He may be one of the last men into the field but Australian Geoff Nicholas has well and truly earned his place in this week’s 2019 Senior Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
A par on 18 took Nicholas to an even-par 73 for the day, The Lakes GC member eventually surviving a five-for-two playoff at Fairhaven to snatch one of the last spots on offer.
58-year-old Nicholas had his leg amputated at age 13.
He wrote a heart-felt thank you to his coaches, family and friends on Instagram.
“I have felt the weight of expectation on my shoulders this week and I’m just really happy I haven’t let you down. So amazing for me as a golfer to hold my nerve today,” Nicholas wrote.
“Disabled golf can mix it with anyone. Golf is a game for all people, all conditions, and as I have shown today, all ages! Being an old bloke never felt so good!
“Hope I play well this week ! Let’s go Australia!”
Nicholas is a lifelong golfer, having earned his card on the Australasian Tour in 1992.
He played in two Australian Opens (making the cut in 1996) and two New Zealand Opens (making the cut on both occasions) and two decades on he teed it up in the inaugural Australian All Abilities Championship at The Lakes last year.
Nicholas finished fourth there and was also a part of Team Australia the following week at the ISPS Handa Disabled Golf Cup during the World Cup of Golf.
More than 500 golfers teed it up across four sites in the UK and Nicholas is now a part of the 144-man field.
Fellow Australian John Wade also qualified at Fairhaven, while countrymen Nicholas Robb and Paul Archbold, who shot the day’s low round at Hillside with a 1-under-71, will also tee it up at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Australian touring legends Peter Fowler, Peter O’Malley, David McKenzie & Stephen Leaney are also vying for their share of the $US2 million prize purse.
Unfortunately, Peter Lonard missed out on a Senior Open berth by one stroke at his qualifier, with Kiwi Michael Long coming up short by just two.
Eight-time major champion Tom Watson headlines the field, the American legend teeing it up in his 18th Senior Open at 69-years-old.
After finishing with par I entered a playoff with 7 other players for one of two qualifying spots for the Senior Open. My caddy Steve guided me around to finish 2 under . I have felt the weight of expectation on my shoulders this week and I’m just really happy I haven’t let you down. So amazing for me as a golfer to hold my nerve today. Disabled golf can mix it with anyone. Golf is a game for all people, all conditions, and as I have shown today, all ages! Being an old bloke never felt so good! Thanks to my coach @golfswingmechanic , my family for letting me off husband and dad duties for the last 3 weeks (yes April I have called the electrician) Ashley Harris @enablegolf for the warm up round @buckinghamshiregolfclub earlier this week. @chamiltongolf golf – massive support. Tony @edga_golf who is bringing us to world stage. @golfaust @thelakesgolfclub @amputeegolfnsw . Thanks to all my friends from @scottish_open @jockebjorkmanofficial @adem_wahbi @brendan_lawlor1997 and my great Aussie mate and fellow Amputee golfer @damienthomlinson who sent me messages of congratulations straight away. Mates are awesome ????. Hope I play well this week ! Let’s go Australia!