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Super Smith Claims English Open for Golfers with Disabilities Crown

Brad Smith

In a display of sheer brilliance, Brad Smith has clinched the English Open for Golfers with Disabilities title at Stoke by Nayland Golf Club, leaving spectators awe-inspired by his impeccable performance.

Smith’s journey to victory was nothing short of remarkable, as he maintained a commanding lead throughout the tournament, culminating in a resounding eight-shot triumph over his closest competitor, Oliver Hirst-Greenham.

Smith’s triumph was anchored by two exceptional rounds, each scored at 70 strokes, resulting in an impressive total of -4 under par.

Reflecting on his achievement, Smith expressed his delight in winning on home turf, highlighting the significance of his solid gameplay and recent form.

With an eye on his global ranking, Smith credited his previous success at the Irish Open for Golfers with Disabilities for bolstering his confidence leading into this event.

“It’s always nice to win your home event, so it feels good,” Smith said. “I played two solid rounds this week.

Hopefully, I’ll pick up a few spots in the world rankings and I feel like I’m on a good run of form at the moment.

“Winning in Ireland was really nice and gave me a lot of confidence coming into this week.

I’ve won that [Irish Open for golfers with a disability] twice now. I’ve learnt every time finishing a tournament where I’ve gone wrong in the past, what you can improve on and how you can control your nerves.

“I’m happy with how I handled myself today. There were a couple of hiccups coming in, but I knew I had a bit of a buffer, so it didn’t matter, I just made sure I played it ultra-safe.

“I’m going to drive two hours home and I might stop off and get a nice bottle of wine or a few beers!”

The defining moment of Smith’s final round came with a spectacular eagle on the par-5 4th hole, where he navigated a challenging lie and variable terrain to set up a near tap-in birdie.

Despite some late-round challenges, including unexpected bogeys, Smith’s strategic play and composed demeanour secured his well-deserved victory.

“I hit a driver and then a 4-iron to about two-and-a-half foot which was quite nice,” Smith recalled.

“I had an awkward lie as well, it was above my feet and both of my feet were on different slopes.

I had a 5-iron in my hand originally and then I thought I’d just grip down further on a 4-iron to control the flight in there and let it use the bank to come in and luckily it took the right bounces and went nice and close.”

A birdie soon followed on the 8th as he made the turn at -5. On the 12th, Smith momentarily increased his lead again before unfortunate bogeys on 13, 16 and 18 saw him eventually sign for another -2.

Speaking after his round, Smith added: “I made a couple of good up-and-downs. The finish was disappointing especially with 16.

I missed my tee shot right and then tried to hit a gap in the tree, it hit the tree and went 40 yards backwards into a bunker on different hole, but I managed to make a really good six down there so that’s always a bonus when you’re in trouble, it’s looking like a double and you get away with just a bogey.”

Hirst-Greenham carded two birdies and bogey in the front-nine to rise up the leaderboard and mount a challenge on Smith early on, but fell away after another bogey on 15 to end with a level par round of 72 for a total of +4.

Nevertheless, the 39-year-old can be very proud of his performance this week in his attempt to defend the title he won last year.

L-R: Andrew Gardiner (Men's Nett winner), Brad Smith (English Open for golfers with a disability winner), Michelle Lau (Women's Nett winner), Richard Saunders (Stableford winner)
L-R: Andrew Gardiner (Men’s Nett winner), Brad Smith (English Open for golfers with a disability winner), Michelle Lau (Women’s Nett winner), Richard Saunders (Stableford winner) © Leaderboard Photography

Gordon McLay (Scotland) finished 3rd ahead of playing partner Andrew Gardiner (Witney Lakes) and Chris Foster (Hanbury Manor) who rounded out the top-five.

In the Stableford competition, there was joy for Richard Saunders (Stoke by Nayland) as he retained his title at his home club after recording a superb 88 points over the two days to finish 13 points clear of Phil Meadows (The Cambridgeshire). Kris Aves (The Shire London) was 3rd, just one point back on 74 points.

In the women’s nett competition, Michelle Lau (Cambridge) maintained her overnight lead to take the title ahead of Aimi Bullock (Sunningdale Heath) and Coventry’s Martine Gilks.

In the men’s nett competition, it was Gardiner who took the honours ahead of Adam Dalton (Royal Jersey) and Matthew Codd (Burghill Valley).

As Brad Smith celebrates his triumph and prepares for future challenges, his victory stands not only as a testament to his skill but also as an inspiration to aspiring golfers with disabilities worldwide.

The English Open for Golfers with Disabilities continues to promote inclusivity and excellence in the sport, ensuring that remarkable stories like Smith’s are celebrated and cherished.

View the final leaderboard here.