G4D

G4D @ ISPS Handa World Invitational Presented by Aviv Clinics - Player profiles

Ahead of the G4D @ ISPS Handa World Invitational Presented by Aviv Clinics - the fourth event of the inaugural G4D (Golf for the Disabled) Tour season - we profile the ten-strong field set to compete at Galgorm Castle Golf Club from August 8-9.

Juan Postigo

The G4D Tour has so far seen World Number Two Kipp Popert lift the trophy at both the G4D @ Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett and at G4D @ Porsche European Open.

Fellow Englishman Mike Browne, who does not tee it up this week, broke his dominance with a win at the G4D @ Horizon Irish Open and we stay on the island of Ireland for this week's action.

After the week in Co Antrim, there will be the G4D @ BMW PGA Championship and G4D @ Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters.

The season will then culminate at the G4D Tour @ DP World Tour Championship in Dubai ahead of the final Rolex Series event of 2022, the DP World Tour Championship, where the qualifiers from the previous six events will compete at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 14-15.

Seven of the top ten in the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) are in the field this week and here, we take a closer look at them.

Brendan Lawlor

Age: 25

Nationality: Irish

Disability: Short stature

Brendan Lawlor

Lawlor was born with rare bone disorder Ellis-Van Creveld Syndrome, characterised by a shorter stature and shorter limbs.

Since playing in his first EDGA event at the end of 2017, Lawlor has won a host of titles, including back-to-back victories at the EDGA Cazoo Open and ISPS HANDA World Invitational presented by Brendan Lawlor in August last year to become World Number One in the WR4GD before he ended 2021 with a four-stroke victory at the EDGA Dubai Finale.

The Irishman, who turned professional in 2019, also made his full DP World Tour debut in the UK Championship at The Belfry in August 2020.

Kipp Popert

Age: 24

Nationality: English

Disability: Cerebral Palsy (CP)

Kipp Popert

Having been born ten weeks premature, Popert was later diagnosed with a form of CP called Spastic diplegia that affects his lower body, and he underwent complex surgeries to restructure his right foot in 2016 and then his left foot in 2018.

A final round bogey-free six-under-par 66 at Fairmont St Andrews saw Popert win the EDGA Hero Open last August and replace Lawlor at the top of the World Rankings, before he finished tied third behind the Irishman in the 2021 EDGA season finale in Dubai.

Popert, who has a degree in Business Management and Golf from the University of Birmingham, was the World Number One when the DP World Tour announced the launch of the G4D Tour in February and won the opening two events.

Juan Postigo

Age: 26

Nationality: Spanish

Disability: Right leg dysmelia

Juan Postigo-1395176524

Postigo was born without much of his right leg and no knee, but since starting to play golf aged 12 has gone on to become World Number Three in the WR4GD.

He defended his individual men’s European Championship for Golfers with Disability title in 2021, after the biennial event was cancelled for 2020.

Born in the same part of Northern Spain as Seve Ballesteros, Postigo claimed the top prizes in both the Gross and Nett divisions as the European Disabled Golf Association kicked off its 2022 campaign with the Vilamoura Open in February.

Chris Biggins

Age: 30

Nationality: American

Disability: Cerebral Palsy (CP)

Chris Biggins

Biggins claimed a maiden EDGA DP World Tour victory at the EDGA Cazoo Classic in August last year to book his place in the season-ending finale in Dubai.

Victory saw him become the first American to win an EDGA DP World Tour title as he carded a level par 72 on the final day - the best round of the tournament.

Biggins, who won the US Disabled Open Golf Championship in 2019, works as director of player development at The Country Club of Birmingham in Alabama and is also a competitive Alpine skier with a long-standing aim of representing the United States at both the summer and winter Paralympics.

Tommaso Perrino

Age: 38

Nationality: Italian

Disability: Orthopaedic

Tomasso Perrino -1331609195

The Italian suffered a scooter accident, limiting the functionality of one leg, when he was 17 in 2001 but has since gone on to become one of EDGA’s leading players, currently ranked seventh in the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability.

Perrino, who was the Italian champion aged 16, is a head coach at the Cosmopolitan Golf & Country Club in Tuscany, the club where he grew up playing the sport.

He finished runner-up at the inaugural EDGA Cazoo Open at The Celtic Manor Resort last year and has played at the 2020 and 2021 Italian Open as an invitee of the DP World Tour.

Bradley Smith

Age: 28

Nationality: English

Disability: Right leg amputee

Bradley Smith

Smith was studying for his PGA degree when, at the age of 22, he lost his right leg from the knee to a rare form of bone cancer. The father of two would resume his golf, however, starting with a 5.4 handicap which he reduced to 0.2 through hours on the practice range.

Back in competition, he has brought his A-Game to EDGA tournaments in 2022, most notably delivering a seven-shot win in the PING Open for Golfers with a Disability in mid-June.

Making his second appearance on the G4D Tour, the 27-year-old has just climbed into the top 10 of the WR4GD.

David Watts

Age: 35

Nationality: South Africa

Disability: Fibular hemimelia

David Watts

Watts, from Durban in KwaZulu Natal, was born with a condition where the ‘calf bone’ in his left leg failed to develop. Three times by the age of 16, complex procedures to lengthen his leg by a total of 23cm would each need a year or so of painful treatment.

David had joined Durban Country Club as a 10-year-old, needing to patiently build a left-handed swing to accommodate his weaker leg.

Playing off a handicap of +0.4, David recently burst into the top 10 of the WR4GD and is in fine form for his G4D debut.

Highlights include victories in the EDGA Ebotse Links Disabled Open, the EDGA Irene CC Disabled Open, and EDGA KwaZulu Natal Disabled Open, while he also enjoyed a top-25 finish in the recent US Adaptive Open at Pinehurst.

Johan Kammerstad

Age: 46

Nationality: Swedish

Disability: Leg length discrepancy

Johan Kammerstad

Kammerstad was born without some bones, and a lack of muscles in his right leg.

The Swede, a four-time European Champion, won the ISPS HANDA Australian All Abilities Championship for the second year running in 2019 as he beat Kurtis Barkley in a sudden-death play-off at the end of the 72-hole tournament at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney.

With the next two editions unable to take place due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kammerstad was one of four golfers to participate in the first ever ISPS Handa All Abilities Champions Playoff in Hawaii in January this year, staged while the first and second rounds of the PGA TOUR’s Sentry Tournament of Champions took place.

Conor Stone

Age: 27

Nationality: Irish

Disability: Kyphoscoliosis (curvature of the spine)

Conor Stone

Born in Dublin, Stone started playing golf at 13 and was a scratch golfer at 17. During his Paddy Harrington Golf Scholarship at Maynooth University he was diagnosed with a progressive form of Kyphoscoliosis and by 20 he was unable to play golf due to the severity of the curvature in his spine and associated pain.

Surgery before his 22nd birthday and two tough years of rehabilitation gave Stone a slow path back into golf but he now has a handicap of +1.1 and recent victories have propelled him up the WR4GD.

Wins in 2022 include the EDGA Pas De Calais Paragolf Open, the European Team Championship with Ireland and the English Disability Open. Fresh from finishing seventh in the US Adaptive Open, Stone is making his G4D debut.

Rasmus Lia

Age: 21

Nationality: Swedish

Disability: Leg impairment

Rasmus Lia

A promising junior cross-country skier, Lia fell 27 metres on the slopes when he was 12 and suffered back, hip, pelvis and leg injuries. Realising his cross-country days were over, he took up golf at the course where his father worked.

Back in April he finished in a narrow second place in the EDGA Pas de Calais Paragolf Open in France, followed by a third place in the Italian Open for Disabled in May, before helping his national team Sweden to finish second in the European Team Championship in June.

Now up to 17th in the WR4GD, he is making his second G4D appearance.