ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It was a long shot, in more ways than one, that put an Albuquerque firefighter’s golf game in the national spotlight.
At least four days out of the week you will find Luis Saavedra on the driving range at the Balloon Fiesta Park.
He’s not out there to improve his game to beat his buddies. The Albuquerque firefighter is trying to beat the pros and he has.
Like the plot of the movie “Happy Gilmore,” the guy, who didn’t plan on playing pro-golf is beating some of the best.
Saavedra’s playing field is the REMAX World Long Drive Competition. It’s a national competition to see who hits the farthest.
“Just playing with my buddies in the fire department, they always told me that I hit it far and to give it a shot,” Saavedra said.
He did and for the two years he’s entered he’s made it passed the local round and regional.
“I ended up taking first place in the region 3 in Montana,” Saavedra said.
His longest drive this year for the regionals was 415 yards. He said he beat out pros like Matt Hanger and Brian Pavlet.
For the second year in a row, Saavedra’s heading to the world stage.
He’ll be judged on his longest drive down the middle but he only gets six tries.
“Say you hit your first four and all of them are out of bonds, you have two left that’s when the pressure is really on,” Saavedra said.
A lot of the guys that he will take on have trainers. Saavedra’s pep talks come from strangers.
Not bad, for the Los Lunas native who started playing when he was six but opted for a fire hose instead of a golf club.