England’s medalists from the recent European Team Championship and Nations Cup will be out in force this week to push for more success in the English Open for Golfers with a Disability.
Golfers from Australia, Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as England will make up the 71-strong field taking on the Cheshire course at Carden Park Golf Club over two days starting from tomorrow.
The eight English men and women who represented their county in Belgium with distinction and brought home bronze in the Team Championship and silver in the Nations Cup will be among the ones to watch this week.
Brad Smith from Royal Cromer will strike the first ball of this year’s event at 8.30am tomorrow – with England team-mates Tom Beard, Aimi Bullock and Andrew Gardiner (main image) following on soon after.
Martine Gilks and her 17-year-old daughter Heather (pictured below), both of whom were runners-up with England at the Nations Cup, are joined in the field by their international teammates Johnny Reay and George Blackshaw.
As well as England’s heroes from the Euros, members of the Irish team who struck gold at the same event will be at Carden Park.
In line with the growth of golf and its reach across all communities, the field brings together golfers with a range of disabilities.
These include Wallasey’s Steve Beevers (visual impairment), Jay Stally from West Hoves (hearing impairment) and wheelchair golfer Greg Jackson from Brailsford.
Players will again compete for the overall title won last year by Kipp Popert.
The Kent golfer misses the defence of his crown as he chases qualification for The 150th Open.
This is an amazing opportunity for Popert – a regular winner on the EDGA circuit – who last week become the first disabled golfer to compete in the Amateur Championship held at Royal Lytham and St Annes.
The following titles are up for grabs this week at Carden Park:
- Overall gross winner (handicap indexes up to 18.4)
- Men’s nett prize (handicap indexes up to 18.4)
- Women’s nett prize (handicap indexes up to 18.4)
Players with an index of 18.5 and above will compete in a Stableford format for the title currently held by Graeme Mazur.
“I am really pleased to see such a strong and competitive field come together at our event,” said Jamie Blair, diversity and inclusion manager for England Golf
“Whilst there are still some general concerns for disabled people returning to sport and leisure since the pandemic, this event is testament to golf’s broad reach and its positive impact on disabled golfers in the last few years.
“Golf is fantastic in getting people outside, exercising, competing and socialising in an environment which is positive for their mental health.”
Results from this week will also count towards world ranking positions as golfers battle to reach the EDGA Playoff Series which returns to Stratford-upon-Avon in September.
- Full information on the English Open for Golfers with a Disability, including tee times and links to live scoring, is available here
Photography credit: Leaderboard