Dundalk’s Brendan Lawlor carded a brilliant final round of 71 to win the inaugural EDGA Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club to edge a little closer to his dream of becoming the top-ranked disabled golfer in the world.
Played alongside the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, the 36-hole event featured ten players from the World Rankings for Golfers with Disability taking on the same layout as the European Tour field in the third Rolex Series event of the season.
Lawlor carded a 77 on day one but followed it with the lowest round of the event to finish at six over par, one shot clear of World No 1 George Groves.
Determined to make golf more inclusive, Lawlor won the G-Golf Knockout against fellow EDGA Scottish Open participant Adem Wahbi at the Belgian Knockout earlier this season, earning him a place in the field for the KPMG Trophy on the European Challenge Tour in August.
Ranked third in the world and a member of Dundalk’s Senior Cup squad, he plays off scratch and has Ellis–Van Creveld syndrome, a disability characterised by a shorter stature and shorter limbs.
Lawlor said: "It feels great. 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 wee bit of nerves.
"Everyone out here are unbelievable players 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.
"To play in such a fantastic event, it's an amazing achievement for EDGA to get us in, and for the European Tour to recognise 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."
12 months ago I met Brendan, he had2dreams - one was to be the world #1 golfer with a disability, second was to grow the no.of opportunities available to those with a disability in Ireland. He’s doing the 1st all by himself & @CGI_Golf with @CaraCentre_ie are working on the 2nd. https://t.co/cCwHfha9Yr— Anne McCormack (@AnnieMcbrett) July 14, 2019
Lawlor started the day three shots behind Groves - who has a a paralysis of the left arm called Erb's Palsy - but overturned the advantage thanks to a brilliant front nine, birdieing the fourth, fifth and seventh to lead by one at turn despite dropping a shot on the ninth.
England's Mike Browne finished at 11 over par, six shots clear of American Christopher Biggins and eight ahead of Australian Shane Luke.
Another Australian in Geoff Nicholas, Swede Joakim Björkman, Belgian Wahbi, local favourite Paul Ellison and South African Reinard Schuhknect completed the field.
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.
With both the European Tour and EDGA (European Disabled Golf Association) striving to create a lasting legacy, EDGA offered free golf lessons with professional coaches to spectators with a disability on site at The Renaissance Club throughout the week of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.