No hand­i­cap for Aussie Spe­cial Olympics golfer

Inside Golf - - Industry News -

NEW South Wales Spe­cial Olympics ath­lete Tom Leray-meyer was se­lected to com­pete in the PUMP Golf Ju­nior Fes­ti­val at Queens­land’s Twin Wa­ters Golf Club which was run in con­junc­tion with the Aus­tralian PGA Cham­pi­onships.

Tom was the only golfer with an in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­ity to par­take in the event which gave 80 ju­nior golfers the op­por­tu­nity to learn from some of Aus­tralia’s top golf pro­fes­sion­als be­fore par­tic­i­pat­ing in a unique 36-hole tour­na­ment. The ju­nior golfers were also able to at­tend the Aus­tralian PGA Cham­pi­onships where they were able to watch the stars in ac­tion.

Tom’s very proud fa­ther Tony said “Tom won Run­ner-up for Most Im­proved by im­prov­ing his score by 19 shots on day 2–scor­ing 109. Tom was the first Spe­cial Olympics Ju­nior Golfer ever to gain se­lec­tion to at­tend the PGA PUMP Ju­nior Fes­ti­val. Tom worked hard through­out the week and en­joyed the ex­pe­ri­ence thor­oughly. He got a great deal out of the in­struc­tion phase and es­pe­cially en­joyed the ‘tour­ing pro’ coach­ing ses­sion with Nick O’hern, Alis­tair Presnell and Mar­cus Fraser.”

Ac­cord­ing to Rex Langth­orne, who de­vel­oped the Spe­cial Olympics golf pro­gram in Aus­tralia and sits on the Spe­cial Olympics In­ter­na­tional Board of Di­rec­tors, “What makes Tom’s achieve­ment sig­nif­i­cant is not that he has an in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­ity but that he con­tin­ues to push him­self to pur­sue his pas­sion for golf and achieve his per­sonal best de­spite many ob­sta­cles.

As a young boy, reg­u­lar seizures pre­vented Tom from play­ing sport but fol­low­ing surgery, which eased his con­di­tion, he be­gan to show an avid in­ter­est in sport and was par­tic­u­larly fas­ci­nated by the achieve­ments of Tiger Woods.

Tom has won gold medals at the last two Spe­cial Olympics National Games and re­ceived a Va­ri­ety-funded schol­ar­ship to as­sist with his golf de­vel­op­ment.

Tom has joined the ju­nior pro­gram and reg­u­larly plays at Long Reef Golf Club, just north of Syd­ney, where he has flour­ished un­der the ini­tial tute­lage of Don and San­dra Gil­lies and more re­cently from club pro­fes­sion­als Danny Vera and Stu­art Edwards.

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