Adaptive golfers score at Wallingford tournament

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WALLINGFORD -- Next week the Travelers Championship takes to the tees at the TPC River Highlands, but Monday at Wallingford's Farms Country Club showcases an impressive field.

Formerly known as the GHO -- the Gaylord Hospital Open -- what is now called the Ken Murphy Memorial Open brings in adaptive golfers from around the state to make their rounds no matter their affliction. The tournament is put on by the Sports Assocation at Gaylord Hospital where many of the players rehabbed and were taught to learn the game again.

"We have folks who might have had a stroke, a spinal cord injury, amputees, a traumatic brain injury and they're all out there playing golf in a competitive tournament," said Katie Joly, the program manager from the Sports Association.

This year 18 golfers showed up to aim for the greens. Tom Ruocco, from Cheshire, had a tumor removed from his spinal cord seven years ago but still strives to swing his clubs. "My scores are actually better," Ruocco said. "I don't swing as hard and maybe I get more control over my shots." 69-year old Al Brown, from Milford, has a prosthetic left leg below the knee but still can hit 'em straight. "I think a good attitude is the most positive thing out here," Brown said. "You say you want to recover and you will recover."

The Murphy Memorial Tournament has become an annual tradition for nearly two decades. Joly added, "we look at the ability, not the disabilities." To find out more about The Sports Association of Gaylord Hospital's adaptive programs click www.gaylord.org