With just one tournament to play in EDGA’s Tournament Series of 14 events in 2017, Charles-Henri Quelin of France is favourite to finish the year as No: 1 in the Ranking for Golfers with Disability supported by PING (R4GD).
Devised by the European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA), the R4GD supported by PING is taking on steadily increasing significance as international competition continues to develop for golfers with a disability.
The popular Quelin has moved up from sixth to first in the Ranking after impressive form over the summer (including leading the way for France in this season’s EGA Team Championship), birdieing his way past Spain’s Juan Postigo Arce (who was formerly top and is now second), Sweden’s Joakim Bjorkman (up one place to third), and Manuel De Los Santos of France who is in fourth place.
It now remains to be seen who will prevail in the final Ranking of the year which will be adjusted after the EDGA season’s grand finale, the Algarve Open, held at Pestana Vila Sol (November 24-25), sponsored by the Association of Algarve Tourism.
All EDGA approved players can now register their scores obtained in non EDGA events for the Ranking providing the competition is recognised by their national federation. With more federations having become members of EDGA in the last year or so (23 in all now), it is perhaps no surprise to see names from outside of Europe climbing this now international leaderboard. Meanwhile, the total number of players served by the Ranking continues to grow (475 players have registered scores from the 800 or so players on the tournament database).
Australia’s Shane Luke is now joint seventh (with Germany’s Timo Klischan) in the Gross R4GD after consistent play this season in his home country; an example of the Ranking’s now global reach.
Shane will do battle into 2018 with star names Mathieu Cauneau (11th), Adem Wahbi (10th), Stefan Morkholt (ninth), George Groves (sixth) and Johan Kammerstad (fifth) in a top section packed with talent.
The R&A (who administers the World Amateur Golf Ranking) gave valuable guidance to EDGA in the creation of the Ranking four years ago. Thanks to support from world-renowned manufacturer PING in the last year, the R4GD continues to become more dynamic and efficient in serving its players.
It is now an important resource as EDGA continues positive relationships with groups such as the European Golf Association (EGA), the International Golf Federation (IGF), The R&A and the European Tour as it seeks to help golfers with a disability to reach their playing potential.
This year the EGA has taken on the running of two major events set up by EDGA, the European Team Championship and the European Individual Championship, which alternate each year, with the Team Championship taking place in the odd years, 2017, and the individual championship in the even years, 2018. In-depth discussions have also taken place between EDGA and the IGF in a bid to secure golf as a Paralympic sport. In both of these cases the R4GD is playing a vital role in demonstrating who are the best players internationally as this sector of the sport grows quickly.
Meanwhile, the men’s R4GD Net Ranking sees Welshman Mike Jones with a narrow lead in first place over Juan Postigo Arce in second, while Turkey’s Mehmet Kazan (third), Joakim Bjorkman (fourth), Pierre Dumas (fifth), Mathieu Cauneau (sixth) and Tony Lloyd (seventh) are notable in the chasing pack.
In the women’s Gross Ranking, Holland’s Marcella Neggers is the leading light (21st in the overall Ranking) just ahead of Denmark’s Mette wegge Lynggaard (24th in the Ranking, who was consistently the leading female player until September). Mette still leads the female Net Ranking, while Elina Pylkkanen of Finland leads the women’s Stableford Ranking.
In the men’s Stableford Ranking, England’s Richard Saunders has taken over the lead ahead of Jakub Kovarik of the Czech Republic, followed by Spain’s Sebas Lorente in third place, Finland’s Timo Pessi in fourth, and Frenchman Nicolas Grossia in fifth.
Head of EDGA’s Sport Committee Rob Moss said: “Thanks to the shared expertise of The R&A when we set up the Ranking four years ago and particularly during the last year following the support of PING, the Ranking really has become a highly effective benchmark in which players can measure their progress. It is also truly international in nature, as anyone with a R4GD Pass can register their scores in their home tournaments as well as via all of our 14 EDGA badged Tournament Series events this year.
“While this is exciting for individual players it is also a valuable resource to demonstrate to the IGF and the Paralympic family just who the best players are in the various different categories of impairment, something which will become increasingly important as we seek approval to include golf in the Paralympics. I’d like to thank all our partners who have supported this endeavour.”