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Portugal Golf News April 2006

Sat, 1st Apr 2006
At the end of March your golf correspondent made a foray into new golfing territory in Portugal, away from the Algarve to accompany a group of European Golf Writers on tour. Organised by Esay Golf Management, a joint-venture firm between the Portuguese Grupo Espírito Santo (GES) and Aymerich, a Spanish golf course owner and Management Company. GES amongst other things also own the well-known Tivoli Hotel chain in Portugal. The six-day excursion commenced at the Tivoli Almansor Hotel in the Algarve and the group of almost thirty golf writers from several European countries were invited to play 9 holes at the Morgado de Reguengo course and view the new Golfe dos Alamos layout alongside which will be officially opened this June. The visitors' next stop was at Vimeiro on Portugal's west coast, about 60 kms northwest of Lisbon. The Tivoli Golf Mar Hotel with its spa, towers over the western coastline and inland it overlooks a short holiday type 9-hole course as well as horse-riding and facilities. A new 18-hole course is being planned for the future for this attractive location.

Golf Course News April 2006

Santo da Serra Golf
Sat, 1st Apr 2006
Jean Van de Velde - (France) Madeira Island Open Santo da Serra - Madeira - Portugal - 23rd to 26th March, 2006 Jean Van de Velde from France secured his second European Tour title with a one stroke victory over 2004 Challenge Tour winner Lee Slattery at the Madeira Island Open. Jean Van de Velde moved from Nº 295 to Nº 135 in the Rankings.
Penina Championship
Sat, 1st Apr 2006
Paul Broadhurst - (England) Algarve Open de Portugal Penina Golf & Resort - Portimao - Portugal - 30th to 2nd April, 2006 Many golfers will have watched Paul Broadhurst's successful defense of his last year's Portuguese Open title on TV. This was the 10th time it was staged at the Sir Henry Cotton Championship course at Penina, and was also the 50th Portuguese Open. It took place in ideal Algarve weather, with the main difficulty being the rough which had been allowed to grow and causing players to place a premium on precision driving and approach shots. In fact, that proved to be the secret of Paul Broadhurst's victory, allied to some inspired putting on the large, immaculate greens. When the long-hitting Argentine, Ricardo Gonzalez snatched a 1-stroke lead after a 3rd round record-equaling 64 to go 13 under par, it seemed that he would follow this up with a win. Especially after Paul Broadhurst, the 18- and 36-hole leader, had stumbled to a double bogey and a bogey birdie finish in his 3rd round. But it was Ricardo Gonzalez who faltered right from the start of the last round with errant driving and failed to find the fairway off the tee on the opening 5 holes which he still covered in level par. Paul Broadhurst picked up 4 birdies over these holes and was only eventually threatened by surges from two other players. The talented Argentine, 24-year-old rookie Andres Romero, who scored 30 for the front nine, and Anthony Wall, who scored 3 birdies in the last 4 holes and carded his 3rd consecutive 67, in spite of having a 10-foot putt on the 17th lip out of the hole. Paul Broadhurst had a few scares with wayward shots over the closing holes, including a tee-shot into the lake on the 185-metre 13th for a double bogey, and a dropped shot on the 17th. In the press interview afterwards Paul Broadhurst admitted he did not know how he stood in the competition until the 18th tee when he learned that he required a birdie on the last hole. He proceeded to achieve this with a chip from the back left of the green and leaving him a virtual tap-in for his 1-stroke victory. As far as local golfers are concerned, only Tiago Cruz who had recently turned Pro, had managed to pass the 36-hole cut and he ended on 2 over par in a tie for 67th place.
Ribagolfe I
Sat, 1st Apr 2006
The Ribagolfe I & II plus Santo Estevao (a Donald Steel design), courses which all opened in 2004. All three are beautifully laid out in gently undulating terrain of the northern Alentejo and covered mainly by mature cork oaks. Ribagolfe I, designed by Peter Townsend, is a particularly challenging course although the others hopefully can be rated close behind.

International Golf News April 2006

Sat, 1st Apr 2006
Tiger Woods successfully defended the Ford Championship at Doral on the PGA Tour with a one stroke victory over David Toms and Camilo Villegas. Woods extended his lead over Vijay Singh at the top of the World Golf Ranking. David Toms climbed one place to Nº 8 while Villegas entered into the Top 100 in 95th place. Luke Donald won the Honda Classic at The Country Club at Mirasol, Florida, USA. Donald's second PGA Tour victory took him just into the World Top 10 for the first time at No 10. He became the 62nd player to achieve World Top 10 status. Johan Axgren of Sweden secured the second European Challenge Tour victory of his 2006 season at the Tusker Kenya Open at Karen GC. As well as moving to the top of the European Challenge Tour Rankings, Johan Axgren climbed 85 places to Nº 17 in the World Ranking.
Sat, 1st Apr 2006
In the final week of March the World Ranking system completed twenty years since it was first launched prior to the Masters Tournament in 1986. The first World Number One was the then Masters Defending Champion Bernhard Langer who has retained a high Ranking through the twenty years and is currently Nº 57. Seve Ballesteros was at Nº 2 and Sandy Lyle, the then current British Open Champion Nº 3, Tom Watson at Nº 4, Mark O'Meara Nº 5 and Greg Norman Nº 6. All these golfers with the exception of Bernhard Langer are now out of the World Top-200. The only current World Top-50 player who was in the Top-50 for the first Ranking is Fred Couples who occupied the Nº 42 position in 1986 and is currently Nº 27. There have been an exclusive band of just twelve players who have reached the No. 1 position in the last twenty years – Bernhard Langer (3 weeks), Seve Ballesteros (61 weeks), Greg Norman (331 weeks), Nick Faldo (97 weeks), Ian Woosnam (50 weeks), Fred Couples (16 weeks), Nick Price (44 weeks), Tom Lehman (1 week), Ernie Els (9 weeks), David Duval (15 weeks), Vijay Singh (32 weeks) and the current No. 1 Tiger Woods (385 weeks).

Golfers in the News April 2006

Sat, 1st Apr 2006
Simon Dyson - (England) Enjoy Jakarta HSBC Indonesia Open Emeralda - Jakarta - Indonesia - 2nd to 5th March, 2006 Simon Dyson from England, the past winner of the Asian Tour Order of Merit, won the Enjoy Jakarta HSBC Indonesia Open by two strokes from Australian Andrew Buckle. Simon Dyson and moved up 60 places to Nº 140 in the Rankings.
Sat, 1st Apr 2006
Mardan Mamat - (Singapore) OSIM Singapore Masters Laguna National - Tampines - Singapore - 9th to 12th March, 2006 Local golfer Mardan Mamat won the Singapore Masters with one stroke from Nick Dougherty from England. Following them in were Ross Fisher and Charlie Wi.
Sat, 1st Apr 2006
Johan Edfors - (Sweden) TCL Classic Yalong Bay - Hainan Island - China - 16th to 19th March, 2006 Johan Edfors from Sweden secured his maiden European Tour title after a birdie on the final hole gave him a one stroke victory in the TCL Classic at Yalong Bay Golf Club on the Chinese Island of Hainan. Johan Edfors moved from World Number 358 to 174.

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