Golfer Amy Bockerstette Makes History as 1st Person With Down Syndrome to Compete in College Championship

Amy Bockerstette
Amy Bockerstette.Twitter

Amy Bockerstette, who has Down syndrome, has been making history since she started competing in golf tournaments in high school.

Here nickname is "Amazing Amy," and Amy Bockerstette is all that.

The 22-year-old golfer made history this week by becoming the first person with Down syndrome to compete in a national collegiate championship.

"I don't get nervous, just very excited! I am very happy to be here," Bockerstette told People magazine at the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament in Florida. "Dad does get nervous, though."

The three-day contest began Monday at the Plantation Bay Golf & Country Club in Ormond Beach. Bockerstette says the best part of the championship isn't competing, it's the camaraderie.

"I like meeting new friends at the tournaments, I have fun," she told CBS News when asked why she loves the sport. 

"We joke in our family that Amy plays golf in order to meet new friends," said her dad, Joe. 

She's been making history for years.

She was the first student with Down syndrome in her native Arizona to play in the state high school playoffs. A year later in 2018, she became the first person with Down syndrome to get a college athletics scholarship when she accepted an offer from Paradise Valley Community College.

"I love my teammates, they are my best friends," she said. "Golf is fun. I like putting the best."

Her dad says spending time on the links with his daughter has constituted "some of the most fun moments of my life."

A particularly fun and famous moment occurred in 2019 when she made par on a famously difficult 16th hole at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. A wowed pro golfer Gary Woodland looked on admiringly after Bockerstette quipped, "I got this."

The phrase has become one of her trademarks and is the name of a nonprofit her family runs. The I Got This Foundation offers golf lessons and organized events for people with intellectual disabilities including Down syndrome.

"It is an incredible moment to see Amy playing at nationals," her mother said. "It has far exceeded our goals and expectations. We are so proud of what she has accomplished and we are humbled by what her accomplishments mean to the Down syndrome community."

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