Dundalk Golf Club’s Brendan Lawlor came out on top at the inaugural EDGA Scottish Open.
Dundalk Golf Club’s Brendan Lawlor came out on top when the inaugural EDGA Scottish Open was held alongside the European Tour’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club over the weekend.
The 36 hole event featured ten players from the World Rankings for Golfers with Disability taking each other on over the same layout the European Tour field were tackling in the third Rolex Series event of the season.
Lawlor carded a 77 in round one on Saturday to lie third overnight and produced the lowest round of the event when he shot a level par 71 to finish on six over, one shot clear of World Number One George Groves.
“It feels great,” said Lawlor after his victory. “Today everything clicked, I smoothed it off the tee, I didn’t miss many fairways and the putts dropped when I needed them to drop. I had a few bogeys coming in but we'll put that down to a wee bit of nerves.
“I felt I played a lot better than six over on Saturday. The course was really, really hard and was playing 7,200 yards with no run on the ball because it was quite wet. However, I felt I had a chance being three behind with only two players ahead of me and I got off to the start I wanted to on Sunday.”
Lawlor started the day three shots behind Groves but was brilliant on the front nine, birdieing the fourth, fifth and seventh to lead by one at turn despite dropping a shot on the ninth.
Groves - who has a paralysis of the left arm called Erb’s Palsy - made gains of his own on the first and seventh but dropped shots on the second, third, sixth and eighth, and further bogeys on the tenth and 11th left the Englishman two behind, with Lawlor also bogeying the 11th.
Lawlor dropped a shot on the 13th but moved back two ahead as he picked it straight back up on the next.
A bogey on the 17th then set up a tense finish but Groves parred his final seven holes to leave Lawlor signing for a 71 to claim the title.
“There were scoreboards up around the course so I knew the position I was in which was good, but I was nervous going down 18. I hit a good drive down the middle, but I left my approach shot short and had a really good two putt to get my par and the win,” said Lawlor as he added another memorable week to his CV.
“It was an amazing moment and all the pros were really nice. Paul Dunne, whom I first met in Australia at the end of last year, was waiting for me at the finish so it was nice to have that sort of support on the day,” he added.
Lawlor feels that events like the Scottish Open are really helping to showcase and promote Disabled Golf.
“Everyone out here are unbelievable payers and it's great to showcase it. To be out here this week competing with all the pros and having the chance to play off the same tees, it’s a privilege for all of us,” said Lawlor.
“To play in such a fantastic event, it’s an amazing achievement for EDGA to get us in and for the European Tour to accept that disability golfers are talented is fantastic as well.
“Inclusion is everything in the world and it’s fantastic to be accepted.
“For so many professional golfers to accept what we're doing and accept that we can play with them, it’s fantastic. They can see our talent and that's helping too.”
Lawlor will be back mixing it with the pros in August when he takes part in the European Challenge Tour’s KPMG Trophy in Belgium in August which was his prize for winning G-Golf Knockout against Adem Wahbi at the Belgian Knockout a few weeks ago.
The world mumber three, who is a member of Dundalk’s senior panel, plays off scratch and has Ellis-Van Creveld syndrome, a disability characterised by a shorter stature and shorter limbs.
The EDGA Scottish Open is the first of two disability championships scheduled alongside Rolex Series events on the 2019 Race to Dubai, with the 36 hole EDGA Dubai Finale due to feature as part of the season ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai at Jumeirah Golf Estates in November.