(Courtesy Park City School District)

Melissa Stockton, an aide at McPolin Elementary School, took first place in the women’s division at the World Deaf Golf Championships. This year’s competition was held on August 9-13, 2010, in the birthplace of the sport St. Andrews, Scotland. Melissa played against golfers from all over the globe including South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Australia, and Ireland.

Her first trip overseas got off to a rocky start when her flight was cancelled and her bags and golf clubs took a detour that delayed their arrival by a day. Even so, she was very excited to go to Scotland “where golf is as popular as football in the United States.”

The tournament was held at the Fairmont Golf Resort. Stockton said the course was the hardest one she had ever played on. She described the course as “loaded with bunkers. Some were blind bunkers, with water hazards running in front of the greens. The greens were really hard because of the constant wind and the ball rolled off easily! The weeds off the fairways were about 3' to 4' deep. Staying on the fairway was a must. Mistakes were costly! Luckily, [she] only lost 4 balls in 4 rounds.”

Melissa lead by one stroke for the first three rounds. By the fourth round she “started to feel the pressure and [her] stomach was twisted in knots.” She won the final round by five strokes.

Winning the championship automatically gains Melissa an invitation to the 2012 World Deaf Golf Championship in Japan. Next year, she will travel to Dayton, Ohio to compete in the next U.S. Championship. “This was an experience I never will forget,” Melissa said. “It was a dream of a lifetime! A million thanks to all of you who made my dream come true!”