The G4D Open

World number one Popert leads after opening round

The R&A
15 May 24
3 mins

Kipp Popert underlined his status as the world’s leading golfer with a disability by opening up a three-shot lead on day one of The G4D Open at Woburn.

The Englishman, 25, mixed six birdies with just two bogeys in an opening four-under-par effort of 68 to highlight his position as the top-ranked player on the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD).  Popert, who has cerebral palsy, was runner-up to Brendan Lawlor in last year’s inaugural Championship and shone in the sun over the Duchess Course as he bids to add to his nine victories on the G4D Tour.

Excellent start from Popert

“It was a very solid round,” said Popert. “It's much easier than last year in the sense last year was boggy due to the rain and this year it's nice weather.  “For example, the tee shot on 17 is so much easier now because last year we had to take on the tree on the left. Whereas this year, you can just hit 5-iron and it runs down the slope. The greens are really good and the course is in great nick. Two more good days of golf and see how we go.” Irishman Lawlor, ranked second in the world standings who has a rare condition called Ellis–van Creveld syndrome, admitted he could be set for another duel with Popert as he signed for a one-under-par 71, aided by a birdie on the last. “It was tough enough out there and a lot more bouncier than last year,” remarked Lawlor. “You really have to hit the shots. I’m happy enough. It's a marathon not a sprint. So I’ll just keep myself in there going into the next few days. Four-under-par out there is super shooting from Kipp but I feel like I have that in me tomorrow.”

Kipp Popert - England

"Woburn the last two years is special. To provide the buggies and everything that goes into hosting this event and the wide range of disabilities and people that are able to play is brilliant."

Browne pleased with effort

He continued, “I couldn't get over it when we walked in yesterday, seeing all the faces on the branded boards. Even the fine details like your name on the range. The guys at The R&A, DP World Tour and EDGA have stepped up this year and I haven't heard one person complain about being here. It's a great event.” Mike Browne – who had his left leg amputated following a service injury – also posted a 71, a hugely impressive effort given the Englishman double bogeyed the 5th before rallying.  “I'm happy,” stated Browne. “I'm not the best of players around this course to be fair, but anything around par I would take it and run. I'm really happy with that round. I've just got to work on some putting and we're good to go.” Australian Lachlan Wood is on level par, with South African David Watts and Johan Kammerstad from Sweden next best-placed on one-over. Another English player Thomas Blizzard, 18, sat an A-Level exam yesterday but kept his focus to sit inside the top ten after a 76. Daphne van Houten from the Netherlands, the leading women’s player in the field, struck the opening tee shot on her way to an 82.

Honour to start Championship

Van Houten said, “It was amazing to hit the opening tee shot. With many people watching, and the nerves, it always feels nice to do that. I did hit a good one as well. It was amazing to do, plus getting a par on the first hole.” Established last year, the Championship – held in partnership between The R&A and the DP World Tour and supported by EDGA (formally the European Disabled Golf Association) – is one of the most inclusive ever staged. The G4D Open features nine sport classes across multiple impairment groups, with 80 men and women players of both amateur and professional status representing 19 countries. Contested over three days until Friday across 54 holes of gross stroke play, there will be an overall winner, along with an opposite sex winner and a gross prize in each of the sport classes which cover various categories in Standing, Intellectual, Visual and Sitting.

Brendan Lawlor - Ireland

"Yeah, four-under is great shooting but I feel like I have that in me tomorrow. I was happy with the under par round today."

Spectator entrance free

England’s Tony Lloyd (Standing 1), was born with bilateral upper limb phocomelia (he refers to this as having elbow-length arms with no hands), returned an 86 to highlight his skills. Spectators are welcome to attend at Woburn for The G4D Open, with attendance and car parking free of charge. The establishment of The G4D Open follows on from the inclusion of the Modified Rules of Golf for Players with Disabilities in the Rules of Golf and The R&A and USGA’s ongoing administration of the WR4GD.