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Putting For Special Olympics

Posted Jan 29, 2013

Feely, Campbell, Sendlein take part in Waste Management Phoenix Open event

Defensive end Calais Campbell autographs and returns a hat to a Special Olympian Tuesday. For a photo gallery, click here.

Calais Campbell hunched over his putt and studied the read Tuesday morning.

There were only a few feet between his extra-long putter and the second hole of the CBS Outdoor Special Olympics Putting Event at the TPC Scottsdale. It was one of the preliminary events leading up to this weekend’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Calais tapped in and gave a very Tiger Woods-esque fist pump in celebration.

“I’m not a good golfer by any means but it was fun for what it represents with the Special Olympics,” Campbell said.

Campbell was joined by teammates Jay Feely and Lyle Sendlein on the putting green. They were paired with local businessmen, celebrities and Special Olympians. Also competing were other area athletes, past and present, including former Diamondback Luis Gonzalez, former Sun Tom Chambers and current Sun Channing Frye.

The nine-hole competition was alternate shot format, and while the catcalls were directed toward the athletes, the focus was on the Special Olympians.

Campbell golfed with Brett Stadheim, 30, and Dave Wood of CBS Outdoor. Feely’s group included Danny Daguanno, 30, and Kevin Rowe from Lerner and Rowe. Sendlein putted alongside Ryan Carlson, 34, and Brian Jantzen, 31.

Sendlein played a round of golf Monday to warm up for the putting challenge.

“It didn’t really help my psyche out,” he joked.

But Sendlein didn’t think the Special Olympians’ psyches would be affected by having an NFL player around.

“I’m sure they’re so into what they’re doing I don’t think they’re real worried about who they’re playing with,” he said. “I think they just want to make putts and win.”

Many of the Special Olympians asked for autographs and photos with the players, and wanted to talk about the upcoming season with new coach Bruce Arians.

While the players enjoyed the easy-going atmosphere encompassing the competition, they turned on the focus when it was their turn to putt.

For Feely, an avid golfer, putting isn’t his strong suit on the course but he managed to walk away feeling satisfied with his performance and his group’s effort.

“It was great,” Feely said. “To see them and see their love for the game and their love for sports, any time you’re around Special Olympians, it gives you an appreciation for athletics and what it can do.”

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