NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Chris Osborne is not letting anything hold him back…especially not a missing limb.
The Tennessee State University graduate and former Tiger track standout, who lost his left leg in a 2004 hit-and-run motorcycle accident, is a golf national champion.
At the recent ParaLong Drive Nationals in Mesquite, Nev., the Morristown, Tenn., native hit a history-making 332-yard to take first place and the championship in the Above the Knee Division.
“This really came as a big surprise,” said Osborne, adding that his goal was to beat his personal career best of 326 yards. “When the announcer said I had hit 332 yards I was just elated.”
Friend and fellow competitor Dean Jarvis was equally elated and proud.
“Chris put on an amazing performance,” said Jarvis, founder of the Amputee Long Drive Championship. “I appreciate his performance more than anyone else because the Above the Knee Division had not achieved at its highest level until he blasted a 332-yard rocket.“
Osborne, who describes himself as a “self-taught golfer,” said his victory at the ParaLong Drive was his first win in six tournaments since 2010.
“My game is improving and I am very pleased with how I hit my long ball,” said Osborne.
A resident of Birmingham, Ala., Osborne is a 1995 graduate of TSU, and former president of the Birmingham chapter of the TSU National Alumni Association. As a track star at TSU, Osborne ran the Open 400 indoor/outdoor, the 400 huddles indoor and 55 high hurdle indoor. He also was an honor student and a scholarship athlete, who was awarded the Scholastic Achievement Award for GPA.
His tie to TSU goes deeper than his personal academic and athletics achievements at the institution. His parents, Willie Osborne (’54) and Claire Osborne (’53), are graduates of TSU.
The former news broadcaster, and now PR Director for the Alabama Red Cross, said he hopes to use his talents to help promote amputee golf and “the amazing players who have overcome great obstacles to enjoy the game.”
“Chris is not just a player. He is also an outstanding person and an ambassador for the game of golf and Long Drive,” said Jarvis, about his longtime friend.
At the recent screening in Birmingham of ‘From the Rough,’ a movie inspired by the life of Dr. Catana Starks, who became the first African-American woman to coach an all-men’s golf team at the collegiate level, Osborne said he was inspired by the effort of the TSU coach.
“About a month later I was fortunate to meet Coach Starks in person for the first time, and we had a wonderful conversation,” Osborne said. “I am so inspired by her story, and meeting her was quite a humbling experience for me.”
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With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.