Carson Soldier Wins Warrior Cup in Golf Event

A Fort Carson soldier tied for the coveted Warrior Cup at an annual golf tournament for wounded troops hosted by former President George W. Bush in September.

Capt. Matt Anderson, of the post's Warrior Transition Battalion, placed second among all competitors and first among active-duty Army competitors at the annual George W. Bush Presidential Center's Warrior Open golf tournament, held Sept. 26-28 at the Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas.

Though Anderson placed second, he tied for the Warrior Cup with Army Staff Sgt. Ben Dellinger because their net scores were the lowest.

"It was a lot of fun, but I had more fun just seeing guys I hadn't seen in a couple of months," said Anderson, who placed sixth overall and first among active-duty Army competitors at last year's tournament.

"That was the best part."

Anderson, who has played golf since childhood, was notified this summer that he'd been selected again to compete in the two-day, 23-man competition open to severely wounded warriors.

Applicants were required to have a verifiable golf handicap of 20 or less and submit copies of their military ID or discharge papers and a certificate of diagnosis.

The Warrior Transition Battalion's Staff Sgt. Jason Searles also competed in the tournament for a second year. He placed 16th.

Anderson's lower right leg was shattered when he stepped on a mine during a 2011 deployment to Afghanistan's Arghandab River Valley. His leg was salvaged thanks to multiple surgeries.

Because he didn't have a chance to practice much before the tournament, Anderson didn't expect to perform well this year.

He couldn't have dreamed of beating out three-time champion Marine Cpl. Chad Pfeifer for the Warrior Cup, he said.

"I didn't even think about competing against him," Anderson said. "It's really just a friendly rivalry."

Because of his score, Anderson will likely be invited to next year's tournament.

In the coming months, his right foot will be amputated. By the time the tournament rolls around, he'll likely be getting used to operating with a prosthetic.

"I've had 24 operations and procedures on it, and it's time to toss in the towel," he said.

"I may have to learn my swing again. I'll play the best I can, and whatever the outcome is, I can be happy with that."

The idea of having his foot amputated is "nerve wracking" even though a prosthetic will eventually make daily tasks and playing golf easier, as well as make running possible again.

"I know enough soldiers who are amputees to know that you can do anything you want to do with a prosthetic," he said. "It will be another tool to master, another piece of equipment to figure out how to use."

Anderson hopes that other wounded troops will hear about his success at the tournament and be inspired to give golf a try.

"It's really therapeutic for the wounded service member," he said. "It has a healing aspect emotionally and mentally.

"To be far away from the hospital with fresh air, blue skies, green grass -- that's a really good thing."

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Army Wounded Warriors