11 Feb 2022 | Vic Open | All Abilities |
Pollard's prep key to Victorian Inclusive title defence
by Australian Golf Media
He’s the defending champion and highest-ranked player in the field but what Cameron Pollard has been working on prior to stepping onto the tee will be crucial at the Victorian Inclusive Championship at 13th Beach Golf Links from Saturday.
The Victorian Inclusive Championship is the state equivalent Vic Open for golfers with a disability in Victoria and in an Australian first – and the only event of its type in the southern hemisphere – this year’s championship will include the inaugural Australian Wheelchair Golf Championship, a 36-hole championship for seated golfers who play golf through assistive equipment such as the Ottobock Paragolfer, an all-terrain power chair designed specifically for golf.
As a World Ranking for Golfers with a Disability event (WR4GD), the Victorian Inclusive championship is played concurrently with the Vic Open, connecting to a global tournament structure run by the International Golf Federation and EDGA.
Ranked No.19 in the WR4GD gross rankings released last Sunday, Pollard won the 2020 Victorian Inclusive Championship by eight strokes and last year won the inaugural NSW Inclusive Championship by three shots at Pacific Dunes Golf Club.
Hailing from Sawtell Golf Club on the NSW north coast, Pollard represented Australia at the ISPS Handa Disabled Golf Cup played in conjunction with the Presidents Cup in 2019 but has been working with coach Brendan Barnes on fine-tuning his prep.
Key to that is a consistent pre-round preparation of stretching and effective warm-up on the range while the pair have also worked on implementing a pre-shot routine that will allow Pollard to stay in the moment and not get distracted in the heat of competition.
Fellow New South Welshman Steve Prior and Victoria’s Shaun Bakker look the strongest challengers to Pollard’s crown, Prior ranked No.21 in the WR4GD rankings with Bakker coming in at No.25.
Played under the same conditions as the Vic Open field, players will contest the 36-hole Victorian Inclusive Championship on the Creek Course over the weekend at 13th Beach.
Participants from across Australia who are vision impaired, amputees and players with intellectual and neurological disabilities come together under the same rules and contest the stroke and Stableford events.
There are a total of 25 players in the field (which includes four wheelchair golfers) with handicaps ranging from scratch to 37.
Nick Taylor is considered the leading Para Wheelchair player with strong competition in James Gribble (NSW), Justin Andrews (VIC) and Peter Hyden (VIC).
Hailing from Rochester near Shepparton, Peter Hyden will also take part in the Australian Wheelchair Golf Championship and is excited to show the large crowds at 13th Beach the skills possessed by wheelchair golfers.
“I didn’t know golf existed for us in a wheelchair until six years ago when I met someone at a ‘para party,” explains Hyden, who uses a specialised all-terrain power chair and swings one-handed.
“I’m really looking forward to playing in the Championship and showcasing what we can do.”
To learn more about All Abilities events head to www.golf.org.au/allabilities
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