PINEHURST — For many, it’s just another Monday morning. The start of a new work week, getting the kids out of bed and breakfast on the table. But for the golf world — and more specifically, those with a range of disabilities — history is being made in the pines.
Ninety-six players tee off Monday at Pinehurst No. 6 golf course for the U.S. Adaptive Open, launching a United States Golf Association event like none ever hosted before.
This new championship will showcase golfers from around the world with a range of disabilities with impairment categories including: arm impairment, leg impairment, multiple-limb amputee, vision impairment, intellectual impairment, neurological impairment, seated players, and short stature.
This is a brand new category for the USGA and makes it the 15th U.S. Championship in the rotation that the organization hosts each year.
To qualify, competitors have to have an eligible impairment and also have a golf handicap no higher than 36.4. Out of 299 entries, the field was narrowed down to the final field of 96 players.
Grace Anne Braxton, 50, of Fredericksburg,Virginia, had the honor of hitting the first tee ball Monday and officially starting tournament play. A healthy crowd of patrons, USGA staff, and media were present to witness the first tee shot at 8 a.m.
Braxton is playing in the intellectual impairment category.
The tournament will be played Monday-Wednesday with tee times starting at 8 a.m. each day. At the completion of tournament play, an individual male and female champion will be crowned.
Entrance into the event is free of charge and more information on the tournament can be found at USGA.com.