Date: February 13, 2013
Author: Martin Blake /

Amateurs have their day in the sun

It is pro-am day at Royal Canberra today, and a little pomp and ceremony was in order as a military band entertained the patrons and the afternoon players had a shotgun start, literally, from the Foundation Guard. World No. 1 Yani Tseng was given the honour of unveiling the Patricia Bridges Bowl, the winner&aposs trophy, in front of the clubhouse. Royal Canberra sparkled in the sunlight and maybe 100 kangaroos bounced across the 18th fairway, much to the amusement of the group of players lucky enough to be waltzing up the final hole at the time. Sponsors and television personalities jostled for spots alongside the professionals. Kerri-Anne Kennerley, a keen golfer, teed it up as did Olympian James Tomkins, Myer ambassador Kris Smith and Paralympic legend Matt Cowdrey. Cowdrey, winner of a record 13 gold medals in Paralympic competition as a swimmer, is a regular golfer despite a congenital amputation of his lower left arm. He uses a prosthetic device, attached to the handle of the golf club, and hits the ball farther than 200 metres. “It&aposs not the easiest thing to do, obviously,&apos&apos he said after playing in the group led by Spain&aposs Azahara Munoz today. “I wish I played a lot more. I really enjoy it.&apos&apos Cowdrey is back in the pool after a three-month break, the longest of his career, after his triumphs at the London Paralympics in 2012. He has set his sights on the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. “I&aposm more than happy to commit through to Glasgow. I&aposm happy to be hopefully getting to one more event.&apos&apos The tournament begins tomorrow with a cluster of the best players in the world competing.