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Multiple amputee Issa Nlareb’s incredible journey to US Adaptive Open

Multiple amputee Issa Nlareb’s incredible journey to US Adaptive Open

NEWTON, Kan. — For 12 years, Issa Nlareb has held on to a Tiger Woods ball marker a friend gave to him.

“I told him, when I arrive in the United States, I will wear it,” Nlareb told his friend.

This week, he finally got to showcase it.

Nlareb is competing in the 2024 U.S. Adaptive Open at Sand Creek Station in Kansas. It’s his first time in the United States, and he is the first player from Cameroon to compete in the event. His journey to middle America is about as incredible as his golf game, all of which was nearly taken from him after contracting bacterial meningitis in 2017.

“The way Tiger would come back after all of the things, it just gives me the courage to continue,” Nlareb said.

Dream of golf in the U.S. fulfilled

Nlareb has long dreamed to come to America to play golf. It wasn’t until this week he got his chance.

Growing up in Africa, Nlareb was 11 years old when his mother died, leaving him homeless. It’s then when he said he had to choose between a life on the streets or picking golf balls and working for food.

He chose golf.

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After a couple years, he became a caddie, and his love for the game only grew. He started to play the game, and slowly but surely became good enough to play on the Alps Tour.

In 2017 while competing at the Ein Bay Open in Egypt, Nlareb contracted bacterial meningitis, and it put him into a four-day coma.

“When I woke up, all of my extremities had necrosis,” Nlareb said.

That’s when he had to make a choice to have both of his legs amputated and all but two of his fingers on his right hand.

“It was tough, tough, tough,” Nlareb said.

His golfing career was put on the back burner. But he wanted to stay in the game. So he got into coaching to help teach others and share his love for the sport.

The road back to the game

A couple of years went by, and Nlareb had an itch he just couldn’t scratch.

He missed competition. He wanted to play again. Even though he knew how difficult it would be.

He started competing and realized he still had game. He started to get his feelings back and slowly started rising in the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability.


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