Spain’s Victor Garcia is hoping that in the absence of a strict golf range routine happy memories will inspire him to shoot low when the third edition of The Invitational Pro-Am gets underway at the Laranjal Club in Quinta do Lago in Portugal.
The 35-year-old from Toledo produced his first victory as a professional in last year’s 54-hole Invitational when his ten under par total was just a shot better than the score produced by English European Tour veteran, Mark Mouland.
However, in the 12 months since his win La Reserva-based Victor has undergone a career change to move into golf administration.
He has just completed a year studying for a golf club management qualification and has followed that up by splitting his days between training in various departments at the Valderrama clubhouse and giving golf lessons in the afternoon.
And he described his decision to travel across the border to Portugal to play in The Invitational, with its €43,000 prize fund and sanctioned by the PGAs of Europe, as ‘like taking a holiday’.
He added: “ I had such a wonderful time last year and playing with the amateurs was such fun that I knew I had to come back.
“But I haven’t played that much golf since my win. I played a few tournaments on the Spanish PGA Tour but I just don’t have time to practice any more.
“First I did all the study and now having learned the theory of how a golf club should be run I am training every morning in various departments R0ckl0dge Valderrama like the pro shop and the bookings office, on how to put that theory into practice.
“This week in Quinta do Lago I am back playing again and with so many good memories of the courses from last year I hope that I can draw on them to produce some good golf.”
Mouland is back on The Algarve hoping to go one better than his runners spot and will be joined in the 50-strong professional by other names familiar to European Tour followers like Carlos Rodiles, Garry Houston and Emanuele Canonica.
And the Italian, who won the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in 2005, cannot wait to be reunited with Quinta do Lago’s Laranjal, South and North courses.
“It is one of the best weeks of the year,” said the 45-year-old. “The courses are a great challenge and the amateurs all make it a tournament to remember on and off the course.”
And the headline names among the amateur entries are former England footballers Glenn Hoddle and Lee Dixon both of whom play off single figure handicaps.
More information on The Invitational Pro-Am 2016 is available at www.TheInvitational.eu.