Lee surges, Moore holds on at U.S. Adaptive Open in Pinehurst

What Happened

In Round 2 of the Inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open on Tuesday at Pinehurst Resort’s Course No. 6, more inspiring stories emerged of players overcoming challenges to compete at a national championship level. No one has done it better so far than Simon Lee, who shot a second consecutive 1-under-par 71 to surge to a two-stroke lead over Felix Norrman of Sweden in the men’s division, while first-round women’s leader Kim Moore of Portage, Mich., struggled a bit but still holds a four-stroke edge heading into Wednesday’s final round.

Lee, a 25-year-old professional from the Republic of Korea who grew up in the U.S., was diagnosed with autism at a young age and has difficulty communicating. But Lee excels with a golf club in his hands, as he showed again on Tuesday. He carded three birdies, including two in his last six holes, and his 142 total is the only 36-hole under par.

Upon being told that he was leading the championship, Lee expressed surprise. “I didn’t realize it,” he said. “I don’t look at leader boards.”

When asked to name his favorite part of golf, Lee responded with a smile, “Driving.” Lee’s caddie, Seulgi Yun, confirmed his player’s analysis by simply stating, “He drives the ball really well and makes birdies.” 

Moore, who has a leg impairment, was even par through seven holes, then went double bogey-bogey to finish the front nine and didn’t feel completely comfortable afterward. “The last nine was kind of a grind for sure,” said Moore, who is the head women’s golf coach at Western Michigan University. “I think I was starting to overheat. I’m glad I finished strong with a par, and I’m still leading, so that’s always good. Hopefully I can put together a better round tomorrow and stay a little more hydrated out there.”

Moore’s closest pursuer for the overall women’s title is Ryanne Jackson, of St. Petersburg, Fla., who has a form of muscular dystrophy. Jackson shot a second consecutive 80 for a 16-over 160 total, four strokes behind.

The first-round men’s division leader, Chad Pfeifer of Caldwell, Idaho, wasn’t able to keep pace with Lee, carding a 78 in Round 2. He sits alone in third place, six strokes behind the leader at 4-over 148, but will be in the final group on Wednesday and is eager to rebound.

“I’ll just try to play my best tomorrow,” said Pfeifer. “Maybe being with who I’m chasing might help. I’ll be able to judge off of his game. I’m still going to try to be aggressive and stick to the game plan.”

Also looking for a big final day to perhaps get into contention for the title are Jack Bonifant, of Kensington, Md., and Kipp Popert, of England, who sit seven strokes behind Lee at 5-over 149. Five-time PGA Tour winner Ken Green is one stroke farther back at 6-over 150.

Lee surges, Moore holds on at U.S. Adaptive Open in Pinehurst 1

What’s Next

The final round will take place on Wednesday. Tee times will again begin at 8 a.m., with the leading groups going off last.

Notable

Jeremy Bittner, of Moore Township, Pa., recorded his first hole-in-one and the first in championship history on the 189-yard 4th hole. “It was playing downhill and I just took a little off a 6-iron. When it disappeared I actually thought, oh no, what happened, and then everybody started screaming and I was like, oh, that was a good thing. For the next 10 minutes I was shaking.” Bittner finished the day at 6-over 78

Sarah Larson, of Green Bay, Wis., has had too many big numbers on her scorecard through two rounds to be among the contenders in the arm impairment category. But Larson had a highlight-worthy moment on the par-3 12th hole when she stroked a birdie putt from 40 feet that dropped into the side of the hole for a birdie. The putt made it onto Golf Channel’s “Golf Today,” with hosts Damon Hack and George Savaricas providing play by play and speculating on whether Larson had a cheesehead in her golf bag. (She doesn’t). Larson called the Golf Channel appearance “so cool.

Chris Biggins, 30, of Birmingham, Ala., was born with cerebral palsy, slowing his physical development and requiring him to use a walker to get around as a child. He has no issue walking when he plays golf, however, and in fact, he embraces it. Biggins is one of the few Adaptive Open competitors to decline the use of a golf cart, walking the fairways with his caddie. “It helps me stay loose,” Biggins said. “I feel like an athlete when I’m out there.” While Biggins struggled during his second round, shooting an 81 after a first-round 74, he is still in position to contend for the top prize in the neurological impairment category. 

A handful of players made significant jumps up the leader board on Tuesday by bouncing back with much lower scores. Rasmus Lia of Sweden, who has a leg impairment, recorded a 2-under 70 that was 14 strokes better than his first-round 84. “I holed a bunch of putts, had more birdies and I played a bit more conservative from the tee, and that kind of helped,” he said. Mandi Sedlak, also with a leg impairment, shot an 80 to improve by 12 strokes over her first-round 92. That moved the Kearney, Neb., resident into third place in the women’s division.

Lee surges, Moore holds on at U.S. Adaptive Open in Pinehurst 2

Quotable

“If you look at the leader board, there’s some pretty damned good golfers here. Hopefully this tournament continues to grow and we get more and more people playing, and it’ll be exciting times in the future for sure.” – Jesse Florkowski (arm impairment), 32, of Canada

“I think when the general public sees us or other adaptive people in general that maybe aren’t inspired by golf, I think that they’re going to look at this as hey, I can do this, too. There’s a lot of people that are maybe embarrassed about a disability or a setback that they may have in life, and maybe this will give them courage to go out and try something new. I also think that it’s going to give not only amputees but adaptive players in general more respect on their normal golf courses back home.” – Mandi Sedlak (leg impairment), 42, of Kearney, Neb.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever felt as close to like a Tour event as possible. I’ve been to a lot of golf tournaments before, nothing this spectacular, and to be told by every single person you meet, every volunteer, every spectator, that they’re so impressed and so inspired by everybody and what they’re doing out here, especially some of those at the top of the leader board, that’s some incredible golf. It’s really fun.” – Kiefer Jones (vision impairment), 31, of Canada

“I don’t really play much competitive golf. The feeling of the nerves is very real for me. I was a little nervy on the last, on the first. But to be a part of this field, I was again with Amy [Bockerstette] today and my pairing was amazing. So every time I just look out, the joy and the celebration, for me to be here is just a privilege.” – Jordan Thomas (multiple limb amputee), 33, of Nashville, Tenn

Pinehurst N.C. – Results from Tuesday’s second round of the 2022 U.S. Adaptive Open Championship, played at par-72 Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 6).

Lee surges, Moore holds on at U.S. Adaptive Open in Pinehurst

Men Overall

Simon Lee, Republic of Korea (II) — 71 – 71 — 142

Felix Norrman, Sweden (II) — 75 – 69 — 144

Chad Pfeifer, Caldwell, Idaho (Leg) — 70 – 78 — 148

Jack Bonifant, Kensington, Md. (N) — 72 – 77 — 149

Kipp Popert, England (N) — 74 – 75 — 149

Ken Green, West Palm Beach, Fla. (Leg) — 77 – 73 — 150

Jordan Thomas, Nashville, Tenn. (MLA) — 76 – 74 — 150

Douglas Shirakura, Somers, N.Y. (Leg) — 75 – 77 — 152

Jesse Florkowski, Canada (Arm) — 75 – 77 — 152

Lucas Jones, Louisville, Kentucky (Leg) — 77 – 77 — 154

Rasmus Lia, Sweden (Leg) — 84 – 70 — 154

Conor Stone, Ireland (Arm) — 81 – 73 — 154

Chris Biggins, Birmingham, Ala. (N) — 74 – 81 — 155

Kurtis Barkley, Canada (SS) — 79 – 76 — 155

Rob Walden, Queen Creek, Ariz. (Arm) — 78 – 78 — 156

Kenny Bontz, Parrish, Fla. (Leg) — 78 – 78 — 156

Eli Villanueva, Fort Bragg, N.C. (Arm) — 78 – 80 — 158

Mario Dino, Denver, Colo. (N) — 76 – 83 — 159

Trevor Stephens, Greenwich, Conn. (Leg) — 75 – 84 — 159

Hayato Yoshida, Japan (Leg) — 81 – 78 — 159

Kiefer Jones, Canada (VI) — 80 – 79 — 159

Luke Carroll, Old Hickory, Tenn. (N) — 79 – 82 — 161

Brian Bemis, Lansing, Mich. (Leg) — 78 – 83 — 161

Ryan Brenden, Pierce, Neb. (Leg) — 88 – 75 — 163

Evan Mathias, Indianapolis, Ind. (MLA) — 83 – 80 — 163

Peyton Zins, Indianapolis, Ind. (N) — 86 – 78 — 164

Shigeru Kobayashi, Japan (Leg) — 82 – 82 — 164

Jeremy Bittner, Moon Township, Pa. (Leg) — 86 – 78 — 164

Dustin Trout, Mount Vernon, Ind. (Leg) — 83 – 81 — 164

Joakim Bjorkman, Sweden (SS) — 82 – 82 — 164

Ryan Cutter, Helena, Mont. (MLA) — 83 – 81 — 164

Masato Koyamada, Japan (Arm) — 86 – 79 — 165

Josh Williams, Canada (Leg) — 77 – 88 — 165

Krystian Pushka, Canada (II) — 80 – 86 — 166

Spencer Easthope, Canada (N) — 87 – 79 — 166

Zach Grove, York, Pa. (N) — 85 – 81 — 166

David Watts, South Africa (Leg) — 85 – 82 — 167

Wooshik Park, Republic of Korea (Leg) — 86 – 82 — 168

Adem Wahbi, Belgium (N) — 85 – 83 — 168

Michael Madsen, Meridian, Idaho (Leg) — 81 – 87 — 168

Wayne Blankenship, Union, Mo. (Leg) — 87 – 81 — 168

Erik Bowen, Oakland, Calif. (MLA) — 82 – 87 — 169

Greg Hollingsworth, Peck, Kan. (Leg) — 85 – 84 — 169

Dennis Walters, Jupiter, Fla. (S) — 86 – 84 — 170

Albert Bowker, Buellton, Calif. (SS) — 83 – 88 — 171

randon Canesi, Doral, Fla. (MLA) — 85 – 87 — 172

Brandon Rowland, Jackson, Tenn. (MLA) — 89 – 83 — 172

Floyd J. Carroll III, Whitney, Texas (Arm) — 86 – 86 — 172

Tim Herrmann, Cologne, Minn. (Leg) — 87 – 86 — 173

Jonathan Snyder, Charlotte, N.C. (Arm) — 89 – 84 — 173

Tracy Ramin, Montrose, Mich. (Leg) — 94 – 81 — 175

Andrew Berglund, Stillwater, Minn. (II) — 87 – 89 — 176

Kevin Valentine, Winter Garden, Fla. (Leg) — 93 – 84 — 177

Trevor Arnone, Lewiston, Idaho (SS) — 89 – 89 — 178

Alex Fourie, Knoxville, Tenn. (Arm) — 95 – 83 — 178

Cedric Lescut, Belgium (Leg) — 86 – 94 — 180

Adam Benza, Hellertown, Pa. (Leg) — 98 – 82 — 180

Mariano Tubio, Argentina (S) — 94 – 86 — 180

Jeremy Poincenot, Carlsbad, Calif. (VI) — 91 – 90 — 181

Josh Tankersley, Fort Worth, Texas (Leg) — 94 – 88 — 182

Conor Ennis, Wake Forest, N.C. (SS) — 94 – 88 — 182

Pat Garrison, Folsom, Pa. (N) — 91 – 92 — 183

Yangwoo Lee, Republic of Korea (II) — 85 – 98 — 183

Willy Ray Pease, St. Augustine, Fla. (VI) — 91 – 93 — 184

Randy Shack, Sulphur Springs, Texas (S) — 95 – 91 — 186

Steven H. Shipuleski, Plainfield, Conn. (Arm) — 96 – 91 — 187

Tommy Marks, Danville, Pa. (VI) — 98 – 89 — 187

Larry Celano, Chandler, Ariz. (S) — 91 – 99 — 190

Austin Morris, Bend, Ore. (Arm) — 99 – 94 — 193

Trevor Reich, South Africa (Leg) — 93 – 101 — 194

Billy Fryar, Bigelow, Ark. (S) — 98 – 96 — 194

JoJo McCarron, Orange Beach, Ala. (VI) — 92 – 103 — 195

Zachary Duncan, Cornelius, N.C. (II) — 95 – 101 — 196

Mauricio Gutiérrez Zamora, Mexico (S) — 98 – 101 — 199

Steven Pennell, Jefferson, N.C. (MLA) — 109 – 94 — 203

Joey Hill, Tampa, Fla. (II) — 104 – 100 — 204

Jake Olson, Huntington Beach, Calif. (VI) — 102 – 103 — 205

Rick Oldach, La Selva Beach, Calif. (Leg) — 88 – WD

Women Overall

Kim Moore, Portage, Mich. (Leg) — 76 – 80 — 156

Ryanne Jackson, St. Petersburg, Fla. (N) — 80 – 80 — 160

Mandi Sedlak, Kearney, Neb. (Leg) — 92 – 80 — 172

Grace Anne Braxton, Fredericksburg, Va. (II) — 85 – 90 — 175

Natasha Stasiuk, Canada (II) — 89 – 88 — 177

Amanda Cunha, Kaneohe, Hawaii (VI) — 86 – 92 — 178

Han Jeongwon, Republic of Korea (Leg) — 91 – 98 — 189

Cindy Lawrence, Lehigh Acres, Fla. (MLA) — 95 – 99 — 194

Cathy Walch, Buford, Ga. (Arm) — 103 – 94 — 197

Amy Bockerstette, Phoenix, Ariz. (II) — 108 – 100 — 208

Stacey Rice, Suwanee, Ga. (Leg) — 105 – 103 — 208

Annie Hayes, Lee, Mass. (S) — 98 – 112 — 210

Elaine Greyserman, Boca Raton, Fla. (N) — 103 – 109 — 212

Sophia Howard, Hudsonville, Mich. (Arm) — 106 – 106 — 212

Deborah Smith, Rockford, Ill. (Leg) — 113 – 102 — 215

Judi Brush, Alexandria, Va. (Leg) — 115 – 117 — 232

Sarah Larson, Green Bay, Wis. (Arm) — 118 – 115 — 233

Kellie Valentine, McKean, Pa. (Arm) — 119 – 118 — 237

Photos by Sandhills Sentinel Photographer Wendy Hodges.

 

Contributed.

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