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Jeff Kolpack, Published April 28 2012

Going long: South grad driving to be one of the country's best

Fargo

Chris Sayre was sitting in a pew staring at his grandfather’s casket in early February when the words of Richard Rufer began circulating in his head.

If you say you want to do something, he would always say, then do it.

So the former Fargo South High School golfer set out on a quest that was in the back of his mind for quite some time: Make good on his gift of being able to hit a golf ball a country mile.

OK, make that more than 400 yards.

He competed in the Long Driver Association Mile High Shootout last fall in Westminster, Colo., finishing 47th. He’s booked to go to the Alligator Alley Shootout at the Duran Golf Club in Viera, Fla., next weekend with the ultimate goal of winning the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship.

It’s a lofty trek that takes funding and sponsorships, something Sayre is working on. With a family, he’s looking for all the help he can get.

“It’s not like the PGA Tour where there’s tons of money floating around,” he said.

Sayre was captain of the 2004 South golf team when he weighed not much more than 140 pounds. After high school, he found enjoyment in power lifting, which obviously increased his strength. Later, he started playing golf more often.

“And man, I started hitting it a long ways,” he said.

Now weighing nearly 200 pounds, his personal record is 417 yards on a long-drive grid. He’s driven it over a green on a 430-yard par 4 hole.

That’s a long ways.

He competed in a regional competition in St. Louis in 2008 and with an average driver was hitting it around 370 yards. Sayre took a couple of years off after his child was born before getting back into it.

“My grandpa kept telling me I shouldn’t wait to do this stuff,” he said.

Grandpa “Hawley” Rufer was a 1 or 2 handicap in his day, Sayre said.

“When he couldn’t get any better, he started fishing,” Sayre said.

He’s honed his swing and equipment using launch monitors. He’s thinking about playing golf competitively again.

What started as a flier advertising a long driving contest at Meadows Golf Course in Moorhead in 2005 has escalated to hopes of being one of the best in the country.

“My goal is to win the worlds. That’s everybody’s dream,” he said.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia