A Welsh golfer has won the Spanish Open for Disabled Players to add to his Welsh and Scottish titles.
Former Welsh Team Championships player Mike Jones has battled back since losing his leg in a motorcycle accident and almost losing his life, finding golfing success at an international level on the European Disabled Golf Association circuit.
The Woodlake Park player, near Usk, won the Stableford section of the Spanish Open, held in Malaga by eight shots, playing off a handicap of 19.
“Golf is my therapy and I am slowly building a reputation,” explained 51-year-old Jones, from Cwmbran, who works as an electrical engineer for Warburtons in Bristol.
“Getting to the Paralympics is my long term goal but at the moment golf is not part of the Games because there is not a recognised international body, though they are working on that.
“I nearly lost my life in October 2015 in a motor bike accident, but before that I played off five and my best handicap was two.
“I had played in the Welsh Team Championships, Gwent League, so when I had my accident I thought I might be good at this when I saw the scores people were shooting.
“But when it came to doing it, physically it was so different. Playing again having played off two helped a bit, but it was like starting again.
“I started off 24, I have got down to 19 and I cannot see myself getting much lower. I have a robot leg but transferring weight is so difficult it is like playing one legged.
“I decided to use what I had and keep it straight down the middle. I decided I am off 19 now so I would play like a 19 handicapper should play
“I cannot look at a 300 yard par 4 as being drivable, now I am thinking how to place my second shot close to the green for the best chip, not thinking of birdies but how to get bogeys.
“The scores in these tournaments are quite low because it is so hard to be consistent in disabled golf.”
Jones is grateful to have had a second chance after the horrors of his accident.
“I cannot remember the accident even though my wife tells me I was talking so I knew it happened, but the brain protects you from the shock and I cannot remember any of it,” he said.
“I was quite low when I first lost the leg. I went to a driving range when I could stand and a guy called Mike Overton of Welsh Disabled Golf saw me and said I could compete.
“I played an event at Peterstone near Cardiff, scored 10 stableford points and was pleased with that. That was an eye opener, I thought this was crazy.
“I practised and got better slowly and then won the Welsh Disabled Open last summer, then I heard about the Scottish Disabled Open and won that at Kinross.
“I found out my hip was broken so had that replaced ten weeks ago so hopefully that is helping and also I am hoping to get a better prosthetic leg for golf. Hopefully they will help me compete in the future.
“I hope we will get to the point where Wales have a disabled golf team. I know Golf Development Wales are doing amazing work with children with a disability so it is growing.”
Jones is hoping to compete through the summer, even targeting the Scottish Order of Merit, using the Spanish title as a springboard to greater success.
Mike has also been recruited as a Golf Development Wales Inclusive Ambassador a will be promoting inclusiveness in the sport, as well as, assisting with events and meetings to promote Golf Development Wales schemes and initiatives.