SOREN KJELSeN WINS THE 21ST AND FINAL VOLVO MASTERS
Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark won the twenty first and final Volvo Masters at eight under par. Runners up were Anthony Wall of England and Martin Kaymer of Germany both with six under par. Soren skilfully managed to maintain the lead he set in the first round. The exceptionally heavy rain weather had been a big issue in this event causing huge disruption to the middle rounds, however the fourth round and final enjoyed Andalucian sunshine.
Soren explained the “birdies on the 11th and 12 were decisive because they calmed me down”. Soren also admitted that he had been on the lucky side of the draw as far as the worst of the weather was concerned.
Sergio Garcia of Castellón in Eastern Spain, a local favourite and three times runner-up here at Valderrama, had to be content with fourth place this year. He was visibly disappointed. Don Jaime Patiño walked the length of the 18th fairway to greet him personally when he emerged from the scorer’s tent.
Sergio explained, “It has been a good tournament but a shame because yesterday should have been a better day. Today I have not shot particularly well or particularly bad, but I did not make a few putts here and there. I am happy it has been a very positive year; I think I have played to a high level. I have been up many weeks. Evidently I would have liked to finish winning the Volvo Masters here in Valderrama because it is a course I love."
Martin Kaymer of Germany had an excellent fourth round of 68 moving up into equal second place at six under par after six birdies.
It was a great Sunday for the spectators. They enjoyed watching the leaders finish the third round on 18th green and then virtually move straight on to tee off on the first in the fourth round. This was all in bright sunshine. A little rain in the afternoon and a quick shower did not dampen their spirits and they were rewarded with bright sunshine for the final holes and the prize giving ceremony.
Rober Karlsson of Sweden finished in 32nd position at nine over par. This was enough however to take home the European Tour Order of Merit which was proudly presented by George O’Grady.
One local hero worthy of mention was a very local hero, Alvaro Quiros from La Cañada, who had quite a following when he finish the fourth round on the 9th green at ten over par. The huge cheer even distracted the leaders on the 18th.
So what’s next for the Volvo, Valderrama and Andalucia? There was a certain sadness in the air at the prize giving ceremony, a certain fatalism, ironic actually as all the protagonists were present. However, everyone was aware that this ultimate event of the European tour now moves to Dubai.
There will be the Volvo World Match-Play Championships at Finca Cortesín on the Costa del Sol next October. Per Ericsson, CEO of Volvo Event Management says to the local golf fans that “we are only saying ‘au-revoir” not ‘goodbye’. Luciano Alonso reiterated these words saying everything was being done to bring an important championship back to Andalucia. Many commentators have suggested that it would be fitting to upgrade the ‘Seve Ballesteros’ trophy in honour of this great man, who is currently fighting for his life.
ROUND THREE CONTINUES ON THE FOURTH DAY IN THE VOLVO
Play in round three on the fourth day started at 08.30 a.m. Sunday exactly where it left off the day before. At least the sky looked more optimistic, with a general light overcast and sunny blue patches. There was a very light westerly breeze.
Soren Kjelson (Denmark) finished the third round and at eight under strengthening his lead helped by three early morning consecutive confidence building birdies on the 12th, 13th and 14th against group partner Lee Westwood (England) five under and Anthony Wall (England) at four under. Sergio Garcia (Spain), the local hero and three-time runner up, in the group in front was also five under after a disappointing bogie on the eighteenth.
The fourth round 'draw' was the same as the third. The first group who finished the third round at 9.30 a.m. were teeing off again at 10.30 a.m. on the first and the tenth hole. The leaders were booked for starting again at noon. There was only little time for a warm up between the round, perhaps just a quick cup of coffee and a sandwich.
ROUND THREE PLAY FINALLY SUSPENDED AT 17.25 hrs
Play in round three on the third day was suspended at 17.25 hrs due to increasing heavy rain and failing light, with the leading group only on the seventh hole.
Soren Kjelsen (Denmark) at five under held his lead against group partner Lee Westwood (England) four under and Anthony Wall (England) at three under. Sergio Garcia (Spain), the local hero and three times runner up was five under. Other players in contention overnight were Thomas Levet (France) at two under and Darren Clarke (N. Ireland) at two under.
The players started round three in groups of three on the first and tenth tee at 14.00 hrs in light rain in an attempt by the organisers to 'nearly complete' the third round. By the time the leaders teed off on the first, the rain was getting heavier.
The organisers allowed the 'poor golfers' to continue as the rain got heavier and heavier and the sky became darker and darker. They were clearly reluctant to suspend play again in case all 72 holes could not be completed by Sunday night. Most spectators had gone home anyway.
ROUND TWO COMPLETED ON SATURDAY MORNING OF THE VOLVO MASTERS
Round two finally finished at 13.40 on Saturday Morning under an overcast sky, but at least the rain held off. There was no wind at all. The course was in good condition despite the heavy overnight rain. The fairways were well drained and the greens were like darts. There were a large number of supporters following the leading pair.
Soren Kjelsen (Denmark) held his lead, completing at six under par lead against his partner Sergio Garcia (Spain) at four under. Other players in contention were Anthony Wall (England) at four under, Lee Westwood (England) at two under, Simon Dyson (England) at two under, and Darren Clarke (N. Ireland) at two under.
RAIN STOPS PLAY ON THE SECOND DAY OF THE VOLVO MASTERS
The heavy rain and strong winds were the main talking point on the second day of the tournament. Only three players had completed the course at 12.08 leaving 42 players on the course and 12 still in the dressing room. What a difference a year makes to last year’s champion Nick Rose first out (see below) who retired on the news of the death of his grandmother in South Africa.
In the last 12 hours, 46 litres of water per square metre fell in Valderrama. David Garland, Director of Operations of the European Tour explained the situation:
"The decision to suspend play for the day was taken at 15.10 this afternoon. We will begin again in the morning at 08.30 from where we left off. We need time in the morning to prepare the course depending on the damage that has been suffered overnight but we have every confidence because the maintenance team at Valderrama are really good. We have five hours left to play so if we begin at 08.30 we will finish about 13.30 and draw a new tee time, starting on two tees in groups of three. If all goes well we will only be short of a couple of hours to complete the third round. The forecast for tomorrow is rain and storms. We will do everything possible to play 72 holes and finish on Sunday. If we have to play on Monday, so be it. On previous occasions we have had to play only 54 holes.”
THE FIRST DAY AT VALDERRAMA
Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark leads the field after the first day of the 21st and final Volvo Masters coming in six under par. Perhaps the beautiful morning weather helped keep his spirits up. The same could not be said for Justin Rose, the invited defending champion first out and on his own recording a nine over par, who described his season in one word "disappointing". Tomorrow will be a lonely round.
The prize fund has been increased by a quarter-of-a-million Euros to a record 4,250,000-euro this year; the champion’s share goes up to an unprecedented 708,000 euro (was one million dollars) in the European Tour’s longest running sponsorship.
"The competition is especially interesting this year. We are proud to have in Valderrama all 12 members of the European Ryder Cup team." Per Ericsson, President of Volvo event Management explained before the tournament.
The Volvo Masters at Club de Golf Valderrama is one of the finest golf championships in the world where the top 60 players from the European Tour compete at the most 'spectator-friendly' course.
Entrance on the door is 35€ on the final day on Sunday 2nd November 2008. Take the A7 to cost road to Sotogrande at km 130 and follow signs to the public car park for a shuttle bus to the entrance.
Sergio García Interview
AC: Not long ago you were fighting to become number three. From this week forward, do you feel motivated to compete to become number two?
SG: Without a doubt, after winning the Players Championship (the fifth big one) and reaching a good position among the seven or eight greats in the world, it was clear that the gap between the third and second was a big one, but the gap between the seventh and the third was tiny. With a good game, it was possible to get there and that was one of the goals. I knew that if I played well, if I played at a good level, I could end the year as third in the world. Now that I'm here, I've got to keep looking up. I have three weeks left and need to try to play as well as possible, to continue this good streak and see - if I don't reach number two, then at least get as close as possible. I think that at present, due to Tiger's injury, we have a better opportunity than in other years to reach number one.
AC: And getting to number one is reachable or still unreachable?
SG: That depends on the time it takes Tiger to recover (laughs). Without a doubt, now it's closer than it was five or six months ago, but it's still far away. It's like when Rafa was second and Federer was way up there on top; it's not something that happens over night. We have to keep trying and keep playing well.
ANDALUCIA -- EUROPE'S WINTER GOLF HAVEN
Andalucia has become a Mecca for golfers over the past few decades due to its fine weather that makes it possible to play golf the whole year around. At present, the number of courses is around 100 and it is increasing every year. These courses range in complexity from simple 9-hole courses for the beginner to PGA-rated courses like Valderrama in the province of Cadiz.
In fact, when Valderrama was chosen to host the Ryder Cup in 1997, Andalucia received universal recognition as the finest winter golf resort in Europe. The flood of advance golf reservations that were made well into the 21st century led to a flurry of new golf courses being built.
2008 Volvo Masters Champion Will Be the Million-Dollar Man
With the prize fund for the 21st Volvo Masters increased by a quarter-of-a-million Euros to a record 4,250,000 euro, the champion’s share goes up to an unprecedented 708,000 euro making the winner the first million-dollar man in the long and colourful history of the European Tour’s longest running sponsorship.
Last year’s champion, Englishman Justin Rose clinched the European Order of Merit with what he described as, "The biggest victory of my career to date," banking 666,660 euro (approx. US$967,500) for his epic sudden-death play-off victory at Valderrama and said of the million-dollars on offer should he become the first man to successfully defend his Volvo Masters crown,
"There is something magical about the million-dollar mark, but more importantly, the Volvo Masters is a huge championship to win and I’d love to make history by successfully defending my crown."
Klas Magnusson, Acting Head Volvo Event Management (Golf) commented, "Volvo in golf has always been about a couple founding principles, namely that the prize money is entirely performance related and that Volvo-sponsored golf tournaments represent a unique fusion of quality, venue and event production, a world-class ambience, true sportsmanship and intense competition."
But Magnusson, who took over on an interim basis following the retirement of Mel Pyatt, who very successfully steered Volvo through two decade in golf, which saw Volvo become the biggest single sponsor of men’s professional golf in both Europe and Asia did admit that the Swedish brand’s golf portfolio was currently, ‘Under review.’
He explained, "Clearly, the Race to Dubai inaugurated from 2009 onwards changes the golf sponsorship landscape not only for Volvo but also, I believe for other blue-chip sponsors and Volvo Event Management is quite properly currently reviewing its golfing operations in light of this development," adding, "We are counting nothing in and nothing out and will be announcing the results of our deliberations later this year."
Andalucia Golf fans will be holding their breath, as this probably means that the 21st Volvo Masters to take place at Club de Golf Valderrama, Sotogrande from 30th October to 2nd November 2008 will be the last.
Peter Lawrie Wins the 2008 Spanish Open
According to official reports, Spaniards once again fuelled the main excitement at this year’s Spanish Open, only to see a foreigner – Ireland’s Peter Lawrie – take the prize at the end of the event.
During the first part of the open it looked like the battle was mainly between Spaniards Nacho Garrido and Miguel Angel Jimenez. Málaga’s Jimenez, however, knocked himself out of the upper echelons of the competition when he sent two balls into a lake at the tenth hole in a triple bogey.
From there, it was down to Garrido and Lawrie. After a two-hole play-off between the top two competitors, Lawrie managed to win his first victory on the European Circuit. As the champion said in statements to the press, “In the first hole of the play-off, I believed Ignacio would be the champion, but I made one of those rare putts. At the second hole of the play-off, I never believed Ignacio’s ball would go into the lake. It looked like a good shot. That’s when I knew I’d better make those two putts and that’s how it was. I’ve put a lot of effort and dedication into this sport and today I got my reward.”
Thomas Levet wins the 2008 MAPFRE Andalucia Golf Open
The 2008 MAPFRE Andalucian Golf Open, organized by Valle Romano and held on the Aloha Golf course handed its title over to Frenchman Thomas Levet and leaving the defending champion, Lee Westwood, in third place.
Thomas Levet is the winner of three previous European Open Tour victories at the Cannes Open in 1998, the British Masters in 2001 and the Scottish Open in 2004, a win that classified him for the Ryder’s Cup. Levet was back on the course and competing after problems with vertigo had kept him out of commission for one year and four months. In statements to the press, Levet repeatedly stressed that the Aloha course is one of his favourites and that he feels the course was “made for him”.
Englishman Oliver Fisher, just 19 years old, took second place in the Andalucian Golf Open and received praise even from the winner. “Oliver is a fantastic player,” said his opponent, Levet. “Without a doubt he could be the next Faldo, his game is incredible. He only needs more experience.”
BRITISH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN SPAIN
On Friday 7th March 2008, the British Chamber of Commerce in Spain held their Centenary Golf Tournament in Andalucía..
This unique event attracted over 70 players from a wide variety of local small and medium sized companies, and large corporations across all sectors such as Lloyds TSB Spain, Coutts, Irwin Mitchell, Survey Spain, Andalucia.com and KSi Costa Consulting Group.
The format was a shot-gun start with tee-off at 9:30am, which was followed by a luncheon, and the presentation of trophies and prizes. The Sovereign Group team won the first prize and returned with the trophy, four medals and 4 weekends with green-fees at La Manga club courtesy of MedGroup. Lloyds TSB were runner ups winning medals and a selection of Burberry products. Placed third were the Alanda Group team winning medals and a selection of Grey Goose products.
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