BRADENTON, Fla. — On a sunny Friday morning, Jared Stancil is celebrating his 12th birthday at his favorite place with his favorite guy — River Run Golf Links in Bradenton with his father, Chad Stancil.
“I love hitting my driver off the tee,” says Jared, who has Down syndrome. “And being a good sport.”
These two have a fun time together, but look closer and you’ll see something else.
Jared and his father are really good golfers.
In fact, they’re so good, they flew to Seattle in July and were crowned national champs at the Special Olympics USA Games.
In 2022, they’ll defend their team title when the Special Olympics brings the big games to Orlando.
“Twelve years ago, you find out he has Down syndrome, and you have all these questions, and you don’t know what’s going to happen,” says Chad. “Then 12 years later, you’re out at nationals, and you’re watching him be happy and excel at golf.”
Thanks to Jared, who can drive the ball 180 yards straight down the middle of the fairway, the father-son duo averaged under-40 for 9 holes in Seattle, putting them in first place.
“Whenever I hit a bad shot, I always tell him, ‘You gotta pick me up!’” says dad. “We make a good team.”