Now in its fourth year, the Golfbreaks.com Pro-Am series once again proved highly successful with 168 players from eight countries across Europe competing in back-to-back events in the golfing hotbed of Andalucia in southern Spain.
An impressive 42 teams entered the two tournaments – played in consecutive weeks in February – with each group playing two rounds at the highly-ranked La Reserva course – now a European Tour venue – before 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 Cirencester GC Pro Edward Goodwin claim individual honours after rounds of 71-76-75, for a 7-over-par total of 222. The Englishman was a massive eight shots clear of his nearest rival, Italy’s Igor Fantini, who held off the challenge of fellow countrymen Lorenzo Magini and Luca Maddedu to secure second place.
The team event was won by German-based Pro Graham Aspinall, whose team of Hannes Wolf, Manfred Prami and Gunther Schwanke managed a total of 232 to win by two strokes.
A week later it was another English Pro – Matthew Cort from Rothley Park – who scooped top spot as the only man under par. Thanks to the lowest round of the final day at Valderrama, a battling 71, Matt secured a two-shot win over last year’s champion Garry Houston, who finished at +1.
The result capped a fine month for Cort who was also victorious in the recent Golfbreaks.com Four-ball Championship, also held in Spain.
The team event saw two English foursomes – the teams of Pro’s David Osborn and Steven Priest – share the lead after both finished with a total of 216 points. Osborn’s team of Peter Oakes, Jimmy Sweetzer and Steve Done was then crowned the winner on countback.
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, with 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, Adam Ward, commented: “This has been the best Pro-Am series yet, with superb golf being played at two of Andalucia’s finest courses. Thanks to the thoroughly professional officiating of The PGA and the invaluable support of our partner, the Andalucia Tourist Board we’ve all enjoyed a memorable time here in Spain. These events are also a fitting way to honour our former colleague Jim Long, who sadly passed away over Christmas. His passion for the game and standing as a long-time PGA member helped to make these events the success they now are.”
Manuel Ortega Garcia from Andalucia Tourist Board was equally enthused: “We are very proud to have hosted the 2015 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 2016!”
The 2016 Pro-Ams are already scheduled for next February, with two of Andalucia’s leading venues, La Reserva and Valderrama, again featuring, along with European Tour course Finca Cortesin.
The Golfbreaks.com USA Pro-Am, meanwhile, will once again return to Pinehurst in March 2016. Details will be announced shortly, see Golfbreaks.com/pga-pro for more.