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The US Adaptive Open continues to evolve. Here are 5 things you should know

Randy Shack first Monday at the 2024 US Adaptive Open.

Kathryn Riley/USGA

It’s a busy week in major championship golf: the stars of the women’s game play a major role at the Evian Championship in France; the top men’s players will be preparing for the Open Championship at the Scottish Open, at the Renaissance Club, North Berwick; LIV Golf is also in session, in Valderrama, southern Spain.

But there is at least one more championship this week that deserves attention: the third round of the US Adaptive Open, contested at Sand Creek Station in Newton, Kans., just north of Wichita. Here are 5 things you need to know.

What is the US Adaptive Open?

Open to male and female golfers in eight handicap categories, the Adaptive Open – although still young – has already established itself as one of the most rewarding and inspiring tournaments on the world golf circuit. Ninety-six players are on the field this week, from 15-year-old Ryder Barr (Upper Limb Impairment) to 78-year-old Bruce Hooper (Visual Impairment). The player pool is also geographically diverse: 32 states are represented in Sand Creek, as well as 11 different countries.

“This is a new tournament for the US Golf Association,” Greg Sanfilippo, the USGA’s executive director of tournaments, told the USGA. Newton Kansas“but this is a gap that doesn’t exist for 50 to 75 years in a dynamic society.”

Ask Larry Celano, the 55-year-old who is competing this week in the Seated Player category.

“I am surprised that I go out and do something that I like, that I know well, and people are encouraged,” said Celano on Sunday. “I was injured when I was 20 years old in the military, in the Army, in Division Panama, and I never considered myself a hero or anything like that, but since adaptive golf and the Adaptive Open, it’s exploded, people are coming. to me I say, ‘Larry, you’re amazing, you’re an inspiration.’

“That’s why I’m determined to do this. But if I can go out and play good golf and be motivated, it’s a win win.’”

What’s new this year?

A lot!

First, the setting. The first two editions of the event were held at Pinehurst, meaning this is the first Adaptive Open to visit the Midwest. The host course, Sand Creek Station, is 30 miles north of Wichita and was the site of the 2014 US Amateur Public Links Championship. The Jeff Brauer design, which opened in 2006, meanders through fields of corn and alfalfa with a working rail line that separates nine from nine.

Brendan Lawlor, the 32-year-old Irishman who is ranked No. 3 in the World Handicap Golfers, thinks the birds may be taken.

“I think there will be a very low result because there are a lot of short hobos,” he said after his practice round on Sunday. “I would say that the courses are very short so that you can get them. I think people can go out and shoot for a number.”

Two other firsts this year: (1) The majority of the field is qualified by one of six fairways that meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act for accessibility, and (2) This week’s tournament has a cutoff, which will follow 36 holes. . Advancing to the final round on Wednesday will be the top 20 men and ties and the top three men and ties from each Handicap Category, and the top 10 women and ties and the top two women and ties from each Handicap Category. (Any player within five strokes of the lead in their handicap category will advance.)

river of sand
Sand Creek Station is north of Wichita.

Russell Kirk

Best story lines? Choose your own

In golf, we often celebrate (and report on) select players in a particular field who have overcome adversity and challenges to achieve fame. But at the Adaptive Open those inspirational legends are in every group on the tee sheet. Throw an arrow and it will hit one.

Take it Alex Fourie, 31, a PGA professional from Murfreesboro, Tenn. Fourie was born in Ukraine with a cleft lip, cleft palate and one arm. As the USGA says, “he was adopted from a Ukrainian orphanage at the age of 7 by South African missionaries serving in Alabama, where he took up the game shortly after moving to his new home. Fourie now works for a construction company and started raising money for orphans in Ukrainians who were displaced from their homes because of the Russian invasion.”

Or Kim Moore from Portage, Mich., who won the women’s overall championship at the inaugural US Adaptive Open in 2022. Moore was born with a missing right foot, a severely bowed left foot and a mild case of spina bifida. A former standout golfer at the University of Indianapolis, Moore is today a PGA student and the women’s golf coach at Western Michigan University.

Or Kenny Bontz of Parrish, Fla., who developed childhood diabetes and, at age 19, Ewing sarcoma in his leg. Bontz, who is 54 years old, had six knee replacements in nine years and finally chose to have his leg amputated.

In the open category of 96 players, there are 93 notable stories like this.

What are the categories of impairment?

There are eight of them, which the USGA uses to set the field, award tees and award prizes: Intellectual Disability; Impairment of the Lower Limbs; Multiple Limb Amputee; Sensory Impairment; A sitting player; Short Status; Impairment of Upper Limbs; Vision Impairment.

The 96-player field has eight levels of damage.

Kathryn Riley/USGA

How can I follow the action?

Live scoring and more information is available through the USGA’s Adaptive Open page. You can follow all the men’s results here and the women’s overall results here. The first round is underway. The second round is on Tuesday, the third and final is on Wednesday.

The Golf Channel’s “Golf Today” will also provide additional information and live coverage of the Adaptive Open from 1-3 pm EDT Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, as will “Golf Central” from 5-6 pm EDT. On Wednesday, the Golf Central team will cover the last 30 minutes of the final round, including the trophy ceremony.

Alan Bastable Editor

As editor-in-chief of, Bastable is responsible for the editorial direction and voice of one of the game’s most respected and heavily trafficked news and services outlets. He wears many hats – editing, writing, imagining, developing, dreaming up one day he breaks 80 – and feels privileged to work with an insanely smart and hard-working team of writers, editors and producers. Before taking over, he was the features editor at GOLF Magazine. A graduate of the University of Richmond and the Columbia School of Journalism, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and four children.

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