Local Golf Pro An Nfl Record Holder

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Most every golf pro can spin tales about hole-in-ones, sub-par rounds, 300-yard drives and tournament victories.

But only Chaparral Pines Golf Club pro Shawn McCarthy can stake a claim to having once booted a 93-yard punt that today stands as the third longest in NFL history and is a New England Patriots' team record.

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Chaparral Pines golf pro Shawn McCarthy once booted a 93-yard punt that today stands as the third longest in National Football League history and is a New England Patriots' team record.

McCarthy, who played two seasons for New England, unleashed the amazing punt Nov. 13, 1991 in a game that pitted the Patriots against the Buffalo Bills.

And the Chaparral Pines pro remembers it well.

"It traveled 73 yards in the air and got over (the punt returner) head, then rolled to the one (yard-line)" McCarthy said. "We downed it there."

The Bills team that McCarthy chalked up the record-setting punt against was a Super Bowl contender that featured NFL legends Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas.

"If I remember correctly, after my punt they took over and marched the length of the field for a touchdown," McCarthy said.

In that memorable game, he averaged 51.2 yards on five punts and had a second boomer -- this one good for 67 yards.

During the 1991 campaign, McCarthy's first full season in the NFL, he played in 13 games and punted 66 times for an average of 40.2 yards per punt. The true test of any punter is whether he has the ability to back the opponent up against its own goal line. McCarthy had that talent;7 of his punts landed inside the 20-yard line.

In the game in which he set the team record, he pinned Buffalo inside their own five-yard-line twice.

The Patriots finished the season with a 6-10 record.

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Shawn McCarthy shows the form that made him one of the NFL's best punters when he played for the New England Patriots.

"We were a better team than that, but we couldn't close the deal," McCarthy said. "We'd lose in overtime or the final few minutes (of regulation)."

In 1992, McCarthy was re-signed by the Patriots as a free agent. That season, he set a team record for most punts (103) and punt yardage (4,212). He also averaged 40.9 yards, had 18 land inside the 20-yard line and didn't have a single punt blocked.

"I punted a lot that season. The average number of punts in an NFL season is about 65," he said. "We weren't a very good team."

In fact, the Patriots only won two games and those were back-to-back clashes late in the season against the Colts and the Jets.

"We were 0 for September, October and November," McCarthy said.

Following the 1992 season, McCarthy stepped away from his NFL career due to a bulging disc in his back that got worse with each punt attempt. Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston diagnosed the injury and speculated it was caused by overwork and his height (6 foot, 6 inches).

"What helped me reach the NFL -- my practice habits --ventually helped cause my demise," McCarthy said. "And because of my height and gravity pulling all the time, it wore out my back."

McCarthy's gridiron skills were honed at Freemont, Ohio High School, then for four years at Purdue University where he punted and saw limited playing time as quarterback.

He was recruited to Purdue by Joe Tiller, then a defensive coordinator, who is now the Boilermakers head coach.

After graduation from Purdue in 1990, he was a 12th-round draft choice of the Atlanta Falcons.

After a frustrating rookie training camp, McCarthy was cut by the Falcons.

"I tried too hard and when you have that ‘R' (rookie) by your name, as a punter it's tough," he said.

McCarthy returned home to Freemont where he spent the next year working on his punting skills.

The following season he was picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles but then signed with New England.

Following his injury, he decided to try his hand at one of his favorite pastimes -- golf.

"For me, golf had always been an escape from football," McCarthy said. "Playing golf, there is no press, no people and it's fun."

Eventually, he accepted a golf pro position at a course in Ft. Mills, S.C.

He was interviewing for a another position at a course in the mountains of North Carolina when he learned about the job opening at Chaparral Pines.

Since his wife's parents lived in Scottsdale, he was interested. His wife is Melanie McCarthy, co-owner of Mad Dawg and Mel's Restaurant on Main Street.

"In finding out about the job here, I was in the right place at the right time," he said. "I've been here more than three years and I'm loving every minute of it."

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