World number one Kipp Popert wins G4D Open at Woburn

World number one Kipp Popert held his nerve to claim a one-shot victory over Brendan Lawlor and win The G4D Open at Woburn.

The top two players on the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) had a final round showdown over the Duchess Course, with Kipp’s closing two over-par 74 securing a winning score of one over-par (217).

Englishman Kipp, who has cerebral palsy, was edged out by Brendan in last year’s inaugural championship, but this time the 25-year-old prevailed to secure a 10th G4D Tour title.

“It’s great to win. I was playing well coming into this week, but I didn’t really have my A game the first day. It was nice to come out on top at the end of the week in the battle with Brendan,” said Kipp.

“I thought I did a good job on the front nine today and on the back, I just tried to hit greens. I wanted to just keep it in play, what my coach has told me to do, hitting to 15ft and such like. It goes against my instinct to be honest because I want to go as low as I can.

“I think what I was most pleased with was on the last hole. Again, I thought ‘I’m going to push this to 15ft’. I felt like the pressure was there but I handled it. There was quite a lot of people and I was just trying to focus. I won the US Adaptive Open last year with the USGA so I’ve now got both at the same time. I’m pretty excited to get home and put them next to each other.”

Irishman Brendan, who has a rare condition called Ellis–van Creveld syndrome, put up a strong defence of the title, but was made to rue mistakes as he finished with a four over-par 76.

Canadian Chris Willis was third on six over-par, with the Australian pair of Wayne Perske and Lachlan Wood a stroke further back.

Brendan, 27, held a one-shot lead overnight and doubled his advantage with a birdie at the opening hole. He then found trouble on both par threes on the front nine, making double bogeys on the second and the seventh, allowing Kipp to lead by one after his birdie on the eighth.

Kipp had difficulties of his own on the demanding par four ninth, carding a double bogey, with Brendan also dropping a shot to leave them both at one over-par heading into the back nine.

Kipp’s birdie at the 10th and Brendan’s back-to-back bogeys saw the world’s best player go three clear. A bogey from the leader at the next, and brilliant birdies from Brendan at the 15th and 16th, suddenly brought the duo back level before the world number two caught his approach shot heavy at the 17th, which led to an untimely bogey. Kipp coolly holed from 2ft for a winning par at the last.

Established last year, the championship – held in partnership between the DP World Tour and The R&A and supported by EDGA (formally the European Disabled Golf Association) – is one of the most inclusive ever staged. The G4D Open featured nine sport classes across multiple impairment groups, with 80 men and women players of both amateur and professional status, aged 15-68, representing 19 countries.

With Kipp the men’s champion, Dutch player Daphne van Houten – the leading woman at 25th on the WR4GD – was crowned the women’s champion. Daphne, 25, who suffers from scoliosis, finished 17 shots clear of England’s Aimi Bullock.

A gross prize was also awarded in each sport class, covering various categories in Standing, Intellectual, Visual and Sitting.

The men’s gross prize winners were:
• Intellectual 1: Cameron Pollard, Australia
• Intellectual 2: Thomas Blizzard, England
• Standing 1: Juan Postigo Arce, Spain
• Standing 2: Kipp Popert, England
• Standing 3: Brendan Lawlor, Ireland
• Sitting 1: Terry Kirby, England
• Sitting 2: Richard Kluwen, The Netherlands
• Visual 1: Paul O’Rahilly, Ireland
• Visual 2: John Eakin, England

The women’s gross prize winners were:
• Intellectual 2: Erika Malmberg, Sweden
• Standing 1: Alessandra Donati, Italy
• Standing 2: Aimi Bullock, England
• Standing 3: Daphne van Houten, The Netherlands