San Juan County Golfer Takes Gold in 2022 Special Olympics USA Games

Shawn Palmer, a Special Olympics athlete, mentor and coach with the San Juan County Special Olympics program, won the gold medal in Golf at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida this June. A familiar face at Riverview Golf Course, Shawn had many supporters rooting for him back home.

Shawn scored 96 and 85 in his first two rounds. In the final two rounds of competition, Shawn shot an impressive 86 and 81. He placed first in Level 5 by 6 strokes and won the gold medal.

First Tee Four Corners Program Director Tom Yost was selected as Golf Team coach for the state of New Mexico and accompanied Shawn to Orlando. Yost said of Shawn’s performance, “I am so proud of Shawn, not only for his performance in winning the gold medal in golf at the Special Olympics USA Games, but for how he conducted himself throughout the process. Shawn worked diligently in getting prepared, was a true gentleman on the course during the competition, and was a huge help to the other athletes when he wasn’t competing. He encompasses all nine of our core values and represented himself and our community to the highest level.”

Upon arriving home, a small party was held in Shawn’s honor, celebrating what he and the other Special Olympics New Mexico athletes had achieved. He said of his experience in Orlando, “I just want to thank everyone on my team for supporting me and cheering me on.”

First Tee–Four Corners has run golf programs for Special Olympics athletes for over 10 years. This partnership has been a key component to First Tee’s outreach programs. These athletes compete in golf with unified partners as well skills competitions ranging from short putting to irons and woods. We are grateful for the opportunity to support Shawn on his journey to success. 

The San Juan Special Olympics program and First Tee–Four Corners are so pleased to honor this beloved community member and talented golfer for his success, and we look forward to many more years of wonderful golf games and valuable mentorship.