The best drivers of the golf ball are in Portland this weekend for the Professional Long Drive Association Connecticut Challenge. Chris Cote's Golf Shop and Range in Portland is hosting the event.
Southington native Eddie Fernandes won the senior division title with a long drive of 411 yards. Fernandes played golf at Southington High School and at Central Connecticut State University before pursuing it professionally.
After coming close to making the PGA Tour, Fernandes stepped away from the game for a bit before discovering long drive.
"I picked it up in 2013, I saw the world championships on TV and I had been out of golf since '04 - I just missed making the finals of the PGA Tour qualifying and took 10 years off, married, three kids and I said 'maybe this is something I can do,'" said Fernandes.
Fernandes, who is nicknamed Fast Eddie after Paul Newman's character in The Hustler, gave it a try and discovered he could still hit the ball very far.
"I put up some really good numbers after really not being around the game for about 10 years," said Fernandes. "I kind of fell in love with it, you know just get up there and rip golf balls as hard as you can and train my butt off."
Fernandes won the 2018 Masters World Long Drive competition and he still has that desire to compete.
"I'm feeling good. I train hard, I've been practicing a little bit more long drive rather than playing," said Fernandes. "I come here to win. I want to win in my home state in front of family and friends."
Fast Eddie did just that in the senior division. On Sunday, he will compete in the open against the best in the world, including top-ranked hitter Kyle Berkshire. Fernandes and Berkshire are good friends and recently started a golf YouTube channel together.
"Tomorrow with the young kids will be a little tougher but I'm excited. I'm putting up some good speeds and if I hit it solid, I should be in the final 8 so we'll get after it," said Fernandes. "It's great to be here in Connecticut, really, really cool."