While playing for the New England Patriots in 1991, Shawn McCarthy booted a 93-yard punt that stands as the third longest in NFL history and continues to be a team record.
As proud as McCarthy is of that record-setting gridiron feat, he is almost equally as pleased that Chaparral Pines Golf Club, where he now works as a pro, has been asked to host one of Arizona’s three major golf tournaments.
“We are pretty honored,” he said.
The Arizona mid-amateur championships tee off today, Sept. 26, and continue tomorrow before wrapping up on Sunday.
Play each day will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The tournament format is stroke play.
McCarthy said tournament qualifiers must be older than 25 and have a 5.4 index or lower.
“These are some very good players,” McCarthy said.
From around the state, 84 qualifiers are expected to participate.
Mark Apps and Dave Bosley will represent the Rim Country in the prestigious tournament.
For newcomers to the Rim Country who might not be familiar with McCarthy’s feat, let’s revisit the pro football season of 1991.
“(The punt) traveled 73 yards in the air and got over (the punt returner’s) head, then rolled to the one (yard line)” McCarthy remembers. “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.
However, 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 — seven 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 5-yard line twice.
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.
After pro football, he turned to a career in golf.
Town of Payson Trails and Outdoor Recreation Coordinator Mary McMullen is confused over the lack of interest being shown the Second Annual Rim Country Open Disc Golf Tournament to be held Oct. 4 at Rumsey Park.
“Registrations are low at this point,” she said.
Last year, the inaugural event was a smashing success and organizers, which include the Arizona Disc Club, were expecting a repeat.
As yet, that does not appear to be happening.
It is not, however, too late to sign-up. Registration will take place until Oct. 4 and can be completed on site.
Check in is 8:30 a.m. and a players’ meeting will be held one hour later.
Round one begins at 10 a.m. A second round will be held at the conclusion of the first.
The entry fees are $35 for the open division, $30 for open women and master, $25 for advance and advanced master, $20 for intermediate and intermediate women and $15 for novice.
A trophy presentation will begin immediately after round two.
For the tournament, 18 temporary holes will be set up at Rumsey Park.
Although the sport has never been played competitively in the Rim Country until last year, six entrants were from Payson.
Disc golf was formalized in the 1970s according to the Professional Disc Golf Association’s Web site at www.pdga.com.
It has grown by leaps and bounds ever since.
Unlike regular golf, most disc golf courses are located in public parks and are free to play, although some courses require a small fee.
The sport requires inexpensive discs, instead of costly clubs and balls. The modern disc golf player targets his throw at a metal basket with chains hanging over it.
For more information, call McMullen at (928) 474-5242, ext. 358.