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July 23, 2003

Roberts claims 7th national title

From: Bolivar Herald Free Press, MO - Jul 23, 2003

By Bill

Roberts traveled to Southern Pines, N.C., to compete in the National Deaf Golf Championships. He captured that event by one stroke for his seventh Deaf Golf Association national title.

"I just played well. I didn't do anything special," Roberts said. "I didn't do anything different."

Kevin Cribbs, Roberts' constant companion on the golf course, praised Roberts' consistency as the reason for his success.

"Bill does a good job of really concentrating every time on what his next shot is going to be," Cribbs said. "His strong point is striking the ball. He doesn't mis-hit his shots. He hits the ball solid most of the time."

Roberts will lead a United States team of golfers at the World Deaf Championships in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2004. He traveled to England and South Africa for previous world meets.

Parents Bill and Carolyn Roberts of Bolivar discovered Bill IV had a hearing defect shortly after his birth in 1961. At the age of 3 1/2, he began attending the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis.

He began attending public schools as a Bolivar seventh grader and graduated from Bolivar High School in 1980. He began playing golf during high school and later attended Southwest Baptist University, before the Bearcats formed a golf team.

Roberts became SBU's first golf coach in 1991. The Bearcats ranked 20th in NCAA Division II play that season.

He started playing in the National Deaf Championships in 1990 and won his first title with a 314 score in Ames, Iowa. He won with a 301 at Des Moines, Iowa, in 1991 and placed second the following three years.

Roberts again won the national title in 1996 with a 294 in Bend, Ore. He won with a record 279 at St. Louis in 1997.

He won the Springfield Golf Association City Championship in 1995, the state four-ball championship in 1996 and is a three-time Silo Ridge Golf and Country Club champion here in Bolivar.

Roberts has teamed with Cribbs and others to win countless area tournaments.

"Bill doesn't consider his hearing impairment as a handicap," Cribbs said. "He's easy to talk to and he understands others very well. To me and others that know him, he's just one of the guys.

"I think the hearing impairment is almost an advantage for him. He doesn't hear the distractions others hear. He can easily focus in on what he wants to accomplish."

©Ozarks Newsstand 2003