It’s Beko ‘King’ Cole After Play-Off
Robert Coles, multiple winner on the European Challenge Tour, added his name to the Beko Classic’s role of honour by finally seeing off his two most spirited challengers with a birdie at the first hole of a sudden-death play-off on the PGA-branded Sultan course, Antalya, Turkey.
After 54 holes in The PGAs of Europe-endorsed tournament, Coles (66:71:69) was level on eight-under-par 206 alongside a past champion in Liam Bond (68:69:69), who chipped in on the 18th, and Marco Ruiz who shot 72 on Day 1 but then forced himself into the three-man play-off with two successive 67s.
By the end of the three rounds the field had confirmed its billing as the tournament’s strongest in-depth line up since its launch in the late 1990s with fifteen players ending on par or better….a massive move forward in stature since the Beko’s earliest days.
Although Bond’s fellow Welshman Simon Edwards had begun the day in search of a hat-trick in the event, having registered back-to-back wins in its Istanbul days, he was unable to maintain his pressure on first-round leader Coles when he shot what was, for him, a disappointing third round 73 to drop down to sixth place.
James Heath and Gary Clark finished joint-fourth behind the leading trio, two strokes adrift on six-under-par 208. The final round had returned to PGA Sultan after a second round sandwiched in between them at the nearby Carya course.
Day 2 – Record-Breaker Simon’s Bid for More Beko Success
As past champions battled to seize the prestigious Beko Classic first prize for a second or third time, SIMON EDWARDS blazed his way to the to the top of the second round leaderboard in the 54-hole tournament with a course-record breaking 66.
A previous winner in its early days at Kemer G&CC, Istanbul, and one of the most consistent performers in PGAs of Europe events, the effervescent Welshman obviously loved the feel of the Peter Thomson-designed Carya course, which is based on an English heathland-style lay-out, with thousands of heather sprigs having been transported for that purpose.
Added to his one-under-par 70 on the PGA-branded The Pasha course at Antalya the previous day, the six-under second day’s effort lifted him to seven under, one ahead of fellow Welshman Liam Bond, another past winner from the event’s Istanbul days and Robert Coles, the first round leader.
With a collection of five talented players only two strokes further back, including the defending champion Jamie Little, ex-Ryder Cup man Steve Richardson, Marco Ruiz, Gary Clark and Raymond Russell, the third and final round, back on The Pasha course, is nicely set-up for a thrilling blow-for-blow finale.
Day 1 – ‘Beko’ Blasts Off with Birdie Barrage
The field of experienced champions from various tours served notice in the first round that the 2009 Beko Classic at the PGA Sultan and Carya courses in Antalya, Turkey, will provide a barrage of birdies and a wide open race for first prize.
Robert Coles, three times a winner on the Challenge Tour, set the pace with an opening score of five under par but he was merely one of fifteen players to match the par score of 71 or better.
He was closely pursued in joint-second place by former European Tour man Raymond Russell and Ben Mason on the superb virtually cloudless day that followed Wednesday’s rather worrying torrential rain and high winds.
Former champion Liam Bond was one stroke further back alongside Gary Clark on three under, two strokes clear of another bunch of seven more sub-par challengers in past champions Simon Edwards, Jon Bevan and Jamie Little, ex-Ryder Cup player Steve Richardson, Andrew Sherborne, Duncan Muscroft and Gareth Davies.