PALM HARBOR, Fla. – After two days of joyful and inspiring play at Innisbrook Resort, Eli Villanueva and Bailey Bish were crowned the first Florida Adaptive Open champions. Villanueva and Bish both went wire-to-wire to win the inaugural championship.
“It’s incredible to win this event,” Bish said. “Three years ago, I could barely play nine holes, much less 18 holes in a row. To be able to see all of my hard work really pay off really means a lot to me.”
Villanueva posted a 5-over 147 to capture the win in the Men’s Division, while Bish finished the championship with am 8-over 150 to earn the victory in the Women’s Division.
“It’s just awesome,” Villanueva said. “This was a great competition with great comradery. It’s a great feeling to become the first champion.”
Villanueva, who has limited range of motion in his left arm due to breaking his eblow in the military, took a three-shot lead in the first round with a 3-over 73. The North Carolina native got the final round started with a 2-over front side, carding a birdie on the third.
After a bogey on the 10th, Villanueva added birdies on the 12th and 16th to move to 1 over for the day. He secured the championship with a final-round 73 to take home the 2-shot victory at five-over 147.
Kenny Bontz made a charge for the championship title, getting the day started with a bogey-free front side and two birdies to take the solo lead. An untimely double bogey on the 17th for Bontz gave the lead back to Villanueva who would secure the victory with a bogey on the 18th hole.
“This is a great sport that you can play forever,” Villanueva said. “Get out there and play with your friends.”
Bontz finished runner-up with a 7-over 129 for the championship. The Parrish native carded a final-round 72, the low round of the championship. Zachary Grove finished third overall with a 10-over 152 for the week.
Bish, who lost movement in her right side due to dystonia, held a one-shot lead heading into the final round after beginning the championship with a 4-over 75 on Monday. Bish’s first-round 75 was the lowest round of her career.
The Arizona native got the round started with a 1-over front side and a birdie on the fifth hole. She finished the championship with a final-round 75 to earn the 10-shot victory. Bish posted two rounds of 75 to capture the inaugural championship victory.
“This community is just life changing,” Bish said. “You meet people of all different walks of life and learning their stories really changes your perspective about your situation and how you can adapt and really make your life meaningful.”
Seminole native, Ryanne Jackson finished runner-up at 18-over 160, while Amanda Cunha took third place at 37-over 179.
In addition to our two overall champions, 12 division winners were crowned across the field.
- Men’s Arm Impairment: Eli Villanueva
- Men’s Leg Impairment: Kenny Bontz
- Men’s Multiple Limb Amputee: Tim Healea
- Men’s Neurological Impairment: Zachary Grove
- Men’s Seated Players: Rick Hart
- Men’s Vision Impairment: Jake Beausir
- Men’s Intellectual Impairment: Kody Conover
- Women’s Arm Impairment: Kellie Valentine
- Women’s Leg Impairment: Kelsey Koch
- Women’s Neurological Impairment: Bailey Bish
- Women’s Seated Players: Ann Hayes
- Women’s Vision Impairment: Amanda Cunha