VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. — The defending champions put up a good fight but it wasn’t enough as the United States Golf Association has crowned two new winners.
Ryanne Jackson and Kipp Popert claimed the women’s and men’s overall titles at the 2023 U.S. Adaptive Open, the USGA’s newest championship that puts the world’s best disabled golfers – 96 this year – in the spotlight.
The field is spread across eight categories: Arm Impairment, Intellectual Impairment, Leg Impairment, Multiple Limb Amputee, Neurological Impairment, Seated Players, Short Stature and Vision Impairment. Players must have a WR4GD Pass and a handicap index of 36.4 or less, Players with an Intellectual Impairment must also have Virtus II1 International Eligibility.
Jackson, 25, won the neurological impairment category in 2022 but finished runner-up in the overall to Kim Moore last year in the North Carolina Sandhills but got her revenge Wednesday at Pinehurst No. 6. The St. Petersburg, Florida, native shot a 4-over 76 to finish at 9 over for the championship, five shots clear of Moore (76). Jackson, who was diagnosed with scapuloperoneal muscular dystrophy as a college freshman after a decorated high school athletics career in both basketball and golf, also claimed the neurological category for the second consecutive year.
“I knew coming in that there were some new people entering the tournament that I hadn’t heard of,” said Jackson. “I didn’t know what to expect with their games, but I knew Kim Moore was going to be my biggest returning competitor since she was the reigning champ. So being here at the end is a very nice feeling.”
Currently an EMT, Jackson is starting paramedic school in August.
Playing in the final foursome of the day, Popert was in a tightly contested battle the entire round with defending men’s champion Simon Lee, 18-hole leader Conor Stone and Mike Browne. Just when it seemed like the Englishman was going to cruise to the victory, Popert made bogey on No. 17 and double bogey on the par-4 18th to open the door for Simon, whose putt to force a playoff on the last just slid past the cup.
“I worked really hard for many years,” said Popert. “I didn’t envision winning it with a double, but sometimes you’ve got to win ugly. It was good out there. I played well today. I’m extremely chuffed to win.”
Popert started playing golf when he was 3 years old. The 25-year-old was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth and has undergone several surgeries, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming one of the world’s best disabled golfers. Last May he won Golf for the Disabled (G4D) Tour Betfred British Masters and finished fourth here at the Adaptive last July.
All four players in the final men’s grouping finished even or under par, and each won their respective impairment categories with ease by four shots or more.
2023 U.S. Adaptive Open results
Men: Conor Stone, 1 under
Women: Abigail Davis, 42 over
Men: Mike Browne, Even
Women: Kim Moore, 14 over
Multiple Limb Amputee
Men: Evan Mathias, 23 over
Women: Cindy Lawrence, 114 over
Men: Simon Lee, 1 under
Women: Natasha Stasiuk, 33 over
Women: Ryanne Jackson, 9 over
Men: Kipp Popert, 2 under
Men: Max Togisala, 16 over
Women: Ann Hayes, 81 over
Men: Kiefer Jones, 24 over
Women: Amanda Cunha, 33 over
Men: Kurtis Barkley, 5 over
Women: None entered the category