The European Senior Tour will return to Portugal for the first time since 2011 when Vidago Palace hosts the Senior Open de Portugal, from September 12-14.
The luxurious hotel and golf resort, situated north of Porto, re-opened in 2010 on the centenary of its inauguration in 1910.
It will now host a Senior Tour event for the first time following an agreement with Porto and the Northern Portugal Tourism Board (Associação do Turismo do Porto), with the field competing for a prize fund of €225,000.
The Senior Open de Portugal last featured on the Senior Tour schedule three years ago, when Welshman Mark Mouland triumphed at Belas Clube de Campo, near Lisbon, with former World Number One Ian Woosnam among those in contention during the final round.
In total, the Senior Tour has visited Portugal eight times, while the Senior Tour Qualifying School has been played on the Algarve since 2001.
Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Senior Tour, said: “The European Senior Tour has an excellent, long-standing relationship with Portugal, established over many years through various regular tournaments as well as our annual Qualifying School, so we are delighted to return with this exciting event.
“This is the first time we have held an event in the northern region of Portugal and we are sure the magnificent Vidago Palace will prove a hugely popular venue with our players and staff, as well as the spectators.
“We would like to express our gratitude to Porto and Northern Portugal Tourism Board (Associação do Turismo do Porto – ATP) for their significant support, while this tournament would not have happened without the ambition and drive of the people at Vidago Palace.”
Helena Gonçalves, Associação do Turismo do Porto Executive Director, said: “An initiative like this has never been properly established in this region before. The Tourism Board will do its utmost to promote this event, as the success of this tournament will help showcase Porto and north Portugal as a perfect golf destination in Portugal, exploring the very best we have to offer. This includes four World Heritages Sites by UNESCO, historical cities, rivers, the ocean, mountains, a perfect blend of old and new, authentic traditions and genuine people, the home of Port Wine, excellent gastronomy and wines, safety and security, traditional and cool shopping, culture at its best, and absolute value for money.”
Vidago Palace’s Golf Director, Alexandre Barroso, said: “Two years ago a small group of hotels, five 18’s Holes Golf Courses and a service company joined together, with the support of Tourism Board of Porto and North, to showcase this region internationally, and this tournament is another major step forward for us.”
“The Senior Open de Portugal will help accelerate this process, and at the same time will give the Vidago Palace the opportunity to put itself among the best golf resorts in Europe. The major works we undertook from 2006 to 2010, which saw a total reconstruction of the hotel and golf course, placed Vidago Palace as a unique Resort. I like to say now that it is a new hotel with more than 100 years of history.”
The 6,899 yard, par 72 course at Vidago Palace was built in 1936 and originally designed by MacKenzie Ross before undergoing a redesign from golf architecture firm Cameron & Powell in 2010.
A key feature of the course is the use throughout of the local pink granite stone walling, built using redundant and disused field walls from the area which have were salvaged for the project.
In addition to the 2011 Belas Clube de Campo Senior Open de Portugal, the country has also hosted the Daily Telegraph European Seniors Match Play Championship in 2001 and 2002, the Senior Tour Championship from 2002-2004, the Senior Open of Portugal in 2005 and 2006, and the 2008 Azores Senior Open.
Vidago Palace www.vidagopalacegolf.com
European Senior Tour www.europeantour.com/seniortour