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Montgomery Finishes Strong at the Warrior Open

Oct 17, 2013

In April 2011, Andrew Montgomery was serving the United States as a Staff Sergeant in Afghanistan. An encounter with a triple-strand IED caused wounds throughout his body, sending him home to recuperate at Fort Drum, N.Y. It was there that he discovered the game of golf, which he used as a tool for recovery.

Two years later, Montgomery is enrolled as a student at Golf Academy of America in Myrtle Beach, making huge strides with his game and preparing for a career in golf. He was recently honored as one of 22 wounded soldiers selected to compete in the third annual Warrior Open Tournament sponsored by the George W. Bush Presidential Center. The event was held Sept. 26-28 at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas.

Montgomery played in a way that would honor his fellow wounded soldiers.

"During the practice round and the ProAm, I shot 77 and 83, which put me somewhere around 5th place," said Montgomery. Unfortunately, near the end of the ProAm, Montgomery sustained an acute injury to his back. Doctors where able to get him back on the course, even though he was in severe pain.

Montgomery was only able to swing with his arms, and shot a 57 on the front. After a doctor's visit at the tenth tee, he was able to shoot 42 on the back, staying out of triple numbers.

"Even with my first round number being as high as it was, I consider the tournament one of my greatest accomplishments," Montgomery said. "I played through so much pain." He underwent a minor laser procedure enabling him to move his hips for the final day of play. He shot an 88 in the second round.

Even though Montgomery might not have been pleased with his scores, he called the Warrior Open Tournament, "the time of my life." Interacting with the crowd was an amazing experience. "I heard them applaud when I made long puts and great shots, but the most empowering thing was to hear them cheer me on when I made my bad shots when I was in physical pain."

Aside from his time on the course, Montgomery made life-changing connections with the following people and companies:

  • ClubCorp awarded him with a lifetime honorary membership to courses across the U.S. The company expressed interested in hiring Montgomery upon graduation.
  • Jim Estes from the Salute to Military Golf Association offered to be Montgomery's personal mentor through the PGA program.
  • Major Ed Pullido from Folds of Honor Corporation offered him a public speaking job to raise money for wounded vets. Pullido also offered to pay for Montgomery's travel to numerous tournaments throughout the country.
  • TaylorMade presented a thousand dollar gift card.
  • George W. Bush personally congratulated Montgomery, telling him to focus on healing his back so that he would be able to "take Chad off of his throne next year." The former president also agreed to Montgomery's joking proposition to pardon a water shot.

Montgomery credits Golf Academy of America with his great success at the tournament. "I truly believe that the reason I got so many offers was because of the knowledge I gained at Golf Academy," he said. "All of the higher ups were truly impressed with my knowledge in club repair and how to teach people the golf swing. The USGA Rules officials were very impressed with my knowledge of the rules of golf."

More tournaments, speaking engagements and a long career may be ahead of Montgomery, but he plans to finish his education at Golf Academy of America first.