East Texan Makes A Big Splash At Long Drive Competition - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


East Texan Makes A Big Splash At Long Drive Competition

Hide-a-away Lake resident Matt Vilade had high hopes as he entered the 2007 Long Drivers of America Tour season.  Vilade, who qualified for the 2006 RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships, is entering his first full season as a professional long drive hitter. 

What is a professional long drive hitter?  A professional long drive hitter can swing a golf club harder and faster than the average golfer, and can routinely and accurately, hit a golf ball more than three football fields.

To say Vilade made an impression in his first weekend on the tour is an understatement.  No, he didn't win, but he did something much more memorable.  He hit a golf ball farther than anyone has ever hit a golf ball on THE premiere long ball grid in Mesquite, Nevada.

The Desert Launch last Thursday in Mesquite, Nevada, was the opening tournament on the long drive tour.  Only tour members were invited.  Because he is new, Vilade had to go through a Wednesday Open qualifier, which he did successfully with a 366 yard drive.  He then advanced all the way through backet play, beating a couple of former world champions along the way.  In his first professional event, Vilade finished in the money in 10th place!

That's when things got interesting...

On Sunday, Vilade competed in the open division of the Diamond in the Desert Classic.  This event is the official launch to the 2007 RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship.  He finished third with a drive of 401 yards.  But here's where it really gets good.  In the semifinal round Vilade uncorked a drive never seen before in Mesquite, Nevada.  He hit a golf ball 473 yards!  That's nearly 5 football fields!  He told me he hit it so pure he didn't even feel the ball come off the face.  I feel sorry for the guy who hit the 421 yard shot.  That was the longest drive of the day, until Vilade creamed it by 52 yards!  Vilade said the shot is under review for the longest in the history of the Mesquite grid and is the longest drive in the history of the Desert Diamond Classic.  Now remember, the Mesquite grid is where the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships are held. 

How does he do it?  Vilade can swing a golf club 147 miles per hour.  The average golfer is lucky to get a club head speed of 100 miles per hour.  At that speed, he can hit a golf ball 213 miles per hour!  Those numbers are some of the best in the world.  Tiger Woods, eat your heart out!

His third place finish in The Diamond in the Desert Classic earned him a spot for the 2007 RE/MAX World Lond Drive Finals in October. 

His next LDA tour event will be in Dallas in May.  Let's hope the hometown hitter can earn a Texas-sized victory.

Oh, and by the way, don't call him Matt anymore.  As a result of his mammouth performance over the weekend, Vilade was given an official LDA tour nickname.

Go get 'em "Hoss"!

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