The PGA of Norway’s Paul Nilbrink holds a one shot lead after Round 01 of the inaugural Messinia Pro-Am in Greece organised by Costa Navarino.
The field, in which 13 different nationalities are represented, took to The Dunes Course at Costa Navarino in challenging and windy conditions.
“Today was pretty tough. You didn’t get much roll on the fairways, so it played long,” explained Nilbrink, after shooting an opening round of 69 (-2). “The greens are very nice as always down here.”
The Norwegian, who has played at Costa Navarino on several occasions in the Aegean Airlines Pro-Am, added: “The first hole was against the wind, a very long par four, and I bogeyed the first hole…but then I made three birdies in a row…and I birdied the 17th after I hit a four-iron close and knocked the putt in…I’m pretty happy with my first round, I played solid.”
Round 02 of the tournament moves to the Bay Course, and leader Nilbrink believes it will present a different challenge to the players.
“You’ve got to get the pace right on the [Bay Course] greens…they’re normally faster. Today with this nice weather, the greens are probably drying up. If I get the pace of the greens and keep the ball in play, I should be okay.
“The facilities are excellent here and the organisers of the Pro-Am are doing a great job…it’s a fantastic Pro-Am.”
There is a four-way tie for second place between, Emanuele Canonica (PGA of Italy), Stuart Boyle (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland), Federico Elli (PGA of Italy) and Alexis Szappanos (PGA of Germany), who all carded one-under rounds of 70.
“The course is fantastic, very good design and very good condition…some of the best greens I have played in past few months,’ said Canonica, who is visiting Costa Navarino for the first time. “[The Bay Course] is a little bit shorter, but with the wind it will be tough.
“My game is okay, but physically I am a bit tired…but I will try to do my best and support the team.”
At the top of the Team Pro-Am Competition is the quartet of PGA of Austria Professional, Steve Dooley, and amateurs Gerhard Komarek, Andreas Hainz and Gerhard Marischka, The team scored an excellent 88 points (-16) and have a one point lead over Team Boyle going into Round 02.
Round 02 begins at 09:00am (GMT+2).
For more information visit the Tournament Hub Page (http://eur.pe/2017Messinia) and messiniaproam.costanavarino.com, follow @PGAsofEurope on Twitter and search the hashtag ‘#MessiniaProAm’, and like the PGAs of Europe Facebook Page.
Find out more about Costa Navarino at www.costanavarino.com.