Six years ago Brad Fellers was diagnosed with a rare bone disease that caused him to lose feeling in his right hand. During the time of his diagnosis, his doctor told him that he would never be able to swing a golf club again. Flash forward six years, and Fellers is headed to the 2019 PGA Professional Championship - after not only finishing in the top five at the Indiana Section Championship - but winning the event in a playoff.
“About three years ago I started playing one handed,” said Fellers, Founding Professional of the Golf School of Indiana. “I had to let go of the club before I hit every shot - but I was able to play again.”
Last year, Fellers found a way to grip the club with his right hand, using only his index fingers and thumb. He started competing in section events again and has been satisfied with how he’s played so far this year.
“Going into this year, I started gaining momentum,” said Fellers. “Throughout this whole process I’ve had a huge group of people really close to me that have been so supportive. They were all out there watching me today, so I knew I couldn’t give up.”
Heading into today's final round of the Indiana PGA Professional Championship at The Bridgewater Club, Fellers was four shots out the lead, behind Chris Smith of Peru. After carding five bogeys in his opening seven holes, Fellers saw himself five shots out of the lead.
“On hole 8, I told my caddy that I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself,” said Fellers. “I had my whole support group out there watching me today, and that’s what truly kept me mentally in it.”
Fellers went on to play his next 11 holes 2-under-par, which was enough to finish in a tie for first with Smith and Craig Bowden of KBS Shafts.
The trio headed to the par-4, 10th
for the playoff, where Fellers hit a tremendous approach shot to two feet, giving himself a tap-in birdie opportunity. With Smith and Bowden in the hole with par, Fellers tapped in for his first victory in years.
“Just to have someone tell you that you can’t do something that you’ve done for your whole life is so hard to hear,” said Fellers. “But the whole team of people at the Golf School of Indiana kept reminding me that I could and would play golf again. It is amazing to finally get a win after my diagnosis - it’s special.”
In addition to Fellers, four other players qualified for the 2019 PGA Professional Championship at Belfair in Bluffton, South Carolina which will be contested on April 28 to May 1, 2019. Those players include: Chris Smith, Peru, Dave Pugh, Mystic Hills GC, Ryan Ford, Pleasant Run GC and Greg Havill, The Woodstock Club. Craig Bowden and Bill Schumaker, Crooked Lake GC, will also have the opportunity to compete, as they are exempt for the National Championship.
Click here for full field results.