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  Portugal Golf - Newsletter

Portugal Golf Newsletter
Closing 2007

Portugal Golf News - (2008/01/02)

In November is when usually the local courses become less busy as visiting golfers take a break leading up to the Christmas and New Year celebrations. Nevertheless, the great weather conditions and some relevant international events took place this year for both professionals and amateur golfers in Portugal. Two of these were TAP Open and the PGA European Senior Tour Qualifying School.

This was the 30th anniversary of the TAP Open and the biggest amateur golf event at present in the country. At its inception, Portugal was recovering from the effects of the 1974 revolution which practically paralysed the sport. (I remember going with friends to play a round of golf on the Aroeira course near Lisbon in 1974 but were unable to as people were picnicking on the fairways). Anyway, the Portugal's flagship airline decided that a golf tournament would be a good way to attract golfers back to the country and the result was positive. Hundreds of players from all the destinations to which TAP flies, many of them Portuguese living abroad, come over to Portugal to take part in this somewhat gruelling amateur golf event – 72 holes of medal play over four different courses preceded by the option of two practice rounds. year the tournament courses were the Oceânico Pinhal, Millennium and Victoria in Vilamoura plus Vale do Lobo's Ocean course, and 380 golfers. The overall net prizes for men and ladies went to Hernâni Teixeira (S. Africa) and Ursula Maisel (Germany) respectively. Frances Cooper from Switzerland was the Hole-in-One success of the tournament.

In the Seniors Q-School, there were two rounds of first stage play at the Pinheiros Altos and Quinta de Cima courses with the leading 56 players joining 22 others for the 4-round final stage played over the Vale de Pinta course on the in Carvoeiro. Like the TAP Open, the finals were affected by one day with thunderstorms, requiring 54 holes to be played over the last two days to complete the event. This inconvenience obviously affected the overall results since the winner, 54-year-old Bob Larratt from England, had a considerably high winning total of 281 (3 under par). Five more players gained full cards for the 2008 Tour. Englishmen John Hoskison, Ian Mosey and Jeff Hall, Jimmy Heggarty (N. Ireland) and Paraguay's Angel Franco, elder brother of Carlos Franco, a USPGA Tour player. Conditional cards were earned by the next eleven players, including two amateurs from England, Matt Briggs and Martin Galway.

The Álamos course on the Morgado golf complex near Portimão was once again the venue for the finals of the Bader Cup on 7th November. For the first time in the 21 years this mixed pairs tournament has been played, a brother and sister duo came in top in the finals. A total of twelve pairs battled for the coveted trophy after winning regional qualifying events throughout the UK. Eleanor (22 hcp.) and Matthew Harrison (+1 hcp.) from Burghill Valley Golf Club, qualifiers at the Bransford, Worcester regional final, came home with 39 Stableford points. Their score was two points ahead of Lisa Russell-Steele and Mick Prior, members of the Skipton G.C. and winners of the Birchwood regional event. The weather was perfect, but mastering the challenging greens proved to be the deciding factor in the final results. The event was organised by John Southwick, founder and Tournament Director of the competition and although Lady Bader, now in her early 90s, was unfortunately unable to attend this year for health reasons, Keith Delderfield, Director of Operations for the Douglas Bader Foundation, the benefiting charity of this competition expressed his gratitude on behalf of DBF to the sponsors Monarch Scheduled, Tivoli Lagos Resort and Golfe de Morgado who will also support the 2008 finals.

This year, the Grande Troféu Vilamoura, one of the most important international amateur tournaments in Portugal is being staged in two distinct events, one immediately after the other. The first one started on 30th November and finished on 2nd December, and the second is played from 4th to 6th December. Both are 54-hole medal play competitions with rounds played at the Oceânico Victoria, Millennium and Old Courses, and the programmes include welcome cocktail parties, prize-giving ceremonies as well as dinners with shows at the Vilamoura Casino. Prizes are being awarded for the best three net scores overall, and also in three handicap divisions for both men and ladies, as well as the best overall gross score. So, there is plenty to play for at Vilamoura for this the 20th year the tournament is being contested, albeit in this new twin format.

The 12th "Glenfiddich & Dom Pedro" Cup took place on the Vila Sol Course with 80 invited golfers. Pairs Leonel Rio and Getúlio Jorge were the outright winners. Rui Cabeçadas was the winner in the 9th "Cidade de Lagos" Trophy held on the Palmares Course.

On the 1st of November the 13th "Portucale Stone" Trophy took place on the Ribagolfe I Course near Lisbon. The winner was Ron Goddard with 35 points and third time he has won this Trophy. David Gray was placed second with Sally Buxton in third place. Brita Flach scored her 7th Hole-in-One on the 15th.

A field of 140 golfers competed in a competition organised by the Association of Portuguese Architects on the Belas Course. Victor Manuel Mah took the first prize followed by Manuel Di Petro. The Luso-Spanish Chamber of Commerce held their 12th Competition on the Belas Course which was won by Emílio Fernandes whilst second place was shared by José Ramon Baranano and Marta Lampreira.

The Autumn Tournament took place on the Oporto Course and was won by Adelino Ribeiro followed by Joaquim Capela with four points less. The Ponte de Lima Course was the scene of the 3rd "Ramos Pinto" Trophy which was won by Luís Mesquita, with Pedro Barbosa in second place. The 8th "Centenário" Cup was held at Lisbon Sports Club and was won by João Morgado followed by Gonçalo Marcos.



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