New Australian All Abilities champion Lachie Wood is one of the few who truly knows the daily pain felt by Tiger Woods when walking a golf course.
The huge satisfaction to Wood’s victory on Saturday at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open in Sydney was knowing all he had conquered to hold aloft the trophy. Birdies on two of the last three holes at The Australian Golf Club completed a fine one-under-par 70 and a three-shot win over Ireland’s Brendan Lawlor.
“I feel great. First time playing the course, first time playing the event. It’s such a well-run event where (Golf Australia) treated us special,” Wood enthused.
“Twelve months ago, I was no one. I had no world ranking, I had no position in All Abilities and had only just heard about how to get into the system.”
There have been a string of victories in Australia and New Zealand this year and raising the money to travel to the G4D Open in England in May.
Wood (71-72-70) finished even-par to win his biggest tournament while the quest for this special Australian Open trophy goes on for Lawlor (73-70-73). Australia’s Cameron Pollard was third while England’s defending champion Kipp Popert closed with a 74 to be seven strokes from the winner.
At 16, Wood’s life changed in a devastating car accident when he was a passenger. Instantly, just walking again was the goal not making birdies. The accident nearly cost him his life. The bandaging he plays with covers a lower left leg held together by 14 screws and a metal plate bigger than his hand. He still feels it poking into his sock.
He has had more than 30 surgeries including the graft of muscles from his back to rebuild the shattered and now shorter left leg. The fallout even forced him to move home from Victoria to the warmer climate of Queensland to escape cold winters that made it tough for his body to wake up.
The move and Wood’s dedication is paying off. His ranking will rise considerably from No.15 on the World Rankings For Golfers With Disability because of this win.
“I’d love to get back on the G4D Tour (in Europe) but it’s such a level to get on there. Obviously, the G4D Open I’d love to get to but financial difficulties make it tricky. To chase world ranking points, you’ve got to go overseas and it is expensive,” Wood said.
He definitely has the game. He was the most consistent of the three golfers who started the final day sharing the lead. Lawlor’s two early bogeys dropped him back while Australian Cameron Pollard held the lead briefly. Wood made a good birdie on the par four 16th and his third of the day completed the win in style on the par five 18th. Lawlor exploded from the bunker to set up a birdie. Wood played an even better shot from the sand to finish inside his playing partner.
Tiger Woods had his own leg shattered in a 2021 car accident. On TV, Wood watched the world’s greatest of the modern era limp towards a withdrawal after the third round of the 2023 Masters.
“I have great admiration for what Tiger Woods would have put himself through to even get that far. He would have felt it in those cold, wet conditions. Walking cross-hill is when his leg would really have been hurting,” Wood explained at the time.
Woods is currently making his comeback in The Bahamas from his latest round of surgery.