Taking a five shot lead into the final round of a golf tournament offers no guarantees of victory as the Swede Peter Gustafsson discovered before he picked up the €8,200 winner’s cheque at the 2016 Invitational Pro-Am tournament in Portugal.
The 40-year-old had set himself apart from the 50-strong field of professionals when he shot an eight-under par 64 in the second round over the South Course at Quinta do Lago on The Algarve.
However, handling the advantage played on his mind as he closed with a three-over par 75 on the adjoining North Course, finishing with a 12-under par (204) total.
It was still good enough to earn him a two-shot victory margin over the PGA of Spain’s Carlos Rodiles who had made huge strides up the leaderboard earlier in the day by shooting a six-under 66.
Gustafsson said “I held on to win and that was a great way to end a fantastic week here in Portugal, playing great courses alongside a lot of amateurs who were really good fun. I will definitely be back again next year if I am invited.
“Having a five-shot lead overnight should have been good. But I just couldn’t decide whether to attack the course in the third round or try to defend my lead. Because taking risks could have cost me shots and while playing defensively would have put a lot of negative thoughts in my mind.”
He also pointed out the two holes in the first half of his round that saw him head back towards the rest of the field.
“At the seventh I had a putt for a birdie to go under par for the day that was barely a metre long and I missed it” he said. “Then on the eighth green I three-putted so instead of being one under, I was one over and that was a two-shot swing.”
The Pro-Am was a much more closely contested event with the 28-under par betterball winning score produced by Scottish Professional, Sam Binning (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland) [pictured above right], and his Irish partner, Daphne Fagan [pictured above left], only a stroke better than the cards handed in by Englishmen Alan Lovelace and Paul Faithfull.
And Daphne, a 22-handicapper certainly played her part in the win as she said: “I had a fantastic three days out there and probably couldn’t have played any better,
“Sam was very encouraging and in the three rounds I made five nett eagles along with 16 birdies. It was so thrilling to win and I was just absolutely delighted.”
More information on The Invitational Pro-Am 2016 is available at www.TheInvitational.eu.