STATELINE, Nev. – Heather LeMaster, the 2013 Women’s World Long Drive champion, smashed a 336-yards drive to establish a women’s world record at elevation Tuesday as part of the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
LeMaster, a Sacramento native, was one of four contestants. Blair O’Neal, a former LPGA Symentra Tour player and current Golf Channel host, found the fairway in all nine of her shots, with the best reaching 325 yards. Morgan Murphy, a pro at nearby Lake Tahoe Golf Course, hit the 314-yard mark. Kathryn Tappen, a host and reporter for the NFL and NHL on NBC Sports, reached 255 yards. A light breeze was at the players’ backs on the No. 1 tee.
LeMaster, O’Neal and Tappen will be three of the record five women competing in the 27th annual celebrity tournament on the shores of Lake Tahoe.
The tournament will submit the longest drive to the Guinness Book of World Records. To date, Guinness has not recognized at women’s long drive at elevation (Edgewood is at 6,200 feet). Guinness recognizes the landing spot of a drive, and that mark was established by LeMaster, too – 293 yards.
“I love that all four girls were out here,” said the 5-foot-11 LeMaster, who played collegiately at Cal State Sacramento. “I only hit four (drives) in the grid out of nine. I knew accuracy wasn’t going to be my forte, but I knew length could be. I was fortunate with the elevation here at Tahoe. …
“I wanted 345 really bad. That 293 ball was it, but I caught it too high on the club face.”
O’Neal was pleased with her efforts.
“I hit 325, so I gave it a shot,” said O’Neal, who has also been a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. “I hit every fairway, though, so I give myself points for that. But Heather was great. She crushed it.”
LeMaster, who is recently engaged and had small, black pistol earrings dangling from each ear, liked the thought of possibly ending up in the Guinness Book of World Records.
“I think it’s a great possibility,” she said. “It’s a lot to build on. I think it’s a realistic number that other girls are going to look and go, hey, I can do this, or, hey, I should come out to the American Century next year when we do it again.”
The tournament is Friday through Sunday and will be televised on the NBC Sports Network (Friday, 6-8 p.m. EST) and NBC (Saturday and Sunday, 3-6 p.m. EST).
Among the celebrities competing are actor/singer Justin Timberlake, two-time and reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, former NBA star Charles Barkley, actor Ray Romano, former Team USA soccer star Abby Wambach and comedian Larry the Cable Guy.