Bumper field go for glory at English Open for Golfers with a Disability

Defending champion George Groves will lead the challenge at the English Open for Golfers with a Disability between 23-24 June at Whittlebury Park.

The world number two (main image) is back to push for a title he won when the event was last played in 2019.

This year’s championship has attracted its largest ever field with over 50 male and female competitors not only playing for silverware, but also points on The R&A’s World Ranking for Golfers with Disability system.

“The number of entrants this year is brilliant and we’re excited to welcome competitors back to this event after a year’s hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions,” admitted Jamie Blair, England Golf’s inclusion manager.

“Golfers with a disability have been among those hit hardest by the pandemic because of a need to shield.

“Many missed the regularity of golf and the social interaction that is a key element of the game’s attraction.

“That’s why we’re delighted to once again be able to stage this championship – and attract our largest number of golfers to a fabulous venue for what promises to be a highly-competitive event.

“England Golf’s recently-announced Course Planner is founded on key strategies such as inclusivity and open access to the game.

“Events such as this one provides great opportunities for golfers with different impairments to play championship golf and to test themselves against their peers.

“George is back to defend his title and it will be fascinating to see who can push him this year and challenge for the trophy.

“This is an event that England Golf is proud to stage and with new faces taking part and more women than ever before signed up it promises to be an intriguing two days of competition.”

Players must hold an EDGA Access or World Rankings Pass or hold a national or international deaf sport classification to take part.

The field also includes blind golfers and those with Parkinson’s and there are competitive elements to suit all categories of players.

The winner will be the competitor who returns the lowest gross score over 36 holes. Prizes will also be awarded for the lowest net scores for players with a handicap index of scratch (or lower) to 18.4.

Players with a handicap index of 18.5 to 36.4 will play in a 36-hole Stableford competition category of the main championship.

England Golf’s social channels will provide coverage of the championship played over the Grand Prix and Royal Whittlebury courses at the Northamptonshire venue.

Also, look out for Ellie Perks (pictured above) – a star of the EDGA circuit and unable to play this year due to injury – doing a takeover of England Golf’s Instagram channel to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the event.

Ellie, 16, who has a form of dwarfism, was one of the first winners of England Golf’s Hero’s Handshake award.

An eight handicapper, she has won the Phoenix Cup for Europe and played in the Rose Ladies Series.

“Personally, I think that this takeover will give people a massive insight into disability golf, “admitted Ellie.

“I have a massive belief that all of these competitors will open the public’s eyes to disability golf and I look forward to showcasing their amazing talents across the week.”