Valley Native Ready To Compete At The U.S. Adaptive Open

Larry Celano is one of the top seated golfers in the world. He’ll be competing in the inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open from July 18-20 at Pinehurst golf course in North Carolina. The U.S. Adaptive Open is being put on by the United States Golf Association. The Phoenix native is one of five competing in the seated division.

Playing for his country is a full circle moment for Celano. 33 years ago, on December 22, 1989, Celano was shot in the back three times while serving in the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army during the invasion of Panama. The wounds instantly left him paralyzed from the waist down.

“33 years ago I got shot defending our country and now I’m getting to go play for its national championship,” Celano said as he broke down into tears. “It’s really special… there’s no regrets at all. Golf has brought me back to the point where I can play for this country again.”

This event is a longtime in the making for Celano, who first picked up clubs in 2001 and began competing in 2019. He knows this is a big week for the adaptive sport of golf.

“When I first started playing, it was even hard to find a chair at a golf course to swing from,” Celano said. “Now the whole golf world will watch us and this event will help put us on the map.”

The Seated Golfer says his driver is the best part of his game. If you spend a day on the course with him, you’ll be drawn in by his humor, his willingness to learn the sport, and the passion he displays for the game of golf. He’s won two events already this year, but knows that winning in golf isn’t always in your control. All he tries to do it be his best and let the rest fall into place.

Family is another driving factor for Celano. His wife, Lisa, takes on a heavy burden to let him play golf everyday. He also has a son and twin daughters with Down Syndrome. 

“I’m not just playing for myself,” Celano said. “I’m also playing for my wife, my kids, and whoever follows me.”

If you’d like to support Larry Celano, you can check out his GoFundMe page below to help pay for his expenses at the U.S. Adaptive Open this week.