Belgium’s Adem Wahbi was the deserving winner of the European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA) Algarve Open 2017 at the weekend (November 24-25), supported by the Association of Algarve Tourism for a fourth consecutive year.
Adem earned the Gross trophy after a brilliant second round +1, 73, to follow his opening 76 at the excellent Pestana Vila Sol venue, in a championship played out on the tricky greens in warm and benign conditions. This challenging course welcomed EDGA’s largest field of the 14-tournament season with nearly 70 players (all pictured above).
Wahbi’s great form allowed him to stay clear of two Englishmen who tied for second place, George Groves and Kevin Harmison (77 and 78 respectively in their final rounds), the excellent Brendan Lawlor of Ireland in 4th spot (78 final round) and France’s Mathieu Cauneau in 5th (77). (Manuel de Los Santos of the Dominican Republic produced a second-day 76 to pull him up to 6th place.)
Daphne Van Houten of The Netherlands was the leading female player at Vila Sol; her second round 77 was in the five best scores of the day, and she was recognised with one of the loudest cheers on the night at the event’s gala dinner and prize giving attended by more than 100 players and friends. Here, as was the case all week, both the Association of Algarve Tourism (an EDGA Partner) and the team at Pestana Vila Sol offered a first-class welcome for all involved.
On the course in the Net category, Roland Mayer of Austria held off a strong challenge from France’s Mathieu Cauneau and Jon Anker Johanneson of Denmark (both tied 2nd) to win by a single shot. Roland’s consistent 70,71 proved just enough to beat Mathieu despite his strong final 70 and Jon Anker’s impressive 70,72 scoring. Norway’s Andre Toth earned the cheers for a high-quality chip-in from the bunker at the 18th green.
Hole-in-one for Miroslav
Huge congratulations for Miroslav Lidinsky from the Czech Republic for achieving his first hole-in-one on Hole 4 (with a 9-iron) during the second round, which created a real buzz around the course as the news came through.
England’s Aimi Bullock was leading woman in the Net category, her second round Net 71 boosting her up the leaderboard to tied-6th position.
In the Stableford category, Stanislav Jirasek of the Czech Republic showed his mental strength to tee off as leader in the second round and convert this chance into victory. France’s Cyril Blanchemain was in second place and Spain’s Carlos Alvarez Rodero finished in third.
Training courtesy of European Tour
During the week EDGA also provided a coaching session for physiotherapists and coaches from Portugal so that they can assist more people with a disability who would like to try the sport. The investment for this training was secured thanks to fundraising support from the European Tour during the Portugal Masters.
As a bonus for EDGA players on the practice day, world-renowned manufacturer PING, an EDGA Partner, supported preparations for the event. On the practice ground experts from the PING Tour team demonstrated latest equipment and assisted competitors with any questions about custom-fitting.
EDGA Tournament Manager Robert Moss said: “Congratulations to all our prizewinners across the categories in the EDGA Algarve Open 2017. I know the players present would like to thank their brilliant supporters and the teams from the Association of Algarve Tourism and Pestana Vila Sol for the warmest of welcomes. It has been a great week, with great golf and great camaraderie for all the Golfers First!
“It is also worth stressing that this tournament has been backed by the Association of Algarve Tourism in excellent style for a fourth time. The Association is known for its inclusive approach as it welcomes all golfers to its resorts and has been a great supporter of EDGA in recent years. A very happy result of this partnership is that many golfers with a disability love to return to the Algarve with friends and family and this reflects very well on the commitment and goodwill of Algarve Tourism, something which is much appreciated.”
EDGA is supported by The R&A, the European Tour, the Ryder Cup European Development Trust and 23 of Europe’s national Golf Federations, plus several valued Partners including PING and the Association of Algarve Tourism.
EDGA also continues to have positive relationships with groups including the European Golf Association (EGA) and the International Golf Federation (IGF) as it seeks to help golfers with a disability to reach their playing potential at the highest international level.