Kipp Popert and Brendan Lawlor share the lead at the inaugural G4D Open at Woburn -Dlight News

Kipp Popert and Brendan Lawlor share the lead at the inaugural G4D Open at Woburn

Kipp Popert and Brendan Lawlor lead the way at two under par after day one of the inaugural G4D Open, with Spaniard Juan Postigo back in Woburn.

Kipp Popert and Brendan Lawlor maintained their form to share the clubhouse lead on the weather-interrupted first day of the G4D Open at Woburn.

The 24-year-old Popert, the world number 1 in the World Rankings for Golfers with Disabilities (WR4GD), signed for an impressive round of 70, two under par, at the inaugural championship on the Duchess Course.

It was a score even late in the day for Lawlor, thanks to three birdies from nine holes.

Popert, who was born with a form of cerebral palsy called spastic diplegia, won five times on the G4D Tour in 2022/23 and overcame a slow start to shine on the back nine. The Englishman made three birdies on four holes and then rallied from a bogey on the 17th to make an 8-iron approach to 12 feet on the final and finish with another birdie.

Juan Postigo is one of the highest ranked players in action

Juan Postigo is one of the highest ranked players in action

“I was really solid,” Popert said. “I was really pleased with the patience I had. I started out in threes for a handful of holes, but I knew that once I started to find the fairways and find my rhythm, I’d be fine. That’s what I told myself that I had to do before the week. It basically started: If I had to go out on the side, I would, and that’s what I did.”

The game was called off just before 4:00 p.m. due to heavy rain and thunderstorms, before Popert and Lawlor returned to complete their rounds two hours later and finish in style.

With play continuing late after the weather improved, Popert and Lawlor led with a shot from world number four-ranked Juan Postigo Arce after the Spaniard made two birdies on his last four holes for a 71. The Irishman Lawlor, the world’s second-best player who competed in Japan recently on the DP World Tour, fared even better after his birdie hat-trick on the 15th.

A field of 80 male and female players representing 17 countries have come together to compete at the renowned venue in Bedfordshire, including eight of the WR4GD top ten.

Autistic Swedish player Erika Malmberg savored the historic moment of taking the first shot in the championship at 8:30 am, hitting her drive over 200 yards up the middle.

The championship, run in partnership between The R&A and DP World Tour and endorsed by EDGA (formerly the European Disability Golf Association), is one of the most inclusive ever run, featuring nine sport classes across multiple disability groups.

Amateur and professional golfers compete in the 54-hole gross stroke-play competition (May 10) in sport classes covering various standing, intellectual, visual and seated categories. An overall winner will be determined at the end of three rounds on Friday, along with one opposite-sex winner and one gross prize in each category.

The establishment of The G4D Open follows the inclusion of the Modified Rules of Golf for Players with Disabilities in the Rules of Golf from the start of this year and the continued administration of WR4GD by the R&A and USGA.

A special program highlighting the inaugural G4D Open will be shown on Sky Sports Golf next week, while the Sky Sports website and app will have daily reports from the tournament.

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