Kipp Popert, Bailey Bish claim 2024 U.S. Adaptive Open titles at Sand Creek Station in Kansas

NEWTON, Kan. — Kipp Popert and Brendan Lawlor embraced each other walking up the 18th fairway, then they marched toward the green.

Sitting in a bowl, the two were the main actors in an amphitheater of patrons surrounding the putting surface, the stage where Popert was closing on on etching his name even deeper into USGA lore.

Popert, 25, won the 2024 U.S. Adaptive Open on Wednesday at Sand Creek Station, going back-to-back at the event. The Englishman shot 14 under for the week, a scoring record that included a birdie on the final hole. Playing in the neurological impairment category, Popert is the first player to win the overall competition back-to-back, and he did it in style.

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“I was looking at the medal on my neck, and I can’t wait to get it back home with the other one,” Popert said.

Popert shot under par every day at the Adaptive Open, including a 7-under 65 in the opening round to take command and go wire-to-wire. He won by four shots over 2022 and inaugural Adaptive Open champion Simon Lee from Korea.

He had a slight hiccup on the par-5 10th hole, the toughest of the week for everyone in the field, making double bogey. But that miscue helped him refocus heading down the stretch.

“I enjoy all of the pressure,” Popert said. “I was like, ‘All right, let’s go show them that we’re still winning this thing despite a little trip up.'”

Kipp Popert raises his hat after finishing his round on the 18th hole during the final round of the 2024 U.S. Adaptive Open at Sand Creek Station in Newton, Kansas, on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. (Jeff Haynes/USGA)

Bish wins women’s title

On the women’s side, Bailey Bish scripted an amazing story of her own along the Sand Creek.

Two years ago, she watched the Adaptive Open on TV unable to compete because her body couldn’t handle playing more than nine holes at a time.

On Wednesday, as Bish rode her cart up to the 18th green, she did shot with a four-shot lead en route to securing the biggest victory of her life.

“If you told me three years ago that I would be the U.S. Adaptive Open champion I would never have believed it,” Bish said. “I don’t have words to describe how amazing it is that adaptive golfers are now being recognized in the same way Annika Sorenstam and other very accomplished golfers are.”

Also competing in the neurological category, Bish, from Tucson, Arizona, got off to a rough start Wednesday, and she headed to the fourth tee box 4 over and her lead much smaller than when she teed off roughly 40 minutes before.

She never got flustered. She and her caddie, coach Susie Meyers, had a plan and never wavered. She bounced back on the par-5 fourth, making the first eagle of her life.

Bailey Bish plays a shot on the 10th hole with train in the background during the final round of the 2024 U.S. Adaptive Open at Sand Creek Station in Newton, Kansas, on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. (Kathryn Riley/USGA)

“I learned that it’s hard to play golf, and even if there is challenges, you can push back and keep going,” Bish said on what she learned about herself this week. “The mistakes will get overwritten by other accomplishments.”

Bish, 24, finished the round with eight straight pars, including nearly driving the 18th green. When she tapped in to clinch her victory, the audience rained down celebration as Bish and Meyers embraced.

“We have an amazing camaraderie in the adaptive golf community,” Bish said. “Having their support with the win like this is absolutely incredible. They saw me when I wasn’t able to play nine holes back to back.

“I think showing my growth is really inspiring to many people in the community.”

2024 U.S. Adaptive Open results by category

Intellectual impairment

Men: Simon Lee (10 under)

Women: Natasha Stasiuk (32 over)

Lower limb impairment

Men: Mike Browne (5 under)

Women: Kim Moore (12 over)

Multiple limb amputee

Men: Issa Nlareb (6 under)

Women: Rose Veldman (35 over)

Neurological impairment

Men: Kipp Popert (14 under)

Women: Bailey Bish (8 over)

Seated players

Men: Max Togisala (7 over)

Women: Annie Hayes (53 over)

Short stature

Men: Brendan Lawlor (9 under)

Upper limb impairment

Men: Chris Willis (2 under)

Women: Cathy Walch (46 over)

Vision impairment

Men: Kiefer Jones (13 over)

Women: Amanda Cunha (21 over)

The U.S. Adaptive Open is one of 15 championships conducted by the U.S. Golf Association. The third version of this event started with 96 golfers across eight impairment categories, each one awarding prizes with an overall men’s and women’s winner also crowned after 54 holes.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek