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Brightspot Unified Challenge participants shine at inaugural USGA Adaptive Open

From July 18-20, 2022, golfers from around the world gathered at Pinehurst, North Carolina, to compete in the inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open. Over the three-day tournament, male and female golfers with differing abilities showcased their remarkable talents and perseverance.

For Brightspot, the tournament provided an opportunity to cheer on several alumni who have competed in its annual Brightspot Unified Challenge, an inclusive golf event that started in 2013 in partnership with the Tiger Woods Foundation at the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club.

Simon Lee hits a drive at the 2015 Brightspot Unified Challenge
Jhonattan Vegas, Simon Lee, David Dendler, Steven Winingham, and Alex Elmore.
Denny Henry

Simon Lee (2015), of South Korea, not only placed first in the Intellectual Impairment flight but also won the overall men’s championship in a playoff with a final score of 3-under par.

Chad Pfiefer holds follow through after hitting an approach at 2022 Brightspot Unified Challenge

Chad Pfeifer (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2022) got out to an early lead shooting a 2-under 70 in the first round. Chad went on to shoot even par for the tournament, finishing third overall and first in the Leg Impairment flight and recording the lowest round of the tournament with a blistering 68 on the final day.

Grace Anne Braxton hits practice chip at 2013 Brightspot Unified Challenge
Denny Henry

Grace Anne Braxton (2013), one of the world’s most decorated Special Olympics golfers, got the event started by hitting the first tee shot on Monday morning. Grace Anne went on to finish fourth overall in the women’s division and took home top honors in the Intellectual Impairment flight.

Natasha Stasiuk stands next to her teammate, Adam Jennings, waiting to hit a chip at the 2022 Brightspot Unified Challenge

Natasha Stasiuk (2022), from Canada, saved her best for the final round, firing an 86 en route to finishing fifth overall among female competitors and runner-up in the Intellectual Impairment flight.

This week, Simon, Chad, Grace Anne and Natasha put their skills on display for the world to see, and in doing so, continued to break down barriers and inspire so many.

Since 2013, the Brightspot Unified Challenge has used the game of golf to bring together diverse groups of teenagers, veterans, and individuals with intellectual disabilities to connect and inspire each other on and off the golf course. Over the past decade, hundreds of golfers have united through the event and displayed their remarkable talents while playing alongside a host of PGA TOUR professionals including major winners like Jordan Spieth, Gary Woodland and Davis Love III.

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