GALLERY: Stratford Golf Club hosts first staging of RSM European Play-off Series
SIXTEEN European golfers with disabilities competed in a highly successful first staging of the RSM European Play-off Series held at Stratford-on-Avon Golf Club last week.
The series was designed to reward EDGA golfers (European Disabled Golf Association) who qualified in Europe from the Net and the Stableford World Ranking for Golfers with Disability.
Eight players from each division teed it up in a series of matchplay rounds from quarter-final to final. The winner of the Net category final was Vincent Helly of France and the victor in the Stableford final was Slovakia’s Miroslav Halmo.
Helly, 25, plays his golf at Golf de Moliets in the South of France near Biarritz. He has a handicap of 3.1 and has autism.
To win his title in the Net he beat Daphne van Houten of Holland (handicap 1.2 – scoliosis) in the quarter-final before getting the better of Stian Halvorsen of Norway (handicap 9.8 – paralysis of the left shoulder) in the semi-final.
Helly then defeated Jari Vihanne of Finland (17.1 – severe necrosis) by a score of 6&4 to win the final.
Halmo, 44, plays his golf at Golf Club Green Meadows, near the city of Nitra in the west of Slovakia. He has a handicap of 31.8 and was born with Hemimelia, a rare tibial deficiency (missing his lower right leg).
To win his title in the Stableford he beat Timo Pessi of Finland (27.8 – spinal cord lesion) in the quarter-final and in the semi-final, Magnus Grimberg of Sweden (16.8 – visual impairment), before winning the final against Graeme Mazur of England (neurological condition with paralysis of right arm) 3&2.
The finals were contested last Thursday (7th October) as part of a wider annual RSM Golf Day, and all the EDGA golfers present for the week were invited to take part in the day with assembled guests, helping to grow awareness of inclusive golf in the process.
EDGA was delighted to launch the international Play-off Series this summer to champion golfers with a disability in both Net and Stableford competition, supported by leading audit, tax and consulting firm RSM.
RSM announced its sponsorship agreement to support EDGA in 2019, extending RSM’s ambitious partnership strategy within golf and reinforcing its aim to support growth in the grassroots of the sport.
EDGA president Tony Bennett said: “Congratulations to Vincent Helly of France and Miroslav Halmo of Slovakia for their exceptional performances to win their Net and Stableford categories.
“Well done also to all 16 players for making the journey and demonstrating the value of golfers with a variety of impairments playing together, competing to the maximum while being a great advertisement for the sportsmanship and camaraderie of golf.
“We are hugely appreciative that the team at RSM understands the value of our work to grow the game at the grassroots level for golfers with a disability.
“Helping to make more people aware of this opportunity can be huge for golf and also for the many people it can help through the game’s health, social and competitive benefits.”
Bennett added: “This memorable event could not have been possible without the help of some great local volunteers and the excellent team at Stratford Golf Club who supported all our players wonderfully well, for the whole week.”