The Irish Open for Golfers with a Disability begins on Monday with a stacked field set to tee it up in Roganstown including Irish internationals Conor Stone (Carton House) and Alan Gaynor (Co. Sligo) while former one-arm world champion Brendan Swan (Co Meath GC) will be in action.
One man who won’t be is Brendan Lawlor as the G4D Open champion has a G4D event in the Belfry prior to next week’s British Masters. He will miss out on Monday’s Irish Open which features 19 single figure handicappers and two plus handicappers in a field rich with quality.
“Golf Ireland have really taken on disability golf and driven it on into all the golf clubs and we have some unbelievable players with the likes of Aidan Grenham, Conor Stone and Alan Gaynor, top players, it’s filtering through all different countries as well,” explained Lawlor.
“We never had an event in Ireland until two years ago and to have to open more spots for people to enter is incredible. Unfortunately I won’t be there we have a G4D event in the Belfry and I wish you could be in two places at once but you can’t.”
The Dundalk man was speaking after his second round at the Irish Legends at Seapoint Golf Links where he got the opportunity to showcase his talents alongside Indian legend Jeev Milkha Singh.
“It’s been an unreal experience, honoured to get the invite this week to play one of the nicest golf courses in Ireland. The course is in fantastic condition and the greens are class, the fairways are superb and I am really enjoying it.
“Jeev is an unbelievable ball striker still. Hitting drivers off the deck which is unbelievable to see, you can’t buy that experience of just seeing how they get around the course and keeping the numbers low, it’s incredible.
“I got a few congratulations about the G4D Open win this week which is mad. You don’t realise yourself that it’s as big as it is, you just want to keep winning tournaments and doing the best you can and promoting the sport. That win was special.”
It’s been a hectic week for Lawlor so far, stopping between shots for selfies, portraits and autographs while the weight of the golf bag on his caddies shoulders has been lightened with the amount of golf balls he has given away to fans. Safe to say his profile is rising constantly, with spectators dying for a piece of Ireland’s superstar.
“It’s massive. DP World give us a great platform to display disability golf, it’s going off on huge media channels and people are getting their eyes on it. That’s the important thing, people need to see it. We’ve had some great crowds here this week and they’ve seen what I can do. They probably knew who I was from being around but haven’t seen how I can hit a ball. There isn’t much difference between ourselves and the professionals we are good ball strikers we have good short games and a great mentality’s that’s what people need to realise.
“The standard is unbelievable. Kipp hasn’t got over the line this year but that’s swings and roundabouts, I had a bad year last year but won plenty the year before, it’s great to see people competing at this level and we are all there to showcase what we can do and get this as a mainstream sport.
“Juan Postigo has two wins this year, he was injured the last few years and he has come back flying this year. He is one of my best friends on the G4D Tour, we stay together and play practice rounds together. It’s nice to surround yourself with good guys.”
On to matters at hand, the Carton House man will be looking to add to his G4D Open title at another iconic venue, the Belfry next week and he is hunting more titles before the season draws to a close.
“It’s an unreal golf course. I don’t have the best track record over there but the weather is better this year, I’ve usually played it in soppy wet conditions so hopefully the ball win run over there and it will be a different course. Not getting a practice round in because I’m here, heading over tomorrow night and play Monday and Tuesday which is good prep for it.
“We have four or five G4D events left, if I can win one or two more I will be happy.”