Europe’s leading golf destination, the Algarve, is celebrating after hosting a feast of superb golf from some of the world’s finest disabled golfers at its annual international disability golf tournament.
Nearly 50 golfers from 13 countries descended upon the charming region for the second European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA) Algarve Open, held at Pestana Vila Sol, which saw Manuel de Los Santos crowned champion after an exciting two-hole play-off against Frenchman Mathieu Cauneau.
The 31-year-old Dominican, who has become an iconic figure over the years, also clinched the 2015 EDGA Premier Series Order of Merit.
The event was a fitting climax to the Algarve Tourism Association’s (ATA) 2015 ‘Golf4All’ project, which showcases the region as a fully-inclusive tourism destination for golfers and non-golfers alike.
The all-inclusive ‘Golf4all’ philosophy welcomes beginners, juniors, men, women and senior golfers, and aims to highlight to each why the Algarve is one of Europe’s most popular and friendly destinations.
The ‘Golf4All’ sentiment was displayed in all its glory during the inaugural EDGA Handi-Junior golf event at Oceanico Laguna. The tournament saw disabled golfers partner with local junior players to compete for the Chris Stilwell Cup, named in honour of the Algarve golf legend who sadly passed away in October, having spent 35 years dedicated to developing golf and golf tourism in the Algarve.
EDGA president Tony Bennett said: “The Algarve Open has quickly become the highlight of the EDGA calendar. The event brings down the curtain on the season and is very well regarded by all the players. To have the support of the Algarve Tourism Bureau is terrific and we certainly wouldn’t be able to have such a high-profile event without its fantastic cooperation and collaboration.
“EDGA is also very proud to have worked alongside ATA on the development of the Handi-Junior event at Oceanico Laguna. As a long-time resident of Portugal, I understand the importance of the Stilwell family name.”
Maria Manuel Delgado e Silva, ATA golf product manager, added: “It was our distinct pleasure and a great honour to host EDGA’s end-of-season tournament for the second time.
“The tournament was a roaring success and it is clear the sport of disabled golf is going from strength to strength. While it’s big-name athletes who make front-page news, disabled sportspeople train just as hard and often go unnoticed. EDGA athletes are golfers of the highest calibre and truly inspirational people.
“Our ‘Golf4All’ project is dedicated to bridging the divisions in golf by promoting it as sporting pursuit suitable for everyone, regardless of age, gender, skill or impairment.
“The Algarve is Europe’s number-one golf destination because of the dedication, passion and commitment of our golf tourism partners to the perfect golfing experience. We’re extremely proud to promote this through our ‘Golf4All’ project.”
The Algarve’s enviable climate boasts more than 300 days of sunshine per year, extending the golf season by several months and driving players from all over the world to the region. It will be celebrating its 50th anniversary as a golf destination in 2016.
Algarve Golf www.visitgolfalgarve.com
European Disabled Golf Association http://www.edgagolf.com/