lot of speed.”
Burke was a standout pitcher for the University of Miami, where he appeared in two College World Series. He works as a financial wholesaler for CNL Securities Corp.
”I’ve never hit a ball better in my life,” said Burke, who flipped his club as if he had just stroked a walk-off home run. ”I knew I was going to end it there. That was my goal with that Krank driver. (Miller’s) 405 was not that big of a number, especially in these conditions. I knew he could clearly beat that.”
Will Hogue and Tyler Kellett dropped out in the semifinals. Aaron Mansfield, Patrick Hopper, Jamie Sadlowski and Matt Hanger also competed.