Valley Native and Wounded Warrior Qualifies for Simpson Cup - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Valley Native and Wounded Warrior Qualifies for Simpson Cup

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VISALIA, Calif. (KMPH) -

After the four major championships, there is no more popular golf tournament than the Ryder Cup - four days of team match play, pitting the United States against Europe. Well, now there's something new called the Simpson Cup. It's the same concept, but the competitors are injured servicemen and military veterans. Recently, a Valley native was selected to play for the United States team.

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It was one said, golf is a good walk spoiled. But don't say that to former Army Staff Sergeant and Veteran KC Mitchell.

"Immediately I was addicted. Because it was something I could do," Mitchell says about the sport.

In April of 2010, an IED in Afghanistan exploded directly beneath the Exeter High grad. Severely burned, Mitchell spent a year at Walter Reed Medical Center, where his left leg was amputated. He's now been through 32 surgeries in all.

Two years ago Mitchell was transferred closer to home, to San Diego. That's where the former high school football player and wrestler was introduced by a friend to a new sport.

"He was like, 'hey man, you want to golf? I was like I don't know if I can golf. I don't know. Uh, sure,'" recalls Mitchell.

San Diego is also the home of 'Operation Game On.' Founded by Tony Perez - father of PGA golfer Pat Perez - the program fits wounded warriors with clubs and instruction tailor made to accommodate their disability.

Mitchell points out, "The good thing is I never golfed before. I learned how to golf like this, and it feels natural to me."

Prosthetic leg and all, Mitchell's gone from shooting in the 120's to the 70's. He also drives the ball 270 yards. Good enough to be picked to play four days at Royal-Lytham & St. Anne's in England, site of last year's British Open.

The former soldier will again be representing his country - this time as one of just 12 Americans in the second ever Simpson Cup.

"There's a lot of wounded soldier golfers out there – I was pretty proud and just very excited," says Mitchell.

Nothing can spoil Staff Sergeant KC Mitchell's walk now, least of all golf.

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You can help Mitchell and other injured veterans who are taking up the game of golf by donating to the 'On Course Foundation' - which created the Simpson Cup and will fund the team's trip to England. Find that page here: http://www.oncoursefoundation.com/donate/

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