'Nothing but amazing': WMU golf coach Kim Moore wins USGA's first U.S. Adaptive Open

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

For years and years to come, when champions hoist the U.S. Adaptive Open championship trophy, they'll be sure to check out all the names that came before them.

The first name will forever be Kim Moore, Western Michigan's women's golf coach.

Moore, 41, of Portage, went wire-to-wire to win the inaugural United States Golf Association tournament for golfers with disabilities, carding a final-round 76 Wednesday at Pinehurst, North Carolina, to win by eight strokes over Ryanne Jackson of St. Petersburg, Florida. Moore opened with rounds of 76 and 80.

Western Michigan women's golf coach Kim Moore looks over a putt on the fifth hole during her final round of the U.S. Adaptive Open on Wednesday at Pinehurst.

“It's pretty cool to be part of a little bit of history in golf,” Moore said. “I’m thankful for my friends and family and their support and all the people back home that are wishing me good luck and have been watching.

"It's just been very humbling and exciting for me this whole week, and it's just been nothing but amazing.”

Moore was born without a right foot and a severely clubbed left foot, but always played sports from a young age — particularly basketball.

She went on to play golf in college, and became a PGA teaching pro.

She was named Western Michigan's golf coach in 2020.

“I think we're going to have a lot of rise in participation in adaptive golf,” Moore said of the impact the inaugural USGA tournament will have. 

"“I hope that's what this brings. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.”

For winning, Moore — who has an award named after her by the Women's Golf Coaches Association, which is awarded to a student-athlete who shows spirt, mental toughness and a positive attitude — received a gold medal, ownership of the U.S. Adaptive Open trophy for a year, as well as a five-year exemption into the tournament, one of 15 run by the USGA.

The U.S. Adaptive Open will return to Pinehurst in 2023, from July 17-19.

From left, Mandi Sedlak, Kim Moore, Ryanne Jackson and Grace Anne Braxton pose with the men’s and women’s championship trophies before the final round of the U.S. Adaptive Open.

On the men's side, Simon Lee, 25, of the Republic of Korea, finished with a 71, then went birdie-par in a two-hole playoff over Felix Norman, of Sweden, to take the championship.

The field consisted of 96 players, including some notable names — among them five-time PGA Tour winner and former Ryder Cup winner Ken Green, who lost his right leg in an RV accident in 2009. 

Green's first PGA Tour title was the Buick Open in Grand Blanc in 1985. He finished sixth in the men's division of the U.S. Adaptive Open.

“People are going to find it hard to believe, but I'm going to remember this more than I am any of the Opens or the other tournaments that I played in," Green said. "This is the combination of life beating people down and every one of those people picking themselves up and then using golf to go the next step.

"And there's no better picture than that."

Lansing's Brian Bemis finished 29th in the men's division, and Montrose's Tracy Ramin was 51st.

On the women's side, Hudsonville's Sophia Howard finished 13th.

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tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984