Golf News 1998
Golf News in 1998 for Costa del Sol and Andalucia. Keep up to date with the news highlights from the world of golf on the Costa del Sol and Andalucia, Spain.
Volvo Masters Tournament 1998
The 11th edition of the Volvo Masters tournament was played at Montecastillo Hotel and Golf Resort near Jerez in October 1998. It was won by Darren Clarke from Northern Ireland with 271 strokes being -17. Andrew Coltart of Scotland was runner up two strokes behind.
Colin Montgomery was third another stroke behind. This was sufficient for Montgomerie to win a sixth successive Volvo Ranking title in the last event of the 1998 season on the European Tour.
Clarke conjured up a magnificent record-equalling 63 to win an epic, sun-drenched Volvo Masters at the Montecastillo Hotel and Golf Resort by two strokes from Andrew Coltart and by three from Montgomerie. A 17-under-par total of 271 allowed Clarke to turn a three-stroke overnight deficit into a superb victory as the 30-year-old Ulsterman added the Volvo Masters to his Benson & Hedges International Open win in May.
"It was gratifying to play so well under pressure and very satisfying to win again after a frustrating spell," said Clarke. "My goal was to win the tournament. Unfortunately, it wasn’t good enough to win the Volvo Ranking but good luck to Monty. He proved why he’s been No1 for the last six years."
The £166,000 top prize was sufficient to hoist Clarke into second place in the Volvo Ranking with £902,867 - but insufficient to carry him beyond the man who has made the Ranking crown his personal property for the past six years. Montgomerie came within a whisker of becoming the first player to win more than £1,000,000 in official money on the European Tour as he set a new Tour record with £993,077 - ahead of Clarke (£902,867) and Lee Westwood (£814,3896).
"I didn’t realise I had won that much!" said Montgomerie. "My job on behalf of all the players on the European Tour is to thank all who have supported us and that starts with Ken Schofield, George O’Grady and all the staff at the European Tour for their support, help and dedication to the job."
Going into the final round, it was Westwood who seemed to hold the edge when he shared the tournament lead with Peter O’Malley, one ahead of Montgomerie. Westwood, however, came to grief when he took seven at the 14th by which time Clarke, following a superb outward 30, and a two at the 11th, had moved ahead challenged by Coltart. Indeed Coltart, out in 33, shared the lead with two to play but he took five at the 17th and Clarke birdied the last.
There has never been another Volvo Ranking finale to match the 1998 thrust and counter thrust involving Montgomerie, Westwood and Clarke all season. It was tight in 1995 when Montgomerie edged out Sam Torrance, but this three-cornered fight gripped the imagination all the way until the final putt was drained. The three protagonists locked horns virtually from May and early June when all captured victories to stake their claim to the Volvo Ranking title. In the final analysis, Montgomerie, wiping beads of perspiration from his brow, gasped: "All I can say is that it’s getting tougher! The others will now have to wait one more year, but they are getting closer. I don’t know if seven-in-a-row is on the cards but I’m looking forward to coming back to play Montecastillo, a real championship course, next year."
He added: "Lee and Darren’s day will come pretty soon. They are world class players and that was a world class score by Darren. Lee has also proved himself as a great competitor and a wonderful golfer."
Clarke said: "I dedicate this victory to a great friend, Stephen Boler, who died on Thursday. I’m delighted to have won and delighted for all the green staff at Montecastillo who worked tirelessly to make the course a world-class test. It is now a rival to Valderrama. I must also congratulate Colin on being number one again - Lee and I pushed him hard but he put his foot on the accelerator again - and, of course, Volvo for their magnificent support and this wonderful tournament."
Volvo Masters Background
The Volvo Masters was the concluding official money event of the European Tour season from 1988 until 2009, when it was replaced by the Dubai World Championship. The event was founded in 1988 and held at Real Club Valderrama, Sotogrande except for a five-year period between 1997 and 2001 when Montecastillo Hotel and Golf Resort played host to the tournament.
The prize money for the inaugural event was £351,690, and by 2008, this had increased to over €4 million, making it one of the richest events on the tour. The field consists of the top 60 leading money winners on the European Tour, and from 2005, an invitation had also been issued to the previous year’s winner regardless of their standing on the money list.
Montecastillo Prepares for the 1998 Volvo Masters
Pierre G. Aron, President of Montecastillo Hotel and Golf Resort, said: “Following consultation with the European Tour and Volvo Event Management, a major investment programme was put in place to enhance the examination and condition of the course.
The Montecastillo Hotel and Golf Resort has rebuilt all bunkers installed new drainage, and will fill them with white marmolina sand similar to that at Augusta National and Valderrama. In addition, more than 2,500 trees have been planted and with general maintenance to the lakes and the construction of retaining walls on the 10th and 15th holes, the course has enjoyed a complete overhaul.
A new tee has been constructed at the first hole and will add 31 metres, making the hole 356 metres in length. This will bring the fairway bunkers into play. The course itself will now measure 6,455 metres.
The American Financial Corporation, Colony, has become a major investor at Montecastillo and is committed to adding additional facilities and amenities.