Now in its third year, the Golfbreaks.com Pro-Am series once again proved a great success with 164 players from eight countries across Europe competing in back-to-back events in the golfing hotbed of Andalucia in southern Spain.
No less than 41 teams entered the two tournaments – played in consecutive weeks in early February – with each group playing the majestic La Reserva course – now a European Tour venue –the challenging Almenara layout on day two and then a closing 18 holes at the legendary Ryder Cup host, Valderrama.
Each event featured an individual strokeplay competition for Pro’s, as well as a team event in which the best two of four stableford scores counted towards a team total.
The first event saw European Seniors Tour player Peter Dahlberg claim individual honours after rounds of 71-72-73, for a one-over total of 216. The Swede was three clear of Scotland’s Craig Sutherland, with defending champion David Cranage from the Menzies Welcombe a further shot back in third.
It wasn’t all bad for Cranage, though, as his team of David Ross, Mark Lester and Steve Barnes took the team event. Dahlberg and Cranage were again the form players, having last year also won both the team and individual competitions.
A week later, Welsh Pro Garry Houston – from De Vere Carden Park – turned in an even more impressive performance, shooting 67-70-70 to post an amazing target of -8. He was the only player under par and carded just six bogeys in his three rounds, eventually winning by nine strokes.
Houston almost managed the double, losing out in the team event to Southport Old Links Pro Gary Copeman’s Swiss team of Stefano Biagnasca, TeresitaBiagnasca& Mark Robinson in a close-fought contest.
Both individual winners claimed a first prize of more than £1,000, with the remainder of the £20,000 prize fund being allocated to the rest of the field. Amateur team winners were looked after by the event co-sponsor, each receiving Golfbidder vouchers, as well as a variety of gifts from the Andalucia Tourist Board.
After a prize-giving lunch in the exclusive members’ area at Valderrama, Golfbreaks.com Director of Golf Pro Relations, Jim Long, commented: “It’s been a marvellous two weeks with some great golf, great times and great courses being enjoyed by everybody. The competition has been superb throughout, made all the better by the officiating of The PGA and the support of our host clubs, our partner Andalucia and our co-sponsor Golfbidder.”
Manuel Ortega Garcia from Andalucia Tourist Board was equally enthused: “We are very proud to have hosted the 3rd & 4th Golfbreaks.com Pro-Ams in Andalucia and pay tribute to everyone who has taken part. The golfers have battled hard to win but we hope they have also enjoyed their experiences in one of Europe’s premier golf destinations. Andalucia is home to Spain’s heaviest concentration of world-class golf courses and we thank Golfbreaks.com for their support and commitment to the region. Roll on 2015!”
The 2015 Pro-Ams are already scheduled for next February, with two of Andalucia’s leading venues, La Reserva and Valderrama, again featuring. Details will be announced shortly, see Golfbreaks.com/pga-pro for more.