MARION, Ind. (WANE) – Evan Mathias has walked with prosthetic legs for as long as he can remember, but it hasn’t stopped him from finding success on the links.
The Jay County High School graduate was born without fibulas in both of his legs. As a result, his legs were amputated from the knee down when he was just eight months old. He eventually learned how to walk with prosthetics, never putting any limitations on himself. Growing up, Mathias was a three sport athlete, competing in tennis, swimming and golf.
“For me, I don’t know any different since I’ve had my prosthetics since basically birth,” Mathias said.
Tammy Averill, Evan’s aunt and godmother, remembers her nephew being drawn to golf at a young age.
“His dad had a club in his hand as soon as he could, and he just fell in love with it,” Averill said.
Eight years after graduating from Jay County, Mathias continues to thrive on the golf course. He competed on the men’s golf team at Marian University. Afterwards we went on to earn various titles, including a trio of Georgia State Amputee Golf championships and the longest drive at the ParaLong Drive Cup.
Now Mathias is getting ready to compete in the inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open, a 3-day tournament held by the U.S. Golf Association for those who live with a disability.
“The best in the world are going to be there in terms of disabled golfers,” Mathias said. “I hope I can really put my name out there and compete to the highest ability and possibly have a chance at winning the tournament.”
Mathias is one of 96 golfers competing in July, joining Indianapolis native Peyton Zins as the only two Hoosiers competing in the match. The Jay County native is thrilled to see the game of golf expand for those who are living with disabilities, and he hopes this tournament inspires others who are going through similar circumstances.
“These guys that maybe lost limbs or other disabilities later in life, there’s still opportunities out there for them that they can compete, they can move forward in the game of golf or other sports,” Mathias said.
The top priority in July is to finish atop the leaderboard, but Mathias is more focused on putting together three consistent rounds.
“I hope that in the future this kind of grows the game of adaptive golf, and we’ll see what happens in the future with it.”
The inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open is scheduled from July 18-20 at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.