Over 200 compete in Special Olympics golf tournament

SPRINGFIELD TWP, OH (FOX19) - The 22nd annual Special Olympics golf tournament finished up on Wednesday at the Meadow Links and Golf Academy.

More than 200 special athletes from all across Ohio participated in this two day tournament.  They're all competing for that coveted gold medal, but the main goal is to have a good time.

Mike Prohaska from Wickliffe has played the tournament for the past three years. "I play with my partner and just trying to have fun with other people and get to know people better," explains Prohaska.

For the second day in row, a caravan of golf carts has been setting out across the greens.  The special athletes have varying levels of skill, but none of them are quitters. It gives them a chance to enjoy the outdoors with good friends.

Kevin Richards, 14, says it's a lot of fun. "It's just a blast. I like spending it with friends that I care about."

The athletes get a little help from volunteers who serve as their partners. Chip Booth is a volunteer from Hudson who says he has as much fun as the athletes. "I love it. I love being with the young adults playing golf in beautiful weather," said Booth. "It's a great set up. It really is."

"I do it because my 14 year-old nephew loves to golf and he is high functioning autism and I just love to see him play," said volunteer Lauren Vinsick.

This is the first time Susan Khan has volunteered, but she says it's rewarding. "I'm a big advocate for people with disabilities and to be able to see these athletes come out and compete, it's just heartwarming."

Long time volunteer Joe Antonucci says he's seen the athletes improve over the years.

"A lot of times you wonder whether they're going to be able to compete and develop the skills needed to play the game and it's amazing to see how they've done over the years," said Antonucci.

The top three scorers and partner from this tournament will go on to play in the nationals in Utah in 2014.

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