U.S. Adaptive Open to welcome global field to Pinehurst July 18-20

Kellie Valentine plays her shot on the driving range before the U.S. Adaptive Open Preview Day at Pinehurst No. 6 in Pinehurst, N.C. on Monday, March 28, 2022. (Copyright USGA/James Gilbert)

LIBERTY CORNER, New Jersey – The full field for the inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open – a new national championship that will showcase the world’s best golfers with disabilities on Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 6 from July 18-20 – has been set by the USGA.

The USGA received 299 entries for the 2022 U.S. Adaptive Open’s 96-player field, and the field includes competitors from 29 states and 12 countries, including five competitors from North Carolina. The championship’s youngest competitor is 15-year-old Sophia Howard from Hudsonville, Mich. Judith Brush, 80, of Alexandria, Va., is the championship’s oldest player.

“We are thrilled by the level of interest and support that we’ve received from the adaptive community for the inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open,” said John Bodenhamer, chief championships officer for the USGA. “To receive nearly 300 entries from around the world underscores the passion of these athletes who are seeking the opportunity to compete for a national championship.”

A player’s individual Handicap Index® was the primary factor in determining the field, with the USGA reserving at least five male player spots and two female player spots per impairment category.

C.C. of Birmingham assistant pro Chris Biggins, who has cerebral palsy, is one of the top adaptive golfers in the world. (USGA/James Gilbert)

Dennis Walters, 72, of Jupiter, Fla., who received the 2018 Bob Jones Award, the USGA’s highest honor, will join 6 other golfers who qualified in the seated player impairment category. Walters has turned the tragedy of being paralyzed from the waist down at age 24 from a golf-cart accident into a personal mission to teach golf and life lessons to a worldwide audience.

Amy Bockerstette, 23, of Phoenix, Ariz., who has a close relationship with 2019 U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland, will compete in the intellectual impairment category. Bockerstette, a disabilities advocate, founded the I Got This Foundation to provide golf instruction, playing opportunities and organized events for people with Down Syndrome and other intellectual disabilities.

Chris Biggins, the director of player development at the Country Club of Birmingham (Ala.), who was born with cerebral palsy, will compete in the neurological impairment category. The Country Club of Birmingham is the site of the 2022 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, with the championship’s 18-hole final round being contested today.

“Competing in an official USGA championship has been a dream of mine for years and now that dream will be coming to fruition,” said Biggins. “This event will attract the best golfers from around the world to compete on an incredible course, Pinehurst No. 6. It is an honor to compete in this historic event and help pave the way for the growth of disabled golf.”

The championship is open to both male and female professional and amateur golfers with a World Handicap System™ Handicap Index® of 36.4 or less and an eligible impairment confirmed by a WR4GD Pass. The impairment categories are as follows:

* Arm Impairment

* Intellectual Impairment

* Leg Impairment

* Multiple Limb Amputee

* Neurological Impairment

* Seated Players

* Short Stature

* Vision Impairment


Jim got his start in golf writing with a gig at a Connecticut-based golf magazine, where he interviewed Ernie Els, among others. Since then, he’s covered tournaments for the LPGA, PGA Tour, Champions Tour and many amateur events. His work has been published in a number of magazines including GolfBoston Travel & Leisure, Southern New England Golf, New England Golf Monthly and Rhode Island Monthly. Jim ‘s favorite golf courses are Kebo Valley in Bar Harbor, Maine, Pebble Beach and Furry Creek in Vancouver B.C. and almost any Donald Ross course. Jim can be reached by email at golfer1051@yahoo.com.

Leave a Reply

Notify of