Amy Bockerstette is concentrating on her game on Tuesday at the NJCAA Women’s Golf Championship in Ormond Beach, Florida. But no matter how she finishes, she has already made it into sports history as the first individual born with Down Syndrome to compete in a collegiate golf championship.
HISTORY MADE! Puma Golf was part of history today as @AmyGolfsNDances is the 1st collegiate athlete w/Down syndrome to compete in a national championship w/ @NJCAA Best of luck to Coach Matt Keel, and Amber Daczka, Paige Dormal, Emily Ingels, Sara Kearns, Jinkung Kim! #GoPumas pic.twitter.com/0oA8tXRqig
— Puma Athletics (@PVCCPumas) May 10, 2021
Golf Week reported Bockerstette, 22, who is on the Arizona Paradise Valley Community College team and who has now made history twice:
This is Bockerstette’s third year on the team, but second full season. She made history two years ago when she joined the team, becoming the first person with Down syndrome to earn an athletic scholarship.
Bockerstette, who has been golfing since middle school, is perhaps most known for her viral video two years ago with U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland. The two were playing a practice hole at the par-3 16th at TPC Scottsdale before the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Bockerstette hit her first shot into the bunker, but managed to save par by sinking an 8-foot putt.
Bockerstette told The News-Journal last week that Woodland, who finished fifth at Quail Hollow over the weekend, texted her early last week to wish her good luck ahead of Monday’s tee time.
“I loved it,” she said of her par-3 moment. “It was awesome, and now we’re best friends. I’m always so happy to see him.”
The video has been viewed over 5 million times.
“She’s meant everything for me from a mental standpoint,” Woodland said after the2019 Quail Hollow tournament. “The world needs more of her in it. Her attitude, love for life, love for the game, and positive energy are contagious. And I’ve had the pleasure to continue to speak with her. She sent me a nice video when I got sick and had to pull out of Wells Fargo. She sent me an amazing birthday video, singing happy birthday to me. She’s a special girl, special parents, and it’s nice to call her a friend.”
Woodland said he wanted to teach his own children about having the kind of positive attitude that Amy has.
“Amy told me a million times when we were on that hole ‘I’ve got this, I’ve got this,’ ” Woodland said in the 2019 article. “And I told myself that a million times today, ‘I’ve got this.’ ”
The Associated Press reported on Bockerstette’s parents and the impact their daughter is having not only in sports but as a role model for other special athletes:
Bockerstette and her family created the I Got This Foundation in 2019 to provide golf instruction and playing opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The foundation has partnered with Special Skills Sports Camps to hold the Special Skills Golf Invitational on June 1 at Wedgewood Golf and Country Club in Powell, Ohio.
The event will teach athletes with intellectual and developmental disabilities the basics of golf, from driving to chipping and putting.
Bockerstette shot 111 on a 72-par round on Monday. Going into today’s round, Seminole State’s Minori Nagano was the current leader after shooting an even-par 72.
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