One Parkville High School student is in for a big weekend as he competes for national gold.
Blaine McGlothlin, 19, is headed to the Special Olympics Golf National Invitational Tournament at The Wigwam resort in Phoenix, AZ.
McGlothlin, a senior at Parkville High School, has Down syndrome and will compete taking alternating shots on nine holes with his father Rick McGlothlin. The tournament lasts three days, and officials will take the average of each day's score to determine the winner.
Blaine qualified for the tournament when he won Special Olympics Maryland gold last September as a competitor in the Cecil County Special Olympics. At the time, he was a Perryville High School student and Havre de Grace resident.
"We shot a 58 to win the gold," Rick said. "Par is normally around 36 for 9 holes. Your average golfer out there will shoot 50 or more shots for 9 holes. That we can do it in the 50s with him having a disability is pretty good."
The McGlothlins got the news that Blaine would be able to compete back in July, so they've only had two months to prepare for the event. They practice once a week at Fox Hollow golf course in Timonium.
Rick said the news that Blaine would compete at the national level came as a surprise.
"At first it was just shock that we actually got selected ... I was extremely excited and happy mainly for Blaine to have this experience. He's very, very proud—he's telling everybody 'I’m going to Phoenix to play golf in the nationals'," he said.
"It’s a big deal, he’s excited and we get to spend five days together."
Blaine's classmates at Parkville High School think it's a pretty big deal too.
"We've talked about it in class, we talked about it today. The kids are great. They were excited for him," said Jill Schultz, one of Blaine's teachers. "They're very supportive."