AAAC takes another daring step

Posted by on October 08, 2019  /   Posted in golf news

Daphne Van Houten is already a winner in European events. Photo: EDGA

The groundbreaking Australian All Abilities Championship is back for a second year – and this time with another huge scoop.

After a hugely successful inaugural tournament last year, the AAAC will return to Sydney and be played simultaneously with the Emirates Australian Open in December.

Christian Hamilton, Inclusion Manager at Golf Australia, said the creation of the World Rankings for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) had opened another historic path for the world's first event.

"We were overwhelmed by the global support we received last year as we turned the AAAC into the first event of its kind to be played as part of a powerful national championship," said Hamilton.

"It has helped to ensure that all capacities have a real grip all over the world and with that came the rankings with which we can take another important step when we come to the Australian Golf Club in December.

“Those rankings are not gender-specific, so I am pleased to say that we can announce Dutch golfer Daphne Van Houten as the first female participant in the AAAC, which also means that it is the first time in more than a century of Australia. Opens that a woman has played in the field.

"It is clearly a major problem for Daphne, but it is important to note that she has earned her way in this position as the number 15 player on the WR4GD.

"It is very important that Daphne gets this opportunity, because traditionally it has been considerably more difficult for women to climb this ladder in a male-dominated space.

"Daphne understands that participating in the AAAC will open more doors for women and girls with disabilities in our sport worldwide."

Van Houten was enthusiastic with her invitation to the 12-person field, but especially with the opportunity to expose more women to the sport.

"It is sometimes very difficult to see women in golf, so if playing in this event helps more women with disabilities to play golf, then I am very happy to (do my bit)," she said.

"It will be great playing with so many stars (from world golf) … I can't wait to get there."

Hamilton announced just as much when announcing the rest of the field that the now global WR4GD – unlike the European rankings under which the event was first played last year – means North Americans can now be part of the event.

“We have two American players in Kenny Bontz and Chad Pfeifer, both leg amputers who have qualified through their ranking positions. And we also have our first Canadian in Kurtis Barkley, "said Hamilton.

"That was a huge effort, since the US and Canada did not arrive at the WR4GD until January.

"Bontz is currently working on the PGA Champions Tour qualification, while Pfeifer is the current national American amputee champion and Barkley, who was not even in the rankings last year and is now in the top twelve in the world."

The Swedish Johan Kammerstad returns to defend the AAAC crown, which he sealed last year with an outstanding 73 in The Lakes, when his last lap was better than 25 of the valid competitors in the Australian Open.

Mike Browne of England is another AAAC debutant who has quickly climbed the rank this year. Like New South Welshman Geoff Nicholas, Browne is an amputee who is a professional golfer.

The recently crowned Scottish Open (EDGA) champion Brendan Lawlor returns as a professional after he has recently signed an agreement as a Modest Golf Ambassador. Lawlor was second in Sydney last year, just before the Belgian Adem Wahbi, who will also return.

Nicholas & # 39; entry will be a busy year. The Sydneysider played the Scottish Open (EDGA), qualified for the Senior Open Championship and will soon play the EDGA Final at the DP Tour World Championship in Dubai.

Nicholas will lead a strong Aussie contingent, also with Shane Luke, Cameron Pollard and Stephen Prior.

Pollard, a last-minute recording in 2018, returns as an automatic qualification that has played brilliantly and has therefore played a huge role in fueling many people with intellectual disabilities who have joined the Special Olympics rankings.

AAAC field 2019

Johan Kammerstad (SWE)
Brendan Lawlor (IRE)
Mike Browne (ENG)
Kurtis Barkley (CAN)
Breath Wahbi (BEL)
Daphne Van Houten (NED)
Kenny Bontz (USA)
Chad Pfeifer (USA)
Geoff Nicholas (AUS)
Shane Luke (AUS)
Cameron Pollard (AUS)
Stephen Prior (AUS)

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