The field for the 2nd U.S. Adaptive Open has been set, and five players from the Pacific Northwest will be competing in the national championship that showcases the world’s best golfers with disabilities, which will be held at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 6 from July 10-12.
Trevor Arnone, 35, of Lewiston, Idaho (short stature category); Austin Brown, 26, of Richland, Wash. (leg impairment category); Chad Pfeifer, 41, of Nampa, Idaho (leg impairment category); Chris Oviatt, 59, of Milwaukie, Ore. (neurological impairment); and Michael Madsen, 42, of Meridian, Idaho (leg impairment category), have all been selected to play.
Arnone spent the summers of his youth playing golf from sun-up to sundown at Clarkston (Wash.) Golf and Country Club (now called Red Wolf Golf Club). Playing golf for over 30 years now, he competes regularly in club championships and best-ball tournaments. His home course is Lewiston (Idaho) Golf and Country Club, and plays to a 4.4 Handicap Index. Because of his short stature, his irons are custom-fit, but he plays with a full-length driver. His biggest challenge? “Trying to keep up with my friends’ tee shots!”
Competition is nothing new for Pfeifer. After losing his left leg above the knee to a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq, Pfeifer turned to golf as part of his therapy, and the retired Army corporal and Purple Heart recipient has devoted much of his life to helping others through the game of golf. He has competed on Golf Channel’s “Big Break” series, and was given a sponsor’s exemption to play in the 2015 Albertsons Boise Open, later trying to qualify for the Korn Ferry Tour. He is a two-time winner of the U.S. Disabled Open (2021, 2023), is a three-time National Amputee Champion, and competed in an exhibition at the PGA TOUR’s Tournament of Champions at Kapalua in January 2022.
Pfeifer founded Moving Foreward, which uses the game of golf to provide education, assistance and motivation to people with disabilities.
Madsen, who didn’t pick up the game until age 20, lost his left leg above the knee due to bone cancer. “It was about 12 ago that I had my leg amputated, and golf was the one thing I could continue to do, so I kept at it,” he says. And he does it quite well, playing to a +0.1 Handicap Index at Shadow Valley Golf Club in Boise. He competes in a lot of amputee tournaments around the country. “I really enjoy being able to connect with other people in the same situation,” he says. “There’s a lot of camaraderie.” Madsen and his wife and three children moved to Boise four years ago, and he works in finance as a money manager.
Oviatt is a consistent competitor in the Oregon Golf Association senior women’s championship circuit, and has won multiple Women’s Club Championship titles at her home club of Arrowhead Golf Club in Molalla, Ore.
Brown was named Mid-Columbia Conference MVP his senior year of high school, and walked on to the Washington State University men’s golf team, making the travel squad. All of these accomplishments were done while playing with a prosthetic left leg. Click here to watch a video of Brown during his freshman year at WSU in 2016.
A player’s Handicap Index was the primary factor in determining the field, with the USGA reserving at least five male player spots and two female player spots per impairment category.
The championship is open to both male and female professional and amateur golfers with a World Handicap System Handicap Index of 36.4 or less and an eligible impairment confirmed by a WR4GD Pass. The impairment categories are as follows:
- Arm Impairment
- Intellectual Impairment
- Leg Impairment
- Multiple Limb Amputee
- Neurological Impairment
- Seated Players
- Short Stature
- Vision Impairment
The USGA received 285 entries for the championship, and the 96-player final field includes competitors from 28 states and 11 countries.
The championship will be contested over 54 holes of stroke play. Multiple sets of tees will be utilized. Carts will be permitted for all players and caddies.
Click here for more information about the 2023 U.S. Adaptive Open.