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02 Dec 2022 | All Abilities |

Aussies chase glory in AAAC showdown

by Australian Golf Media

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All Abilities stars Stephen Prior (left) and Mike Rolls on the range today. Image: Mark Dadswell

By Alexander Dabb at Victoria

A group of four Australians will take on some of the best talent in the world as they vie for the honour of being crowned Australian All Abilities Champion at Victoria Golf Club this week. Mike Rolls, Cameron Pollard, Stephen Prior and Geoff Nicholas are all aiming to become the first home player to take out the title, which has been won by Sweden’s Johan Kammerstad in both of the previous editions. Rolls, who had both legs amputated after contracting meningococcal septicaemia, holds a slight advantage being the only Victorian in the field, growing up in nearby Sandringham and playing plenty of golf at Kingston Heath, where he was previously a member. “I grew up about a kilometre, you know away from Victoria Golf Club, so I've played a little bit here not too much, but I certainly am familiar with this course and sandbelt courses,” said Rolls, who hopes for an Australian champion this week. “It would be amazing to see an Australian get up this year. “We're very probably tight knit the Aussies, one of the other guys like Steve Prior I'm very close with, so hopefully he has a really good showing. “But we do have our work cut out for us because the guys at the top, I've seen them play this week, just remarkable golfers and yeah, we can do it, but it's going to have to be, you know, giving it our best shot for sure.” Stephen Prior, the current president of Amputee Golf New South Wales, agrees that a local winner would be an enormous result for All Abilities golf in Australia. “To win your home event on a personal level would be absolutely amazing,” said Prior. “But for, I suppose, the betterment of the game, to have an Australian win in Australia would just I suppose blow minds for all the aspiring people out there.” Having forged an impressive career in golf after losing the bottom of his right arm in a water-skiing accident, Prior says the incorporation of the Australian All Abilities Championship into the ISPS HANDA Australian Open has been enormous for the development of All Abilities golf. “I played in the Vic All Abilities earlier this year, (which) had all the men's, women's and All Abilities together and it was a fantastic thing. But to see it on this level at the Australian Open, it's just fantastic for inclusion and I suppose promoting our product. We've got a lot to offer.” The youngest in the field this week is Cameron Pollard, who hails from the New South Wales Central Coast, and has dominated the All Abilities events within Australia this year. Pollard, who has managed Ehlers Danlos syndrome as well as autism his entire life, isn’t shying away from the challenge of taking on the top ranked golfers in the world. “Hopefully this weekend I could come away with a win, but it's a definitely a lot tougher field, you know with the best players in the world coming over to play in the event. “It's a bit intimidating but you know, I love coming out and comparing my game against their game, that's what we try to do at the end of the day, try to be the best golfer we can be.” Regarded as a legend in Australian disability sport, Geoff Nicholas will also be teeing it up on Friday, looking to add the Australian All Abilities Championship to a trophy cabinet that includes both the US and British Amputee Opens, which he remarkably held concurrently from 1990 until 2001. The AAAC field of 12 includes four Australians and a bunch of the best players in the world. The first tee-offs are from 1.55pm on Friday, with Spain’s Juan Postigo, Popert and Australian Stephen Prior hitting off. The tournament is over 54 holes and all played at Victoria Golf Club. DRAW 1.55 (1st tee) Juan Postigo (Spain), Kipp Popert (England), Stephen Prior (Aust) 2.06 (1st tee) Brendan Lawlor (Ireland), Mette Wegge Lynggaard (Denmark), Geoff Nicholas (Aust) 1.55 (10th tee) Johan Kammerstad (Sweden), Mike Brown (England), Cameron Pollard (Aust) 2.06 (10th tee) Tommaso Perrino (Italy), Kurtis Barkley (Canada), Mike Rolls (Aust)

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