Golfer with Down syndrome scores viral hit at Phoenix Open

Gary Woodland could hardly contain his delight after helping a young golfer with Down syndrome steal the show ahead of the Phoenix Open.

Woodland teamed up with the Special Olympics and the PGA Tour during a practice round to surprise Amy Bockerstette with a chance to play TPC Scottsdale’s signature hole, the 16th.

Impressively, Bockerstette managed to par the hole and the resulting PGA-produced video has gone viral.

“That was by far the coolest thing I’ve ever experienced… I’ve never rooted so hard for somebody on a golf course,” said Woodland afterwards.

“It feels amazing,” Bockerstette told the Arizona Republic after sinking an eight-foot putt to get up and down on the par-3 from the bunker.

Bockerstette is no stranger to special achievements, however – she became the first person with Down syndrome to receive a college athletics scholarship when she signed with Paradise Valley Community College last year.

According to Amy’s father Joe she has been blessed with a strong competitive spirit.

“She’s a gamer,” he said. “She doesn’t get nervous; she gets excited.”

Joe described her shot into the 16th in a way only a father can.

“We knew a 120-yard shot was a sweet spot for her,” he said. “So we gave her one of her top clubs… We had a good feeling that she’d hit a good tee shot.”

When her shot found the bunker, Woodland offered to get it out for her but Amy had her own ideas.

“She said, ‘No, I’ve got this,'” he said. “She was right.”

Taking almost no time over the ball, Amy stepped up and pulled off an impressive escape to eight feet before rolling in the putt as the crowd cheered.

“I’ve never rooted so hard for something,” Woodland said. “And it went in center cut. It looked good the whole time.”