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Eccles triumphs at UK Disabled Open

Lewis Eccles has won the third annual UK Disabled Open, staged by golfing charity The Golf Trust. Despite autism, ADHD and dyspraxia, Eccles has become a passionate and regular golfer and for the Championship smashed his personal best, shooting a gross 78 off a twelve handicap on the challenging Ballesteros Masters Course at The Shire London.

His fellow competitors on the day have successfully overcome a huge variety of challenges in life to become golfers, including amputation, sensory disabilities, MS, Parkinson’s, strokes, autism, brain injuries, cerebral palsy, Downs Syndrome and learning difficulties.

With supporters ranging from British Airways and England Golf to Colleen Ramsey Cakes, and with dozens of volunteers helping the 70 competitors with everything other than actually hitting the ball, this year’s UK Disabled Open was not only the largest pan-disability golf event of the year, but also the most well-attended.

The 200-strong gathering started the day by watching a video message from Justin Rose. Especially recorded to inspire competitors in this year’s event, the message from Rose – who is an Ambassador for both British Airways and England Golf – added a special touch of tour golf glamour to what was already an exciting atmosphere.

With Shire London members adding their support across the golf course, Eccles quickly built an unassailable lead, and afterwards was presented the Craig Waugh Trophy in the clubhouse by Graeme Robertson from the Disabled Golf Association and Mark Pickard from British Airways. In addition to the trophy, he also won a 36-hole golf break in Wales, a golf shirt signed by Rose and free entry for his team into August’s The Golf Trust charity golf day.

Amie Bullock, an Egham golfer who has MS and represents the Disabled Golf Association, picked up the Ladies’ trophy, and 18-year old Bobby David from Ascot, a golfer with autism representing Special Olympics GB won the Junior Prize as the next-nearest junior golfer after Lewis Eccles.

Cae Menai-Davis, co-founder of The Golf Trust said, “What an honour it was to host this event at The Shire London for the third year. The support from British Airways, England Golf and many others was phenomenal, and the event showed the true meaning of the sport. Lewis played great golf by any standards. The UK Disabled Open 2015 inspired us all to keep pushing The Golf Trust’s message that we need more inclusivity across the sport.” More at www.thegolftrust.com