September 04, 2012 | Updated: January 29, 2019

By Ramonica Jones

The 13th annual Special Olympics North America Golf Invitational Tournament will kick off Thursday at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, Arizona. The event runs September 6-9 and 26 SOTX athletes are among the 200 Special Olympics participants set to compete in several different levels.  Level I competition consists of an individual skills contest, where six golf skills are tested. Level II is an alternate shot team play, where a Special Olympics athlete is paired with a non-Special Olympics partner of more advanced skill for a 9-hole competition. Level III is Unified Sports® team play, pairing Special Olympics and Unified partners of similar ability for an 18-hole competition. Levels IV and V are individual stroke play 9-hole and 18-hole competitions, respectively.


Level 1 


Athletes Cole Wells and Adam Young - Greater Dallas area


Level II


Athletes Shannon Wilkinson and Josh Dowden and their Unified Partners, Marty Smith and Kent Dowden - Greater Dallas area


Unified Partner Bill McLendon and athlete James Michael Badger - Greater Fort Worth area


Athlete Stacy Brown and Unified Partner, Bill Brown - Greater Houston area


Level III

Athlete Steven Hirschman and Unified Partner, Alan Hirschman - Greater Houston area


Athlete Blaine Hardin and Unified Partner, Dean Hardin - Greater Dallas area


L to R front row: Athletes Michael Gallagher, Tim Braun and Jonathan Blackmon
L to R second row: Coach Bill Gallagher, Michael's caddie; Dave Braun, Tim's caddie; and John McCulley, Jonathan's Unified Partner -
Greater Dallas area


Level IV


Athletes Erika Johnson, Buddy Randall and Doug Sullivan and Doug's caddie, Jo Keeney - Greater Dallas area


Athlete Kevin Harrell and his caddie, Jim Hodges - Greater Houston area


Level V

Athletes Chris Holmes and Miles Stroud, and Assistant Golf Coach Joe Stroud, Miles' caddie - Greater Houston area


Athlete Kyle Butts - San Antonio area


Athlete Blair Claghorn - Greater Houston area

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