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Amputee golfer Geoff Nicholas qualifies for Senior British Open

Florida Times-Union - 7/24/2019

Geoff Nicholas sees having a prosthetic right leg as a plus on the golf course.

"I probably loose a little distance," said the 58-year-old Australian, who qualified for this week's Senior British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes, during a news conference. "But I'm reasonably accurate, so I'm happy with that. Disability is only what you make of it. If you start thinking 'disability,' that's when you're in trouble."

Nicholas lost his right leg when he was 11 years old due to a disformity related to his mother taking Thalidomide, a drug for morning sickness that caused numerous birth defects in children in the 1950s and 1960s until it was banned. He started playing golf a year later.

"I fell in love with the game ... that was sort of the thing that really helped me get through life," he said.

Nicholas went on to capture numerous disabled golf tournaments around the world, including multiple U.S. and European championships, and earned status on the Australian PGA Tour. At one point, Nicholas won the U.S. Amputee championship 12 years in a row.

He was playing in a disabled golf tournament in Scotland earlier this month and he decided to enter a Monday qualifier at the Fairhaven Golf Club in Lancashire, England.

Nicholas made a 25-foot birdie putt at the last to make a five-for-two playoff. He birdied the fourth playoff hole to earn his spot in the Open.

"I like to feel I'm inspiring people and and golf is such a great game to do that," he said.

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(c)2019 The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.)

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