Lawlor comes from behind to win EDGA Scottish Open

Brendan Lawlor came out on top when the inaugural EDGA Scottish Open was held alongside the European Tour’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club over the weekend.

The 36 hole event featured ten players from the World Rankings for Golfers with Disability taking each other on over the same layout the European Tour field were tackling in the third Rolex Series event of the season.

Lawlor carded a 77 in round one on Saturday to lie third overnight and produced the lowest round of the event when he shot a level par 71 to finish on six over, one shot clear of World Number One George Groves.

“It feels great,” said Lawlor after his victory. “Today everything clicked, I smoothed it off the tee, I didn’t miss many fairways and the putts dropped when I needed them to drop. I had a few bogeys coming in but we’ll put that down to a wee bit of nerves.

“I felt I played a lot better than six over on Saturday. The course was really, really hard and was playing 7,200 yards with no run on the ball because it was quite wet. However, I felt I had a chance being three behind with only two players ahead of me and I got off to the start I wanted to on Sunday.”

Lawlor started the day three shots behind Groves but was brilliant on the front nine, birdieing the fourth, fifth and seventh to lead by one at turn despite dropping a shot on the ninth.

Groves – who has a paralysis of the left arm called Erb’s Palsy – made gains of his own on the first and seventh but dropped shots on the second, third, sixth and eighth, and further bogeys on the tenth and 11th left the Englishman two behind, with Lawlor also bogeying the 11th. Lawlor dropped a shot on the 13th but moved back two ahead as he picked it straight back up on the next. A bogey on the 17th then set up a tense finish but Groves parred his final seven holes to leave Lawlor signing for a 71 to claim the title and add another memorable week to his CV.

“Everyone out here are unbelievable payers and it’s great to showcase it. To be out here this week competing with all the pros and having the chance to play off the same tees, it’s a privilege for all of us,” said Lawlor.

“To play in such a fantastic event, it’s an amazing achievement for EDGA to get us in and for the European Tour to accept that disability golfers are talented is fantastic as well. Inclusion is everything in the world and it’s fantastic to be accepted.

“For so many professional golfers to accept what we’re doing and accept that we can play with them, it’s fantastic. They can see our talent and that’s helping too.”

Lawlor will be back mixing it with the pros in August when he takes part in the European Challenge Tour’s KPMG Trophy in Belgium in August which was his prize for winning G-Golf Knockout against Adem Wahbi at the Belgian Knockout a few weeks ago.

The World Number Three, who is a member of Dundalk’s Senior Panel, plays off scratch and has Ellis-Van Creveld syndrome, a disability characterised by a shorter stature and shorter limbs.

The EDGA Scottish Open is the first of two disability championships scheduled alongside Rolex Series events on the 2019 Race to Dubai, with the 36 hole EDGA Dubai Finale due to feature as part of the season ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai at Jumeirah Golf Estates in November. 

“I felt I played a lot better than six over on Saturday. The course was really, really hard and was playing 7,200 yards with no run on the ball because it was quite wet. However, I felt I had a chance being three behind with only two players ahead of me and I got off to the start I wanted to on Sunday.”

Lawlor started the day three shots behind Groves but was brilliant on the front nine, birdieing the fourth, fifth and seventh to lead by one at turn despite dropping a shot on the ninth.

Groves – who has a paralysis of the left arm called Erb’s Palsy – made gains of his own on the first and seventh but dropped shots on the second, third, sixth and eighth, and further bogeys on the tenth and 11th left the Englishman two behind, with Lawlor also bogeying the 11th. Lawlor dropped a shot on the 13th but moved back two ahead as he picked it straight back up on the next. A bogey on the 17th then set up a tense finish but Groves parred his final seven holes to leave Lawlor signing for a 71 to claim the title and add another memorable week to his CV.

“Everyone out here are unbelievable payers and it’s great to showcase it. To be out here this week competing with all the pros and having the chance to play off the same tees, it’s a privilege for all of us,” said Lawlor.

“To play in such a fantastic event, it’s an amazing achievement for EDGA to get us in and for the European Tour to accept that disability golfers are talented is fantastic as well. Inclusion is everything in the world and it’s fantastic to be accepted.

“For so many professional golfers to accept what we’re doing and accept that we can play with them, it’s fantastic. They can see our talent and that’s helping too.”

Lawlor will be back mixing it with the pros in August when he takes part in the European Challenge Tour’s KPMG Trophy in Belgium in August which was his prize for winning G-Golf Knockout against Adem Wahbi at the Belgian Knockout a few weeks ago.

The World Number Three, who is a member of Dundalk’s Senior Panel, plays off scratch and has Ellis-Van Creveld syndrome, a disability characterised by a shorter stature and shorter limbs.

The EDGA Scottish Open is the first of two disability championships scheduled alongside Rolex Series events on the 2019 Race to Dubai, with the 36 hole EDGA Dubai Finale due to feature as part of the season ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai at Jumeirah Golf Estates in November. 

Lawlor finishes second in France

Brendan Lawlor

Brendan Lawlor made it a great weekend for Dundalk’s elite players when he finished second in the opening event on the 2019 European Disabled Golfers Tour.

Winds in excess of 50mph on day one of the Pas De Clalais Handigolf Open in France saw Lawlor shoot a ten over par 83 to lie well done the field at the halfway stage.

But he came charging back in the final round and shot a three under par 70 to climb up the leaderboard and finish in second place, five shots behind the winner, Charl Henri Quelin of France.

Lawlor ready to tee up with the pros in Australia

Brendan Lawlor

Dundalk Golf Club’s Brendan Lawlor is preparing for the trip of a lifetime in November when he will head to Sydney to tee it alongside the professionals playing in the Emirates Australian Open. Last year’s event included Jason Day and Jordan Speith and previous winners have included Speith, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Lee Westwood and Greg Norman.

Lawlor is among 12 of the top disabled golfers in the world who will be playing for the Australian All Abilities Championships alongside the professionals at The Lakes Golf Club as part of an initiative to help golf become more inclusive at all levels and also help the case being made by the International Golf Federation for the sport to be included in the 2024 Paralympics in France.

“This is the very first time it has happened,” explained Lawlor. “There was a display at the Portuguese Masters but nothing like this where we will be playing competitively in the same field as the professionals.

“Ours is a three day event, theirs is a four day event. But when the cut is made you will be paired with a pro-golfer and playing the same course,” added Lawlor who is travelling Down Under as one of seven European players in the field and with a huge incentive.

“If I win in Australia I can go to world number one so that’s my goal. I’m number three at the moment and getting to number one would be huge for me.”

Lawlor, who has Ellis-Van Creveld Syndrome, a bone growth disorder that leads to shorter limbs, is a member of the European Disabled Golfers Tour and although he only joined it late last year it didn’t take him to long to find his feet. This year he won in Portugal, France and Czech Republic to shoot up both the European and World rankings.

“It’s been fantastic. The talent that’s out there on tour is amazing. I couldn’t get over it the first time I played. There were people with one leg and one arm hitting it 260 yards. You wouldn’t see able bodied people doing that.

“What helps me is probably competing at able bodied golf all my life and playing with Dundalk and also in Ardee at the start. I’ve played able bodied golf all my life and I knew I had the game and the confidence to succeed in it.”

Lawlor is a member of Dundalk’s Senior Panel which won the Leinster Barton Shield title, reached the semi-final of the Leinster Senior Cup and was beaten in the All-Ireland Barton Shield Final this year. He says that playing senior golf in Ireland has helped his game and contributed to his success on the EDGA Tour.

“The standard here is a little bit better than the standard would be out on tour. The best out there is really good, but at club level I’m competing against Caolan Rafferty off plus five and Aaron Grant off plus three so it doesn’t really get better than that. When you are going out there on tour, knowing you’ve been playing against Caolan or Aaron, it gives you confidence.”

Lawlor, who is 21, has only been playing golf for six years having started in pitch and putt because he didn’t think he would have the strength needed for the bigger game.

“I didn’t think I was strong enough at the start so I started playing pitch and putt and I got to the highest level in pitch and putt and won two All-Irelands. I was playing it week in week out. Then I started golf and was given a handicap of 28. I was down to 10 in my first year and I just kept plugging away and I am off one now. Put in the hard work and things will happen.”

That hard work is now reaping unthinkable dividends for Lawlor as he prepares to head to Australia and his date with the pros which will then be followed by a Ryder Cup style match between Europe and Australia in Melbourne.

“It’s a great buzz. If I stuck at able bodied golf my whole life I’d never get this opportunity so it is opening massive doors for me.”

He is hoping that the exposure disabled golf gets from playing alongside the professionals in the Australian Open will persuade the powers-that-be to allow the sport into the 2024 Paralympics as he would love the opportunity of going for gold in France in six years’ time.

“I am third in the world and I want to be competing in the Paralympcis,” stated Lawlor who along with another disabled golfer, Gareth McNeely, is currently trying to set up an Irish Disabled Golfers Association.

 

 

 

Lawlor wins Czech Masters by seven shots

Brendan Lawlor won the Czech Masters by seven shots on the European Disabled Golf Association Tour over the weekend.

Lawlor, who had already won in Portugal and France earlier in the year, opened up with a two under par 70 at Mstětice Golf Club in Prague. His first round included four birdies and an impressive hole in one at the par three eighth.

That left him five shots clear heading into the second and final round and he rolled in another four birdies on his way to a 75 which was enough to see him take the title by seven shots from Sweden’s Joakim Bjorkman.

Lawlor, who is 21, suffers from Ellis-van Crevels Syndrome, a bone growth disorder that leads to shorter limbs. He currently plays off a two handicap and is a member of Dundalk’s Senior Panel which has qualified for the Leinster quarter-finals in both the AIG Senior Cup and AI G Barton Shield.

ENDS