Going the Distance

Monica Lieving of Lakewood becomes at least 2nd Coloradan to win women’s World Long Drive Championship, following in footsteps of Nancy Abiecunas

By Gary Baines – 10/24/2023

Lakewood resident Monica Lieving has hit many drives much longer than the one she did on Sunday to win the women’s World Long Drive Championship in Atlanta. Make that MANY.

For example, she smacked a 361-yarder in round 1 of last week’s event.

But, ironically, Lieving needed something far less than her best to land the biggest title of her life — that of women’s champion in the grandaddy of them all, the World Long Drive Championship. 

When three-time world champion Phillis Meti failed to get any of her six drives in the grid in the finals, Lieving needed only a 288-yard effort for the title. (By comparison, Meti hit the overall longest drive by a woman in last week’s event — a 382-yard blast in the quarterfinals.) But the bottom line was that the Colorado Realtor did what was necessary to reach the top of the world in women’s World Long Drive. And, mind you, Lieving is a rookie on the WLD circuit.

Lieving, who grew up in Geneseo in western Illinois, and played college golf at Arkansas State, called capturing a world title “absolutely priceless. It’s a lifelong goal for sure. To do it in my rookie season (is) pretty darn cool.”

Sunday’s victory — Lieving’s third in six events in 2023 — moved her up to No. 1 in the women’s WLD rankings. She previously won this year in Mesquite, Nev. in March and Hobe Sound, Fla., in April. 

This year marks at least the second time a Coloradan has won the women’s World Long Drive Championship. In 2003 Nancy Abiecunas of Fort Collins captured the title with a drive of 332 yards. Abiecunas was the U.S. Girls’ Junior runner-up in 1999.

Kyle Berkshire won the men’s crown on Sunday for his third WLD Championship.

About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for since 2009. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates