Two teams of EDGA golfers enjoyed competing in the recent pro-am at the Italian Challenge Open Eneos Motor Oil, held at Castelconturbia Golf Club, by invitation of the Italian Golf Federation.
EDGA Advocate Alessandra Donati reported a highly successful day for the four golfers with disability invited to play, in what was a good “demonstration of how golf overcomes every barrier”.
The EDGA teams teed-off (September 30) on the beautiful but challenging golf course in Agrate, Conturbia, in the pro-am for this European Tour Challenge Tour event.
The first team was led by Challenge Tour professional Enrico Di Nitto and featured EDGA players Gregorio 'Greg' Guglielminetti and Roberto Molina (who won the EDGA Championship individual title at the Golf Esperia de Sotogrande in 2009). The second team was led by Challenge Tour player Luca Cianchetti and included young EDGA player Andrea Plachesi, aged 19, and Alessandra Donati.
Alessandra Donati said: “The Italian Golf Federation provides opportunities for golfers with disability to take part in the pro-ams of the Italian professional tour competitions. I think this is a positive step: it gives visibility to players with disability, and is a demonstration of how golf overcomes every barrier.”
Alessandra said a highlight of the day for many was to meet Italian golf hero and four-time European Tour winner Matteo Manassero, who was also playing in the main tournament. She said: “It was really wonderful to arrive at the course and immediately meet Matteo [with whom I had played a pro-am last year in Rome] smiling at me and greeting me with a “Hello Ale!” He remembered me! It was the best welcome I could ever have!”
Meeting European Tour players is always a great moment for EDGA players, and in the last couple of years the Tour stars have consistently offered their support and encouragement at events to EDGA golfers (Paul Waring and Nick Dougherty from the European Tour, and Carly Booth from the Ladies European Tour, have even recently become EDGA Ambassadors, as has former Tour favourite and now broadcaster Tony Johnstone).
With Matteo suitably welcomed, Alessandra and her team-mates took on the challenge of Castelconturbia Golf Club. “I had never played here and with the golf course prepared for such an important competition it was really difficult! The greens were very fast, full of pitfalls and slopes.
“The professional I played with, Luca Cianchetti, has great power in his shots, and seeing how he made the ball fly was really exciting.”
Alessandra added: “I was very happy that Andrea Plachesi, one of the youngest Italian EDGA golfers, played with me. I saw his eyes sparkle with happiness and enthusiasm. I would very much like this light in his eyes help to inspire other young disabled people to start playing golf.”
As for how golf helps Alessandra herself, she makes a point which is certainly inspirational and shows why she has been recently selected as one of 12 EDGA Advocates to help promote the physical and mental health benefits of the game. Alessandra said: “The doctors diagnosed me with a rare disease, for which there is no cure. But I know they were wrong: I found the cure and it's called GOLF.”
Article by Ben Evans, +44(0)7789 722853, Oct-17 2020
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