11 Feb 2023 | All Abilities |
Queenslander Wood leads Inclusive Champs
by Martin Blake
Hervey Bay golfer Lachlan Wood has seized the early lead in the Victorian Inclusive Championships at 13th Beach.
With a field of 48 players teeing it up on the Creek course, by far the biggest field seen in this event, Wood rattled around in 76 to lead by five shots after round one.
The 31-year-old, originally from Rosebud on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, had a brilliant front nine of 2-under 34 before leaking some shots on the back nine to post 4-over.
New South Wales player Cameron Pollard is next-best with an 81, 9-over par.
“I started really well, solid front nine,” Wood said. “Coming home I played a bit defensive, probably wasn’t the right choice, hit a few bad shots. But overall, happy with 76.”
Wood is in the PGA of Australia Pathway Program at Hervey Bay and already teaches the game and runs a junior program.
As a boy he was an outstanding golfer, introduced to the game by his close friend James Marchesani, who would become a touring professional.
They remain great friends and Wood caddies for Marchesani when the opportunity arises.
“I played from 13, and James was off single figures and he got me into it,” said Wood. “By the time we were 15 we were three and four handicap. He was always better, but I did catch him. I was always proud of that. I’ve got a cut-out from the paper.”
At 16, his life turned when he was seriously injured while a passenger in a single-car accident in Rosebud. Of all the players in this field, he appreciates the sponsorship of the TAC.
“I nearly died,” he said. “We hit a pole at high speed. There were massive complications. Without TAC I wouldn’t have a leg, for sure.”
He did not play golf for two years and endured a series of operations before returning to the game he loved. “Eventually I found the hot weather in Queensland and picked it up again,” he said.
“Every day’s a little bit different. I crushed it pretty bad in the car accident, so you don’t know what you’re going to get out of it. But overall it doesn’t effect my golf game too much, but I have to put in a lot of practise to work my way around it.”
Wood still is not receiving world ranking points for his appearance at 13th Beach this week, because he is playing on an access pass which amounts to early eligibility. He still has to undergo further assessment before he has full playing rights, which is why he will not be in the field for the TPS Sydney event next week, where All Abilities players will be in the field.
But farther down the track when the assessments are complete, he plans on playing as much inclusive golf as he can.
“It’s been a long time coming for me getting into inclusive golf. I’ve had a couple of hiccups getting into the system.
“Obviously I’m an associate pro but they’re a level above me, really, and I’m chasing everyone’s tail in that space. But this gives me somewhere I can play, a level playing field, and I’m happy with how it’s going.”
Port Kembla's Nick Taylor, the defending champion, has the Australian Wheelchair Championship lead with 32 points after round one.
"It was a bit of a slow day and difficult to maintain concentration for six hours but it was enjoyable to catch up with some blokes I haven't seen for a while," he said.
Taylor, a former Australian representative in wheelchair basketball, has recently begun playing C Grade pennants for his club at home.
Join our newsletter
Get weekly updates on news, golf tips and access to partner promotions.