European Ryder Cup ace Sergio Garcia is just one of the players to have used the Spanish Children’s Championship as a stepping stone to future stardom and Spain’s next generation of aspiring stars were treated to a five-star experience when the prestigious La Manga Club resort hosted the popular tournament this year.
Around 380 boys and girls from the ages of 10 and under to 14 gathered at the award-winning venue in Murcia for three days of fierce competition on its three 18-hole championship courses for the chance to be crowned as a national champion.
It was the seventh time in its history that La Manga Club has been chosen to stage the annual championship –world number nine Garcia finished second in 1993 – in a busy year that has seen Europe’s premier sports and leisure destination live up to its reputation as Spain’s flagship resort.
In addition to staging the 2014 Spanish International Amateur Seniors Championship and prestigious PGAs of Europe 1st La Manga Club International Pro-Am, the resort has also hosted other top events including the climax to the 2014 Ecco Tour Winter Series and 2014 Footballers’ Classic and opened a new Leadbetter Academy – the only such facility on mainland Spain – this spring.
Jose Asenjo, general manager of La Manga Club, said: “La Manga Club is very proud of its long association with such an important event on Spain’s golfing calendar.
“To be chosen to stage the championship for a seventh demonstrates the high regard that the resort is held in and the role it has to play in helping develop the country’s stars of the future.”
Competitors in the championship were divided into six different categories – boys and girls aged 13-14, 11-12 and 10 and under – with La Manga Club’s renowned South Course being used for the oldest age groups, the North Course for the 11 to 12-year-olds and the West Course for the youngest players.
Gonzalo Leal, who plays off a handicap of one, produced a fantastic final-day charge to overhaul long-time leader Eduard Rousard and claim a two-shot victory in the oldest boys’ category played, with Rachel Castellon Montanes winning the girls’ equivalent event by an impressive five strokes.
Luis Montojo and Martina Muñoz earmarked themselves as potential stars of the future by taking victory in the 11-12 age groups, also played over 54 holes, while Ángel Ayora and Natalia Herrera were the winners in the youngest age categories.
Set in an area three times the size of Monaco, La Manga Club boasts a proud sporting history including featuring South African star Gary Player as the resort’s first director of golf and European Tour legend Severiano Ballesteros as the complex’s touring professional between 1980-85.
Garcia’s Ryder Cup teammate Luke Donald cut his golfing teeth at the resort during his school holidays on his way to becoming world number one while the award-winning venue is the official overseas training base of the Lawn Tennis Association.
In addition, La Manga Club offers the ideal place for budding sports stars of the future to hone their skills with a wide selection of academies for boys and girls of all ages including golf, tennis, cricket, rugby, athletics, football and dance, and a range of fun-packed activities in its junior club.
La Manga Club features unrivalled facilities as a sports and leisure destination and, as well as its golf courses, includes a 28-court tennis centre and a 2,000sqm spa and fitness centre. It also offers the choice of a five-star hotel, four-star serviced apartments and townhouses and more than 20 bars and restaurants.
La Manga Club www.lamangaclub.com.
Spanish Children’s Championship website
To download images of the event and the winners, please go to http://goo.gl/KD2uWT