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One Legged Golfer For Challenge Tour Debut 14 years After Accident

While the world’s finest golfers are worrying about the long rough at Erin Hills ahead of the US Open, one story going under the radar is the remarkable and inspirational Manuel De Los Santos, who is set for his Challenge Tour debut.

There has been plenty of criticism from those at the top of their game recently about the thickness of the rough which they will face at the US Open.

However, their challenge doesn’t compare to what De Los Santos has had to come up against since 2003 when lost his left leg in a motorbike accident.

The 33-year-old was on the verge of becoming a Major League baseball player with the Toronto Blue Jays but then tragedy struck and he most likely thought his dreams of playing professional sport were over. However, his sporting career ended up taking a completely different path.

When he moved to Paris from the Dominican Republic following the disaster, his wife Elena picked out the movie ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance’, which starred Will Smith and Matt Damon, the tale of one man’s love affair with the game.

In a video uploaded on his Youtube account in 2010, De Los Santos admitted the movie ‘changed my life’. Clearly so inspired by the film, he decided to try out golf by attending a driving range and he fell in love from then on.

De Los Santos, who added ‘when I hit balls, I forget my problems’, cut his handicap down to 12 within four years of taking up the sport and in 2012, he made his debut at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, stunning the spectators and media.

He was inspired to take up golf after watching ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance’ movie

He was inspired to take up golf after watching ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance’ movie

After watching the film, he decided to try out golf by attending a driving range

Due to his overriding love for golf, to play the sport professionally is his dream, and after making start on minor tours around France, De Los Santos now has the chance to showcase his remarkable achievements on European golf’s second tier circuit at the Hauts de France Golf Open.

Following the news, the golfer said on his official Facebook page: ‘It’s such a beautiful privilege for me to be invited to this great event. I would like to thank the Aa St Omer GC for supporting this very ambitious project and Alain de Soultrait, the Challenge Tour Director, for his trust.

However, his ambitions aren’t simply to be taking part in the tournament.

‘I have the game to make the cut,’ he insisted before the first round. ‘Golf is a difficult game and sometimes I used to forget why I played – but now I just keep calm if I make a mistake and remember that I love the game.

‘This week will definitely be difficult, but I am still really excited. I remember 12 years ago when I was lying in bed I never thought I could play golf with one leg. Now to be at a point where I can play on the Challenge Tour is amazing.’

 

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