GOLF NEWS 2014
ITALIAN MARCO CRESPI WINS NH COLLECTION OPEN IN SOTOGRANDE
• Jordi García Pinto, second thanks to a 66 shot final day round.
• Adrián Otaegui finished sixth with -6.
• With his vistory at La Reserva de Sotogrande, Marco Crespi (-10) becomes the oldest winner of this years European tour.
The NH Collection Open at La Reserva de Sotogrande golf club enjoyed a brilliant final day in which the young player Jordi García Pinto shone out as much as the Andalucian sun. Only 24 years old the Catalan from Girona fought one to one against much more experienced players for the trophy. With a 66 shot round one performance including two birdies and a bogey and a round two with five birdies he was elevated to second place, two shots behind the winner, the Italian Marco Crespi.
The Italians victory was one of perseverance. Marco Crespi, 35 yrs was playing his first European Tour circuit after 11 yrs as a pro. His best result up to now was fourth place in South Africa.
Marco, who began to play at 13 yrs old, because his father was a caddie at Milan Golf Club, dominated the greens of La Reserva de Sotogrande and this was why he won. He dedicated the triumph to his wife and daughter.
"I started very well today. I birdied the first and that gave me the confidence to go low and that's it. I just had to manage my pressure on the back nine. Felipe was very close but he made a couple of mistakes so he made it easier for me.
"I lost a couple of shots on 12 and 13. On 12 I hit a very bad 8 iron to the green, my only bad shot of the day. On 13 I had a very long iron, a 3 iron and it wasn't a really bad shot. But then I birdied the next. I really like the 14th because I birdied it every day. Anyway, I played very good and I am very happy.
"The second day was the hardest, it was a long day and very windy. We played 27 holes and I played well with the wind. Yesterday was easier and I made 10 birdies.
"Putting has been the key this week. The greens were perfect, I felt very confident and the ball rolled beautifully.
"I started to play golf when I was 13. My father worked as a caddie at the Milan Golf Club where I practice. My brother turned pro 15 years before me, and my main objective was to follow his steps.
"I am 35, this is my 11th year as a professional and my first on the European Tour. I have been waiting a long time for this moment and I would like to dedicate my win to my wife Elena and to Carlotta, our two-year-old daughter."
Felipe Aguilar was his biggest rival up to the 13th hole. Three consecutive bogeys by the Chilean in the 13, 14 and 15, and one more in the 17 left him out of the running.
Jordi García Pinto, 4th round 66 (-6) Total 280 (-8) stated: "Today I putted great, but my driving was quite erratic. I have been working hard all winter. I spend 8 hours on the golf course, working on all aspects of the game and the results are starting to show.
"I came without expectations and things have turned out nicely. 66 is a great score to finish the tournament but we have a long season ahead. I learned that last year when I won in Kenya, I must go on working and trying to score consistently week after week."
Ramón Luengo, director general de Sotogrande S.A., y José María López-Elola, presidente de La Reserva de Sotogrande Club de Golf, presented the trophies to the winner Marco Crespi, in the presence of Juan Carlos Ruiz Boix, mayor of San Roque and José María Zamora, tournament director on behalf of the European Circuit.
Watch more videos of the tournament courtesy of Quanvision:
FIFTEEN SPANIARDS WITH HIGH HOPES FOR THE NH COLLECTION OPEN
* Pro-Am held tomorrow at La Reserva de Sotogrande
Sotogrande, San Roque (Cádiz), Tuesday 1st April, 2014
The NH Collection Open is warming up in preparation for big things this Thursday. There was intense activity at La Reserva today where the second day of training took place. Fifteen Spanish golfers are competing for a title that could turn the whole season around. The winner will secure a place on the European Tour for one year.
The fifteen Spaniards are: Alejandro Cañizares, Eduardo de la Riva, Jorge Campillo, Adrián Otaegui, Nacho Elvira, Carlos del Moral, José Manuel Lara, Jesús Legarrea, Carlos Aguilar, Álvaro Velasco, Jordi García del Moral, Jordi García Pinto, Agustín Domingo, Pedro Oriol y Santi Luna.
Spanish golfers´ statements:
Nacho Elvira: “I’m quite happy with European Tour debut, I played ten tournaments and made five cuts, so 50%, not a bad start. The main difference between the European and Challenge Tour is that the courses are set up differently. I look forward to this week, I’m playing nicely and feel confident. Hopefully I can keep it up, but you can never tell with this game. I don’t know the course as I have never played in this area. Today I played the back nine and I will play the full course tomorrow in the pro-am”.
Eduardo de la Riva: "Today I played nine holes and I enjoyed the course. I played here 8 or 9 years ago and I remembered the holes as I played them. I played more tournaments this year and made some changes which are starting to work. I am feeling more comfortable, my confidence is growing and hopefully the scores will reflect this”.
Carlos del Moral: “Coming from the Qualifying School you learn how to hold your score together and keep calm under pressure. Moving to the south of Spain has improved the quality of my practice. Here I have more good courses, my coach, José Carlos Gutiérrez, lives closer and obviously my girlfriend, who is Swedish, loves this”.
Pedro Oriol: “I’m very pleased with my start of the season, a bit disappointed that I didn’t win in Kenya but I can’t complain. I have been playing great recently, and the course suits my game. The course is in top condition, yesterday the greens were real fast but today they have slowed them down a bit, probably in case the wind steps up”.
Jorge Campillo: “I had a strong start this season, twice second and five top 25. I’m driving well but missing my irons to the left. I need to sort things out with my José Carlos, my coach, before Thursday. In golf you never know, hopefully I will start hitting them straight and post a great score. The course is good, I think they made a great job with the layout, it will certainly suit me if I play well”.
SOTOGRANDE HITS THE HEADLINES WITH THE NH COLLECTION OPEN
Excitement at La Reserva de Sotogrande during the first practice round. Around 100 journalists will cover an event with a worldwide potential audience of 400 million.
Sotogrande, San Roque (Cádiz) Monday March 31 2014
All is set at La Reserva de Sotogrande for this week’s NH Collection Open starting on Thursday. Amongst the players seen taking their first practice round are Shane Lowry, Simon Dyson, Johan Edfords or Peter Lawrie, as well as Spaniards Alejandro Cañizares, Carlos del Moral and Jordi García del Moral - which have played 9 holes together- Álvaro Velasco, Jorge Campillo or José Manuel Lara.
The new dual-ranking event – which counts towards both The European Tour’s Race to Dubai and the European Challenge Tour Rankings - has been warmly welcomed by the Spanish golfing community, particularly in this southern Spanish resort which will benefit immensely from the wide international media coverage of the NH Collection Open. “The new event will showcase the wonderful Sotogrande tourist offer, which includes prestigious top quality golf courses as well as a marina, equestrian sports, tennis clubs and wonderful places to visit” affirms Ramón Luengo, Director General of Sotogrande S.A.
The venue of the NH Collection Open faces the future with optimism. “Things are improving, our real estate sales have increased 25% and we are convinced that the trend is bound to continue. This tournament will be a big boost at the right moment, just before Easter” adds Luengo.
Around one hundred journalists have registered for the event, both from de general and the specialized international and local media. A Tour Productions team, present at La Reserva de Sotogrande, will produce a highlights programme featuring key moments, players’ interviews, prize giving, general images etc.
This programme, as well as the European Tour Weekly preview, will be broadcast through various TV channels with a worldwide potential audience of 400 million. Images of the event will be seen in Australia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Holland, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom, and USA amongst other countries. In Spain they will be broadcast through Canal + Golf and Canal Sur.
QUALITY FIELD AT THE NH COLLECTION OPEN
44 European Tour winners with 89 titles and three Ryder Cups between them will meet at La Reserva de Sotogrande Club de Golf from April 3-6.
All is ready at La Reserva de Sotogrande to welcome the participants of the new dual-ranking event featuring 44 European Tour winners, the most prolific being Simon Dyson, Niclas Fasth and Thomas Levet with six victories each. In addition to three World Cup titles: Bradley Dredge, Marcel Siem and Marc Warren, and three Ryder Cup wins: Niclas Fasth (2002), Thomas Levet (2004), and Phillip Price (2002).
Some of them have great memories of winning in Spain, such as Niclas Fasth (2006 Open de España and Mallorca Classic), Peter Lawrie (2008 Open de España), Thomas Levet (2008 Open de Andalucía and 2009 Open de España); Michael Jonzon (2009 Castelló Masters) or Lee Slattery (2011 Madrid Masters).
Some of the players will arrive in superb form after a successful start of the season, like home favourite Alejandro Cañizares, the newest Tour winner (Trophée Hasan II) or David Horsey who posted three top ten in his last three appearances: 3rd at the Africa Open, 10th at the Joburg Open and 8th at the Trophée Hasan II, tied with fellow Englishman Tom Lewis.
Lewis made a strong professional debut winning the 2011 Portugal Masters in only his third start. Hit the headlines at the 2011 Open Championship by posting a five-under-par 65, the lowest single-round score ever by an amateur, to share the first day lead at Royal St. Georges en route to winning the Silver Medal. After finishing tied eighth in Morocco he declared: “I Love going to Spain, lots of good golf courses in that area. Played La Reserva as an amateur, love the course, suits me, if I continue to play like in Morocco, will not be far away”.
Other players to watch closely next week will be Robert Rock, 5th at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic where Bernd Wiesberger was 9th; Oliver Fisher who lost in a playoff at the Africa Open where Damien McGrane was 9th; Carlos del Moral, 4th at the Tshwane Open where Chris Wood was 6th and Simon Dyson 10th; or Jake Roos, recent winner of the Kenia Open, the first Challenge Tour event of the season.
The list of European Tour winners present at La Reserva de Sotogrande also includes Felipe Aguilar, Rhys Davies, Johan Edfords, Richard Finch, Alastair Forsyth, Mark Foster, Tano Goya, Mathias Grönberg, Anders Hansen, Gregory Havret, Jeppe Huldhal, Scott Jamieson, Simon Khan, Maarten Lafeber, Shane Lowry, Mikael Lundberg, James Morrison, John Parry, Richie Ramsay, Ricardo Santos, Patrik Sjöland, Graeme Storm, Simon Thornton and Anthony Wall.
Alejandro Cañizares ready to lead the home charge at the NH Collection Open
Alejandro Cañizares, the latest European Tour winner, has confirmed his presence at the NH Collection Open. After his dominating wire-to-wire performance in Morocco, the Spaniard will lead the home charge at La Reserva de Sotogrande where he arrives as favourite, brimming with confidence and with a good knowledge of the Cabell Robinson track.
Alejandro Cañizares: “La Reserva de Sotogrande is a course I know well. In 2008 I played the Spanish Championship and sometimes I practice there with my father. It is a longish course, fairly generous off the tee with quite a few elevation changes and undulated greens. Some holes are long; the sixth, for instance, is a three-wood par three. Wind is a big factor and it can really toughen up the course.
“The NH Collection Open is a very important event in this area. It may start modestly, but there is big room for growth, and hopefully more tournaments will return to Spain and boost Spanish golf. It was a shame to lose the Valderrama events which were so popular - the final between Sergio García and Miguel Ángel Jiménez (2011 Andalucía Masters) was the best tourist draw to the Costa del Sol as golf destination.
“When I turned pro in 2006, my dream was to win on the European Tour and I fulfilled it straight away at the Russian Open. I was only my third invite and I felt on top of the world, but it probably came too soon. It’s been nearly eight years of learning experience between my two victories, mainly building up confidence. I knew I had the game in me, but I had to learn to believe in myself. I have been working on it step by step all these years and watching the top players. When I had the opportunity of playing with them I realised that the big difference was not so much in their game as in their attitude. Attitude and self-belief are key.
“I have learnt a lot from players like Martin Kaymer, Tiger Woods or Henrik Stenson. Playing with Martin it was very obvious that in his game, solid as it is, attitude is more important than perfection.
“I played with Woods and Stenson in Turkey on Sunday. Although Tiger didn’t have a good day, he stayed focused and managed to shoot five under. He was really struggling off the tee, but he believed in himself and he had the right attitude.
“Ian Poulter is another player that I look up to and try to learn from. When he is on his game you can feel that he is hungry for victory, and that motivation makes him unstoppable. That, for me, is the right attitude every time you tee it up.
“I try to learn from all my fellow players. My father is my best example of perseverance and self-improvement. When he turned 50 he went alone to compete in America and he used to spend three months away from home. It must have been hard, but he never lost his motivation and he was very successful, usually among the top 10 in the rankings. I admired him.
“Another great example for all of us is José María Olazábal, one of the greats now close to 50, who keeps his love for the game and his desire to compete. His attitude is incredible; he works on his game like the first day, both on the range and in the gym.
“As for me, it’s hard to describe oneself as a player. I consider myself tenacious, hard-working and pretty solid from tee to green. I don’t usually make big mistakes and I feel comfortable around the greens but sometimes I need a bit more confidence with my putter. I also lack some distance and that’s something I want to improve.
“I played very well in Morocco. Actually my confidence was really low coming into the tournament. I wasn’t hitting the ball well I wasn’t putting well and I was a little nervous about my golf, but I had a great session with my coach on Tuesday and spent an hour with Phil Kenyon on the putting green and that helped a lot. After that, the confidence started growing, the putts went in and the swing is there. It felt as if it was far away but it took five minutes to fix it. Thursday was one of the best golfing days of my career. On Sunday, following the tradition, I invited all the Spaniards to dinner and we had a great time.
“Right now I feel I’m in the best position to move forward and try to break into the world’s top 50 - that’s my next goal. In order to get there I need to achieve smaller objectives: I want to put myself in contention week after week and to finish consistently in the top 10. If I manage to stay grounded, keep my focus and try my best on every shot, the higher objectives will take care of themselves.”
Free entrance to a spectacular week of golf at the NH Collection Open
• Course architect Cabell B. Robinson, "La Reserva de Sotogrande is one of my favourite designs".
• American Robinson, settled in Spain 44 years ago, is the author of a number of renowned projects in the US, France, Italy, Morocco, Switzerland, Cyprus and Spain, mostly along the Andalucía coast.
All golf fans will be welcome to enjoy the NH Collection Open at La Reserva de Sotogrande from April 3-6. This new dual-ranking event split equally between the European and Challenge Tour categories, will open its doors to all willing to watch both seasoned veterans and upcoming young talents compete on the highly acclaimed Cabell B. Robinson layout.
Although increasingly popular with amateurs since its opening in 2003, this exciting new tournament will mark the debut of La Reserva de Sotogrande as European Tour venue. Its architect and designer Cabell B. Robinson is happy to see yet another of his designs hosting an international professional event, as did Finca Cortesín, who played host to three editions of the Volvo World Match-Play Championship.
Cabell B. Robinson: "It makes me very happy that the NH Collection Open is taking place at a golf course designed by me. I am so proud of La Reserva de Sotogrande, one of my favourite designs. Most of the best courses in Spain are located in that part of Andalucía and this new event will bring very good publicity for the area, it's good to show the world the quality of the golf courses available in Spain.
"I came to Spain in 1970. Started working for Robert Trent Jones in 1967 but after three years I told him: "I really like working for you but I want to move". I did not enjoy at all living in New Jersey. He asked me to open his office in Europe to which I responded "no!" and he said: "Why, have you ever been to Europe? No, you haven't. So, don't give me a stupid answer and go!"
"At that time, Trent Jones had already done RCG Sotogrande and Las Brisas and was working at Las Aves (known as Valderrama), where I was involved. I ended up opening the office in Fuengirola (Málaga), which Mr. Jones could never pronounce and used to call "Funny Gorilla". I worked in all his projects in Europe until I went on my own in 1987.
"La Reserva de Sotogrande's master plan was done by Almenara designer Dave Thomas, but not by me. I came in later and thought the land was fantastic on my first impression; the Southwest corner of Spain is a lovely part of the country with beautiful trees.
"From the plan I was given showing the guidelines I thought the course could be a bit tight in some areas, so I asked whether we could have a bit more of land which they provided me with. I was able to change the limits in some holes and the course looked much better. The fairways are generous and greens about average size: 600 square meters, moderately contoured. I am very pleased with the result and very grateful to Sotogrande, they let me work as I wanted; no one was looking over my shoulder.
"I came for a few years but have spent 44 in this country! I love Spain: the villages, the people, the food... Chuletones and fabada are my favourite. I know the country quite well, enjoy travelling around and have stayed in most of the Paradores, which are fantastic. Maybe I should not be mentioning Paradores as the new event is sponsored by NH Hotel Group, but I must say they are different and two great hotel chains. Spanish hotels have very good reputation.
"Financially, Spain has suffered and has had tremendous difficulties in the last years, although I think we have reached bottom and the country is coming out of it. Money was too easy to make during some years, just look at some stupid projects, giant buildings, empty airports...
"As for me, I do not have a mobile phone, people don't believe me but I've managed without it. I love what I do. I have lost count of the courses I have designed. I enjoy working on site with the bulldozers, the machinery... don't like to work on paper, that's not for me. Golf courses should be designed modelling the land".
NEW DUAL-RANKING TOURNAMENT ANNOUNCED
The €600,000 event will be dual-ranking, meaning the field will comprise players from The European Tour and the Challenge Tour, and prize money will count towards The Race to Dubai, the Challenge Tour Rankings and Ryder Cup qualification. It will be The European Tour’s first visit to the Andalucía venue, which opened in 2004 and has since become one of the most prestigious courses in the Costa del Sol region.Spain has long been a strong partner of The European Tour, and following some tough economic challenges in recent years, the arrival of a new event is an extremely positive sign. The field will consist of 144 professionals, with four places being allocated to sponsors’ invitations, four to Spanish professionals and the balance of the field split equally between The European and Challenge Tour categories.
For the purposes of the Challenge Tour Rankings only, the prize fund will be capped at €450,000.
Ramón Luengo, Managing Director of Sotogrande SA, said: “We, NH Hotel Group and Sotogrande SA, have made a very big effort to attract The European Tour back to Sotogrande, where we would like the event to stay as a permanent date in the schedule. "Hosting such a big event will be a challenge for La Reserva de Sotogrande. We are very confident that the spectacular course design will fulfil the players' and the spectators' expectations."
Keith Waters, Chief Operating Officer and Director of International Policy at The European Tour, said: "We are delighted to announce this new tournament in southern Europe, and hope this is a sign of recovery after a difficult time economically in this region.It will give our Members another opportunity to play, and for Challenge Tour Members the NH Collection Open is a great chance to earn instant promotion to The European Tour. La Reserva de Sotogrande is a superb Cabell Robinson design located in the iconic golfing region of Andalucía, and I'm sure the players will enjoy the tournament. Our thanks go to NH Hotel Group, Sotogrande SA and the members of La Reserva de Sotogrande for their support."
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