Aspiring tour professionals from around the world have delivered a chorus of approval for Portugal’s stunning Ribagolfe venue after the Club hosted the first stage of the European Tour Qualifying School for the sixth year in a row.
A high-class field of 99 players – drawn from 21 countries across Europe and locations as far afield as the USA, Canada, Australia and South Korea – was whittled down to the top 25 qualifiers after four rounds at the Ribagolfe I course, near Lisbon, Portugal.
Winner Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, a former European Tour player with a previous best finish of joint-fourth at the 2008 Open de Espana, finished top of the leaderboard with a score of 11-under-par, two shots clear of Portuguese native Tiago Cruz, American Jonathan Fly and Frenchman Sebastien Gros.
The top four and their 21 fellow qualifiers will now progress to the next stage of the qualifying process, at the end of which each could secure their playing privileges for the 2015 European Tour.
Regarded as the ‘Valderrama of Portugal’, the Ribagolfe I course, which is managed by ORIZONTE – Lisbon Golf, has hosted the first stage of the European Tour Qualifying School since 2009.
Working in close association with the European Tour since the spring, Ribagolfe head greenkeeper Martijn Huinink and his team produced a course in optimum condition, with greens running as fast as 10.5 on the stimpmeter.
Jose Maria Cazal Ribeiro, director of golf at Ribagolfe, said: “We’re delighted with how everything went this week – the golf course was in superb shape, the standard of golf was excellent, and the players all thoroughly enjoyed the event.
“There was a tremendous international flavour to this year’s tournament, so it is great to see such a wide range of players, from every corner of the globe, among our 25 qualifiers. We wish them luck for the next stage of the qualifying process, and we’re sure we’ll see some of them on the 2015 European Tour.”
Set in a unique and natural setting just 40 minutes from Lisbon and created out of a cork oak forest, Ribagolfe I was designed by Peter Townsend and European Golf Design and features superb, oversized greens and narrow landing areas for long and straight hitters.
A shorter test than its sibling but still measuring more than 6,800 yards and featuring the same indigenous cork oak canvas, Ribagolfe II was designed by former Ryder Cup player Michael King in conjunction with European Tour Design – and both courses at the impressive venue are available to play through the ORIZONTE Lisbon Golf Passport.
Launched earlier this year, ORIZONTE – Lisbon Golf offers the chance to play some of the leading courses in close proximity to Portugal’s capital together with exceptional value for money on a wide range of accommodation options across the region.
ORIZONTE – Lisbon Golf www.orizontegolf.com