Heather LeMaster connects for a record 336-yard drive

When women’s golf fans need relief from the intensity of this weekend’s LPGA International Crown competition, they can tune in to the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament, set alongside beautiful Lake Tahoe Friday through Sunday on NBC. This year’s field of sports and entertainment stars includes a record five women.

Image of Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course

Here’s the report on the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament women’s long-drive contest at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, from Weidinger Public Relations:

Image of heather lemaster

Heather LeMaster

Heather LeMaster, the 2013 Women’s World Long Drive champion, smashed a 336-yard drive to establish a women’s world record at elevation Tuesday as part of the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.

LeMaster, a Sacramento native, was one of four contestants. Blair O’Neal, a former LPGA Symentra Tour player and current Golf Channel host, found the fairway in all nine of her shots, with the best reaching 325 yards. Morgan Murphy, a pro at nearby Lake Tahoe Golf Course, hit the 314-yard mark. Kathryn Tappen, a host and reporter for the NFL and NHL on NBC Sports, reached 255 yards. A light breeze was at the players’ backs on the No. 1 tee.

LeMaster, O’Neal and Tappen will be three of the record five women competing in the 27th annual celebrity tournament on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Soccer star Abby Wambach and Golf Channel host Lisa Cornwell also are in the field. Last year, Cornwell finished 64th and the other woman in the field, actress Kim Alexis, was in last place at 91st.

The tournament will submit LeMaster’s 336-yard effort at over 6,000 feet to the Guinness Book of World Records with video authentication.

“I love that all four girls were out here,” said the 5-foot-11 LeMaster, who played college golf at Cal State Sacramento. “I only hit four (drives) in the grid out of nine. I knew accuracy wasn’t going to be my forte, but I knew length could be. I was fortunate with the elevation here at Tahoe. …

“I wanted 345 really bad. That 293 ball was it, but I caught it too high on the club face.”

The concept was presented to the tournament by LeMaster, the 2013 Women’s World Long Drive champion. She’s familiar with the elevation at Lake Tahoe (6,200 feet), where drives travel farther in the thinner air. After winning in 2013, LeMaster finished second in the Women’s World Long Drive competition in both 2014 and 2015 and is playing in the American Century Championship celebrity tournament for the first time this year. LeMaster’s winning drive in the World Long Drive competition in 2013 at Mesquite, Nev., was 306 yards.

A Sports Illustrated model, Golf Channel host and former LPGA Symetra Tour player, O’Neal is a two time NCAA long drive champion from her years with the women’s golf team at Arizona State University. She was pleased with her efforts.  “I hit 325, so I gave it a shot,” she said. “I hit every fairway, though, so I give myself points for that. But Heather was great. She crushed it.”

LeMaster, who is recently engaged and had small, black pistol earrings dangling from each ear, liked the thought of possibly ending up in the Guinness Book of World Records.

“I think it’s a great possibility,” she said. “It’s a lot to build on. I think it’s a realistic number that other girls are going to look and go, hey, I can do this, or, hey, I should come out to the American Century next year when we do it again.”

The tournament is Friday through Sunday and will be televised on the NBC Sports Network (Friday, 6-8 p.m. EST) and NBC (Saturday and Sunday, 3-6 p.m. EST).

Among the other celebrities competing are actor/singer Justin Timberlake, two-time and reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, former NBA star Charles Barkley, actor Ray Romano  and comedian Larry the Cable Guy.

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