Pedro Figueiredo and Ricardo Gouveia will join forces to represent the home team Portugal at GolfSixes Cascais, and the two childhood friends are urging the fans to get behind them on their quest for glory.
As host nation, Portugal received a Wildcard invitation to play in GolfSixes Cascais, which marks the first time the innovative six-hole shootout event takes place in continental Europe following two hugely successful editions in England.
Figueiredo, who claimed his maiden Challenge Tour title at last year’s KPMG Trophy en route to European Tour graduation for the 2019 season, and 2015 Challenge Tour Number One Gouveia are two of the country’s most promising golf stars and also happen to be best friends.
The duo will be hoping to get the home fans pumped up when the event is played at Oitavos Dunes in Cascais from June 7-8.
Figueiredo, who enjoyed a glittering amateur career with multiple victories in both Europe and the USA, said: “I am so excited about the GolfSixes in Cascais, which is really close to Lisbon where I grew up and still live.
“It is a fun event which has been really popular with the players and fans in its first two years, so I have no doubt the Portuguese golf fans will enjoy it. Hopefully Ricardo and I can put on a good show for the supporters and this tournament can encourage young people top take up the game of golf.”
Gouveia, who in 2016 became the highest-ranked Portuguese player in the history of the Official World Ranking, said: “I am really looking forward to playing alongside Pedro for the GolfSixes Cascais. It will be the first time we play together as professionals and I’m sure it will bring back great memories of our amateur days.
“I was lucky enough to play the GolfSixes last year in England and it was such a fun week. I think it is really positive for Portuguese golf that our country is hosting such an innovative and inclusive event which features females playing alongside the male teams. It will be a great tournament and I hope the home fans come out in force.”
The innovative event, in which teams compete over six holes in greensomes match play format, broke new ground last year when it introduced two all-female teams and a mixed Captains team featuring 2018 Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjørn and 2019 Solheim Cup Captain Catriona Matthew.
This year, an exciting new era dawns for the GolfSixes when it moves to the Portuguese seaside resort of Cascais and Oitavos Dunes Golf Club for the third edition.
It will be the first time the tournament will be held outside of the United Kingdom, and it will be hosted in partnership with the Municipality of Cascais and Event/Media agency U.COM – which stages the annual Millennium Estoril Open, an ATP Tennis Championship, in the same region.
The event will follow the same ground-breaking format as the 2018 GolfSixes, with four ‘Wildcard Teams’ – featuring stars of male and female golf – joining 12 other two-man teams of European Tour players representing their home nations.
The exciting two-day tournament will also be played over a Friday and Saturday for the first time. With the UEFA Nations League Final and Third-place play-off taking place in Portugal on Sunday June 9, an exciting weekend is in store for Portuguese sports fans and tourists alike.
The GolfSixes format has not only proven a huge success on the European Tour – with The 2018 Ryder Cup also featuring the concept as part of its build-up at Le Golf National – but it has also been adopted across the grassroots of golf.
The Golf Foundation, a registered charity with the aim of bringing golf to young people, has – in association with the European Tour, the R&A, England Golf, Wales Golf and Scottish Golf – launched a GolfSixes League throughout Britain for juniors.
Since May, 24 leagues have been staged across 22 UK regions, involving 112 golf clubs and nearly 1,500 junior golfers. Early results showed that nearly 30% of participants have been girls. The GolfSixes concept has also been rolled out in Belgium, Denmark, France and the Netherlands.
Oitavos Dunes is currently ranked 55th in Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Golf Courses in the World and is listed as Portugal’s Number One golf course.
It has hosted the Open de Portugal on four occasions, first in 2005 when Paul Broadhurst emerged victorious, and then in three years in succession in 2007, 2008 and 2009, won by Pablo Martin Benavides, Grégory Bourdy and Michael Hoey respectively.
European Tour www.europeantour.com
Oitavos Dunes Golf Club https://oitavosdunes.com/
Pictured top: Pedro Figueiredo and Ricardo Gouveia (Team Portugal)