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LA GRANDE’S TERRY BOLKEN watches excitedly as a drive from the middle of the fairway makes it onto the green during a recent practice at La Grande Golf Course in Island City. BRAD MOSHER / The Observer
Local golfers prep for regional Special Olympics tournament
BANKS -— Union County will be sending a golf team comprised of 11 athletes to compete in the regional Special Olympics competition June 10 at Quail Valley Golf Course.
According to local program coordinator Pam Thompson, there will be more than 200 athletes from every county in Oregon in the competition.
The two-day 2012 State Competition will be held at the Chehalem Glenn Golf Course in Newberg starting July 14.
The golf competition will be set up with a golf skills accuracy event and alternate shot competitions on both 9-hole and 18-hole courses.
In the alternate shot competitions, the athletes are teamed with unified partners taking every other shot.
George Altenburg is the team’s head coach, while Thompson is assistant coach and program coordinator.
According to Thompson, the team from Union County consists of:
Ian Altenburg with Unified Partner K.C. Frye – 18-hole Alternate Shot
Sam Altenburg with Unified Partner Pat Vaughn – 9-hole Alternate Shot
Terry Bolken with Unified Partner James Johnson – 9-hole Alternate Shot
Abel Mendoza with Unified Partner Abel Mendoza Sr. – 9-hole Alternate Shot
Dwight Brown – Level 1 Skills
Austin Trotter – Level 1 Skills
Alex Weissenfluh – Level 1 Skills
According to Thompson, Special Olympics Oregon is serving more than 8,000 participants with intellectual disabilities through participation in Olympic-type sports.
“Through our signature sports programs, athletes gain self-confidence, social competency and other enhanced skills, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness and participate with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community,” she said.
The team has been practicing at the La Grande Country Club Golf Course in Island City to prepare for the regional competitions.