Ahead of the first event of the inaugural G4D (Golf for the Disabled) Tour season, G4D @ Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett, we profile the ten-strong field set to compete at The Belfry from May 2-3.
G4D @ Betfred British Masters is among five new tournaments on the schedule of seven events in 2022, along with the Porsche European Open, Horizon Irish Open, BMW PGA Championship and the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters respectively, with the events to be played during the same week and on the same course as DP World Tour tournaments.
The season will 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.
Headlined by World Number One Brendan Lawlor, nine of the world’s top ten from the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) ‘Gross’ are due to tee it up at the iconic Brabazon 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 (Gross Ranking) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 title European Championship for Golfers with Disability 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.
Great to start the season this way 71-68 for a total of -5, to win the EDGA Algarve Open.— Juan Postigo Arce (@JuanelePostigo) February 15, 2022
Swing felt great during the week, time to get home and put some work on my weaknesses.
Really looking forward to what seems to be a great 2022 season! #TeamPING pic.twitter.com/xAW7M7uAzR
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.
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: 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.
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 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.
Fjaeraa currently lies seventh in the WR4GD ‘Gross’ division after successful recent events.
The Norwegian, whose home golf club is Gamle Fredrikstad GK, in Viken, about nine miles south of Oslo, plays mainly in Norway but also participates in EDGA events overseas, most recently the 2021 EGA European Individual Championship for Golfers with Disability in Portugal.
He sustained injuries in both his job in construction and after a couple of mountain bike crashes. Surgeries have helped but nevertheless the damage resulted in him losing strength and range of motion in both shoulders, making the completion of the swing a particular challenge.
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.
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 hadn’t 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 tenth in the WR4GD.
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.
Daphne van Houten
A routine physical screening at just 12 years old found a life-changing issue in van Houten’s back, yet she became the first woman to break into the top ten of the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability in mid-2019.
The Dutch golfer became the first female golfer to participate competitively in the first of five 36-hole tournaments – the EDGA Cazoo Open – that formed part of the EDGA Tour in 2021.
Van Houten, who is the leading women’s player on the WR4GD at 16th, retained the European Championship for Golfers with Disability title last summer with a 15-stroke victory in Portugal.