Ahead of the G4D Tour @ BMW PGA Championship - the fifth event of the inaugural G4D (Golf for the Disabled) Tour season - we profile the ten-strong field set to compete on the West Course at Wentworth Golf Club from Monday September 5 - Tuesday September 6.
For the first time, the top ten players in the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) will compete together in the same G4D Tour event.
World Number Two Kipp Popert kicked off his season in style winning the opening two events, the G4D Tour @ Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett and at the G4D Tour @ Porsche European Open.
Fellow Englishman Mike Browne then broke Popert’s dominance with a win at the G4D Tour @ Horizon Irish Open before Italian Tommaso Perrino claimed a commanding five-shot victory at the G4D Tour @ ISPS Handa World Invitational Presented by Aviv Clinics in Northern Ireland.
After the two-day tournament at Wentworth, there will be the G4D Tour @ Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters at the world-renowned Valderrama from October 10-11.
The season will then culminate in the Series Finale at the G4D Tour @ DP World Tour Championship in Dubai ahead of the final Rolex Series event of 2022, the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai where the qualifiers from the previous six events will compete at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 18-19.
Here, we take a closer look at the field vying to win the title on Wentworth’s West Course.
Disability: Short stature
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 and made his full DP World Tour debut in the UK Championship at The Belfry in August 2020, lost in a play-off to Popert at the G4D Tour @ Porsche European Open at Green Eagle Golf Courses in Germany earlier this season.
Disability: Cerebral Palsy (CP)
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.
Disability: Right leg dysmelia
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 in 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.
Disability: Cerebral Palsy (CP)
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.
Barkley, born with a curvature of the spine, was one of eight golfers with a disability who qualified to play in two EDGA tournaments, on the same courses and on the same days as DP World Tour events in 2021.
Across his participation in the EDGA Hero Open and then at the EDGA Cazoo Classic at London Golf Club the week after, he finished third to qualify for the Dubai Finale last year. The Canadian lost in a three-man play-off at the start of the 2022 G4D Tour season at The Belfry.
During his 2019 season on the EDGA tour, he had five top-three results in six tournaments, including winning the Ontario Disabilities Championship, and finishing third at the U.S. Disabled Open, the Canadian Amputee and Disabled National Open and the United States Adaptive Golf Alliance International Para-Golf Competition in Las Vegas.
Disability: Above knee amputee
Browne suffered a broken left leg during a routine training exercise serving for the Royal Artillery unit in 2011, but the injury had not healed almost two years later due to a rare infection which led him to undergo amputation two years later.
Since taking up golf as an Army amputee, he has turned professional and now sits seventh in the WR4GD with a first G4D Tour victory to his name after he cruised to a four-shot win at Mount Juliet Estate in June.
Last season, he finished fourth at both the EDGA Cazoo Open and ISPS HANDA World Disability Invitational to secure his place at the Dubai Finale, played over 36 holes at the Earth Course.
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 sixth 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 has played at the 2020 and 2021 Italian Open as an invitee of the DP World Tour and won the most recent G4D Tour event in Northern Ireland.
Disability: Right leg amputee
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.
After making his debut on the G4D Tour at Galgorm Castle in Northern Ireland, he now finds himself in the top 10 of the WR4GD.
Nationality: South Africa
Disability: Fibular hemimelia
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.
He 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, Watts recently burst into the top 10 of the WR4GD after victories in the EDGA Ebotse Links Disabled Open, the EDGA Irene CC Disabled Open, and EDGA KwaZulu Natal Disabled Open. He also enjoyed a top-25 finish in the US Adaptive Open at Pinehurst in July.
Disability: Leg length discrepancy
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 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.