Highway Patrolman John Cyrus wins Callaway Long Drive regional

John Cyrus holds the winning trophy from the Masters Division regional of the Callaway Long Drive Series.

John Cyrus holds the winning trophy from the Masters Division regional of the Callaway Long Drive Series.

John Cyrus, a 26-year veteran with the Missouri Highway Patrol and a Mount Vernon resident, won a Callaway Long Drive Series regional Friday with a 333-yard drive into the teeth of a 20 mph wind on Oklahoma’s frontier plains.

He is now one of 48 Masters Division hitters who will compete this fall for the world championship.

“I’m still shocked I did it,” Cyrus said after returning from Thackerville, Okla. “The competition was brutal. I hit a 375-yard drive in a qualifier Thursday and that was just third place.”

Cyrus, 53, assists the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in its celebrity golf classics, where he helps raise money by hitting drives for amateur golfers. He has competed in long-drive competitions the past eight years and won the 2014 United States Senior Long Drive championship. He has made it to the World Long Drive Championships in each of the past eight years.

To reach the Callaway World championship this October, Cyrus’ only route was to win a regional qualifier in competition Thursday and Friday. The set-up was favorable to no one.

Cyrus won the Masters Division but only after he was one of the top eight finishers Thursday and Friday afternoon, and then was forced to compete in a modified double-elimination tournament both evenings – and it consisted of nine rounds. Friday, he survived in a match play field that consisted of the top eight qualifiers.

Even better, he rallied to win the Masters Division despite facing a stiff wind barreling into the Oklahoma frontier plains near the Winstar Casino, about two hours south of Oklahoma City.

His drives during Hall of Fame events typically exceed 350 yards, and Cyrus’ drives in the regional Friday traveled 333, 328, 327 and 327 yards. His winning drive of 333 yards bested Lance Reader, owner of Krank Golf.

Turns out, Cyrus was using a Krank Golf Formula 6 Driver.

“Congrats to John Cyrus for staying consistent ripping balls low and into that wind all day,” Reader wrote on an online blog forum through Incepta. “To be honest, I really hate hitting into the wind all day. John has the perfect flight for that condition and used it to win. Great job!!!”

Cyrus attended the Lake of the Ozarks Celebrity Golf Classic presented by the Missouri Eagle on Monday at The Club of Porto Cima.

“I told my wife that I still can’t believe this,” Cyrus said. “A 53-year-old man coming home with a trophy after competing against guys who are 45 years old.”