PHOENIX - Amy Bockerstette is set to become the first person with Down syndrome to compete in a national collegiate athletic championship.
The 22-year-old golfer will play with her Paradise Valley Community College teammates at the NJCAA national championships May 10-13 at Plantation Bay Golf & Country Club in Ormond Beach, Florida.
Bockerstette is the first person with Down syndrome to earn a college athletic scholarship and she became a viral sensation when she played the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale with PGA Tour player Gary Woodland before the 2019 Phoenix Open. She hit into the bunker on the par-3 stadium hole and got up and down for par, telling everyone "I got this" before sinking an eight-foot putt.
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 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.
"Many times in her life she’s been the first to do things, so this has been a step along that journey, and it's an amazing experience. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity. Very proud, excited to enjoy the journey," said Amy's father, Joe Bockerstette.
There have been some rough patches along the way of Amy's success, and Joe says the championship will present its own set of challenges, with Amy having to spend four days pushing her own cart, and walking about 30 miles across an 18-hole course.
"That’s a bit of a challenge for any stamina to walk that, and to stay mentally focused and play," said Joe.
Joe, however, is confident that as usual, Amy will be more than up to par.
The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.
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