15 winners — and 1 epic club twirl: This national championship had it all

An inspirational story about a golfer born in Ukraine. And one born in Cameroon. 

Fifteen champs. 

And one club that may still be twirling. 

The U.S. Adaptive Open’s third edition, played this week at Sand Creek Station in Newton, Kansas, didn’t have just one highlight. It featured a bunch. Here, then, are a few:

The story of Alex Fourie 

We learned more about Alex Fourie, who competed in the upper limb impairment category, about 32 years after he was born in Ukraine without a right arm and with a cleft lip and palate that would eventually require 22 surgeries. 

His story, produced by Golf Channel, is below, and more can be read here, in an article written by Golf Digest’s Alex Myers.

The story of Issa Nlareb

We met Issa Nlareb from Cameroon, who won the multiple limb amputee division, about six years after he underwent multiple amputations.

His story, produced by the USGA, is below, and more can be read here, in an article written by Golfweek’s Cameron Jourdan.

The best club twirl 

It came from Sam Roberts, competing in the upper limb impairment division. It can be seen below. 

The best celebration 

It came from Kody Conover, competing in the intellectual impairment division. It can be seen below. 

The best quotes from the women’s overall winner 

Bailey Bish, competing in the neurological division, was the women’s overall winner. These two exchanges, both started by a reporter, were great:

“I know you talked about not even being able to finish nine holes before, let alone a 54-hole tournament. Obviously played well and won some tournaments over the last year. You still kind of feel the nerves when you get into a final round in a situation like this, or are you a lot more settled than you may have been a couple years ago?”

“I don’t really feel nerves,” Bish said Tuesday. “I feel excitement, and just taking it one shot at a time and playing from point ‘A’ allows me to deal with whatever happens and not get too emotionally invested in the outcome.”

“What did you learn about yourself this week?”

“I learned that it’s hard to play golf,” Bish said Wednesday, “and even if there are challenges, you can push back and keep going. The mistakes will get overwritten by other accomplishments.”

The best quote form the men’s overall winner 

Kipp Popert, competing in the neurological division, was the men’s overall winner for the second-straight year. I loved this exchange, started by a reporter:

“Your name will be in the USGA Hall of Champions for the second time. What’s that mean, just to be alongside all of the game’s greats?”

“Yeah, when I’m 70 years old with a bottle of wine,” Popert said, “I’m hoping and working towards being recognized as a great of the game, so I’ve got a lot more to achieve.”

The winners 

A list of the 15 winners from the eight categories can be found below, and below that are the top three scores in the overall competition. Complete leaderboards can be found here (men’s overall), here (women’s overall), here (men’s category) and here (women’s category). 

Intellectual impairment
Men: Simon Seungmin Lee, 10-under
Women: Natasha Stasiuk, 32-over

Lower limb impairment
Men: Mike Browne, five-under
Women: Kim Moore, 12-over

Multiple limb amputee
Men: Issa Nlareb, six-under
Women: Rose Veldman, 35-over

Neurological impairment
Men: Kipp Popert, 14-under
Women: Bailey Bish, eight-over

Seated players
Men: Max Togisala, seven-over
Women: Annie Hayes, 53-over

Short stature
Men: Brendan Lawlor, nine-under

Upper limb impairment
Men: Chris Willis, two-under
Women: Cathy Walch, 46-over

Vision impairment
Men: Kiefer Jones, 13-over
Women: Amanda Cunha, 21-over

Men’s overall
Kipp Popert, 14-under
Simon Seungmin Lee, 10-under
Brendan Lawlor, nine-under

Women’s overall 
Bailey Bish, eight-over
Kim Moore, 12-over
Ryanne Jackson, 15-over

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