The PGA of Great Britain & Ireland’s Paul Hendriksen & James Ruth produced a dazzling final round to win the 2017 Fourball Championship presented by the Costa Daurada, with a -17 total (197).
Conditions at Lumine Mediterránea Beach & Golf Club in Spain were testing, as they had been all week, with gusts reaching up to 50kph. However, unphased by the high winds, the British duo carded an extraordinary seven-under round of 64 to take home the €6,150 first prize.
“They were such difficult conditions out there today,” said Hendriksen. “So we were just pleased to be able to come in with a good score and sit in the clubhouse and let the rest of them try and battle it out, so we’re really pleased.”
“We knew we were going to have to play well today to catch the leaders, and that the wind would be a good thing as if we could shoot a low score then it was going to be tough for everybody to get past it,” added Ruth.
“I play a lot of golf with Paul…and we know each other really well, so that helps a lot…plus we were both in play on pretty much every hole so it was good to not put pressure on either one and that was key really.”
Going into Round 03, the PGA of GB&I Professionals trailed the overnight leaders, Sixto Casabona Navarro & Carlos García Simarro (PGA of Spain), by four shots and were seemingly out of contention.
But many of the 48 PGA Professional pairs that had made it through the two round cut struggled to get into a rhythm and scoring on the Lakes Course was more conservative than it had been on the previous two days.
Having reached the turn in five-under, Hendriksen & Ruth began the back nine with a birdie on the 10th, followed by five pars. Unaware of the scores of the final group behind them, the Brits birdied the par-five 16th and closed their round with two pars; enough to secure the title.
“We had -20 in mind but the wind was a lot stronger than we thought it was going to be…we ended up missing out for birdie on the last, which we thought may not have been enough, but as it happens it was,” said Hendriksen.
Second place fell to coach and pupil combo, Casabona Navarro & García Simarro, who only managed two birdies in their final round of 70 (-1) finishing two shots behind the winners with a three-round total of 199 (-15).
“When you start the last round in first position, then it is difficult to play, but we played very solid tee-to-green,” said Casabona Navarro. “I think the competition is good and next year I think we have a very good chance to take the trophy.”
“It’s hard for us to be at the top, because I do not practice as I am teaching,” said García Simarro, the ‘coach’ of the pair. “So in the last round it’s difficult for me to hit the ball as well as the last two days…but we are very happy with second position!”
There was a tie for third place between Lorenzo Gagli & Emanuele Canonica (PGA of Italy) and Liam Murray & Xavier Puig (PGA of Spain), both of whom finished at -13 (201).
European Tour winner, Canonica, said, “We didn’t lose the position in which we started – we started third and finished third – and it was a very tough day. We don’t have a lot of chances to play Fourball around the world or in Italy so this one is the only tournament where we can come and have fun to play Fourball.”
Gagli added, “It has been a pleasure to play with Emanuele and I am happy with third place because probably it was too difficult to catch 17-under.”
Similarly, the PGA of Spain pair, Murray & Puig, ended their round in style, carding birdies on the final two holes to finish the day with an even-par round of 71.
“We are happy about the tournament because tied-third is a good result,” explained Puig. “But it was a pity about the final holes – from 12-16 today we played four bad holes – he hit a bad shot, I hit a bad shot – and in Fourball you pay for that, but then we finished birdie-birdie which is ok.”
“It was really tough,” added Murray. “We felt like we were dropping off the pace a little bit, but turns out we probably weren’t. The scoring was not that great apart from the guys that won who played fantastic to shoot seven-under in that wind.”
For more information on the PGAs of Europe Fourball Championship Presented by Costa Daurada visit the Tournament Hub Page (http://eur.pe/2017FourballChamps), follow @PGAsofEurope on Twitter search the Hashtag ‘#FourballChamps’, or like the PGAs of Europe Facebook Page.
With thanks to LUMINE Mediterránea Beach & Golf Club (www.lumine.com), Costa Daurada (www.costadaurada.info), Cambrils (www.Cambrils-Tourism.com), Golfbreaks.com (www.Golfbreaks.com/pga-pro), La Pineda Platja (www.lapinedaplatja.info), and Salou (www.visitsalou.eu).