July 13, 2022

Spirit of the Game: Inaugural Adaptive Open

The full field for the inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open – a new national championship that will showcase the world’s best golfers with disabilities on Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 6 from July 18-20 – has been set by the USGA. 

The USGA received 299 entries for the 2022 U.S. Adaptive Open’s 96-player field, and the field includes competitors from 29 states and 12 countries. The championship’s youngest competitor is 15-year-old Sophia Howard from Hudsonville, Mich. Judith Brush, 80, of Alexandria, Va., is the championship's oldest player. 

“We are thrilled by the level of interest and support that we’ve received from the adaptive community for the inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open,” said John Bodenhamer, chief championships officer for the USGA. “To receive nearly 300 entries from around the world underscores the passion of these athletes who are seeking the opportunity to compete for a national championship.”400-Jul-13-2022-04-33-09-78-PM

A player’s individual Handicap Index® was the primary factor in determining the field, with the USGA reserving at least five male player spots and two female player spots per impairment category. 

Among those teeing off will be NorCal's Erik Bowen. Bowen, 42, of Oakland, is a double lower limb amputee, losing his feet due to strep and sepsis complications. He competed in qualifiers and championships for the Colorado Golf Association and NCGA before the amputations. This is his first USGA championship. He is currently vice president of finance at Osiris Ventures.  

Amy Bockerstette, 23, of Phoenix, Ariz., who has a close relationship with 2019 U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland, will compete in the intellectual impairment category. Bockerstette, a disabilities advocate, founded the I Got This Foundation to provide golf instruction, playing opportunities and organized events for people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities.

Chris Biggins, the director of player development at the Country Club of Birmingham (Ala.), who was born with cerebral palsy, will compete in the neurological impairment category. The Country Club of Birmingham is the site of the 2022 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, with the championship’s 18-hole final round being contested today. 

“Competing in an official USGA championship has been a dream of mine for years and now that dream will be coming to fruition,” said Biggins. “This event will attract the best golfers from around the world to compete on an incredible course, Pinehurst No. 6. It is an honor to compete in this historic event and help pave the way for the growth of disabled golf.”

Also teeing off is NorCal's own Erik Bowen. 

The championship is open to both male and female professional and amateur golfers with a World Handicap System™ Handicap Index® of 36.4 or less and an eligible impairment confirmed by a WR4GD Pass. A player’s Handicap Index was the primary factor for determining the field of 96 players, with at least five male players and two female players across eight impairment categories. The impairment categories are as follows:  

  • Arm Impairment

  • Intellectual Impairment

  • Leg Impairment

  • Multiple Limb Amputee

  • Neurological Impairment

  • Seated Players

  • Short Stature

  • Vision Impairment 

The championship will be contested over 54 holes of stroke play. Multiple sets of tees will be utilized. Carts will be permitted for all players and caddies.