The inaugural Irish Open for Golfers with a Disability begins this morning, Tuesday, July 5th at Roganstown Hotel and Country Club.
Over 40 players from Ireland and further afield will compete in the 36-hole event, which concludes on Wednesday afternoon.
Three of the Ireland team that recently won the European Team Championship for Golfers with Disability will be competing in the event.
Carton House’s Conor Stone will be joined by County Sligo’s Alan Gaynor and Ballinsaloe’s Aidan Grenham at the north Dublin course, and Stone is looking for his third individual win of the season, which included winning the English Open last month.
“It’s been a year that I never thought would happen. This time last year, I was sitting in an office not getting to play any golf, and now I’m pretty much playing full time, and I’ve won twice on the EDGA circuit, and winning at the European Championships capped off a great few weeks. It’s been the best year of my life golfwise.”
Stone had an operation for Scoliosis five years ago which straightened his spine but left him with limited rotation and flexibility. He quit his job in financial planning and is currently working with McGuirk’s Golf as he tries to join Brendan Lalor on the professional circuit.
Despite an excellent 2022 so far, Stone still thinks the best is yet to come on the course.
“I’m not even playing anywhere near my best golf. I’m extremely rusty, compared to where I was last summer. I’ve been so busy playing tournaments that I have practiced very little. Hopefully, the game will click soon.”
The 27-year-old will be one of the headline names this week, and he knows there will be plenty of eyes on him over the two days.
“I was a nobody on the EDGA circuit when I first teed it up. Everyone knows who I am now. It’s a nice boost of confidence too, knowing that players in the field would be keeping an eye on me, and they know they can expect stiff competition. To be the first name on the trophy, and to do it as an Irishman would be brilliant.”
Stone is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Ireland teammate Brendan Lawlor in joining the professional ranks in the coming weeks.
“I’m hoping to make my debut in one of the G4D events before the end of the year, and will do what I can to get an Alps Tour card for next year too. I’m on the cusp of getting into the G4D so hopefully, I will get into the next one in August.”
Sport for Business Partners