England’s Brad Smith battles to Irish Disability Open title

Ronan MacNamara

Brad Smith of England (Photo by Matthew Lewis/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Brad Smith has claimed his second ISPS HANDA Irish Open for Golfers with a Disability in three years after he held off Thomas Blizzard in testing conditions at Roganstown.

The Englishman who plays his golf in Royal Cromer started the day with a one shot lead after a level-par 71 and despite a rocky start to his final round including a four putt double bogey on the opening hole, he held on for a four shot win on six-over-par after a 77.

“I started rough to be honest. My putting wasn’t there for me today, my driving and irons were superb,” said Smith. “I had a four putt on the first, a couple of three putts and that can just so quickly get you down and start thinking negatively but I hung in there and managed to get it done.”

Smith and Blizzard were neck and neck for most of the day and Smith trailed by the minimum after 11 holes. Three bogeys in a row from the ninth looked to have caused a wobble but he regained his composure with six successive pars meaning he could afford a closing bogey on the 18th.

“For some reason I don’t like the 18th! It’s a par five it should be quite straightforward but the green if you get the wrong side of it it’s tricky. It was nice to have that cushion to make a six. Having to make a five is hard but when you can afford to make six it’s absolutely fine.

“The course really suits my game. If you putt well on the greens it’s great but if you are slightly off with your pace it can get you down. It’s so crucial to stay positive and accept that you are going to make mistakes on the greens. Just stay present and play golf.”

This week marked the third edition of the Irish Open for Golfers with a Disability but with the addition of ISPS HANDA as name sponsors and an increase of competitors this year, Smith can see the event growing even bigger next year.

“ISPS HANDA are massive. The support they give Golf Ireland is great and the event is getting bigger and bigger which is always nice to see with any event. This one though is special. It has grown.”

Arklow’s David Quinn claimed the Net Stroke Play Division, finishing with a net -4 to capture the title on a countback and in the Stableford Division, Kieran McBrien (Tallebudgera) claimed the prize with a 91-point total.


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