Geoff Nicholas won the inaugural WA All Abilities title.
Amputee golf legend Geoff Nicholas will go to Dubai next month to freshly compete for another win – this time in the Western Australian All Abilities Championship.
The 58-year-old professional from Sydney won the very first All Abilities Championship ever played as part of a State Open with four shots by Shane Luke, himself a national amputee champion, at Cottesloe Golf Club.
Luke started hot, but eventually had no gaps in the chase to defeat Nicholas (76-79), who won tournaments around the world and competed in the Australasian PGA Tour, despite losing his right leg as a 13-year-old.
"I think the whole 11 (players) did very well," Nicholas said. "I've played tour events before and it can be pretty tough, and when we played on Saturday, we had the worst of the wind. So it was pretty cheeky."
Nicholas said it was pleasing for the All Abilities players to see disabled people in the crowd, knowing that they could offer inspiration. "You just feel that they might be inspired to leave, that it's possible," he said. "It gives those people an incentive."
The 11-player field for the WA Open field and Christian Hamilton, the national inclusion manager of Golf Australia, is optimistic that it will soon become a permanent part of the tournament.
"The players loved it, they were very proud to share the stage in a State Open, and Michael Sim (the Open winner) made a comment in his speech about how great it was to integrate the All Abilities players into the tournament, "said Hamilton.
Nicholas flew home from Perth to attend his daily work with his driving range at Banton Park in southwest Sydney. But he will soon be on the road again, invited to participate in the season closure of the European Disabled Golf Association as part of the DP World Tour Championship of the European Tour.
Geoff Nicholas (NSW) 76-79 155
Shane Luke (NSW) 83-76 159
Arnold Bamroong (Vic) 80-83 163
Tony Coates (WA) 88-85 173
Nicholas Panos (WA) 92-87 179