The opening round of the 2016 La Manga Club International Pro-Am was a closely fought affair with players having to contest with gusting winds of up to 30mph for the majority of their round at Spain’s best golf resort.
It looked set to be an incredibly competitive tournament with a field consisting of three-time Aegean Airlines Pro-Am Winner, Nicolo Gaggero, the 2015 Golfbreaks.com Fourball Championship Winners, Craig Shave and Matthew Cort (also the current PGA Professional Champion of Europe), as well as the PGA of Ireland’s Brendan McGovern who has just earned his European Seniors Tour card after coming through Final Qualifying in Portugal last week.
Three of the aforementioned PGA Professionals are in a current tie for the lead after matching 74s left them one clear of the field and tied on +1.
The tough conditions could not disrupt some of the excellent golf on show and with the top six being separated by just four shots it looks set to be an exciting couple of days.
Bearing the brunt of the wind was PGA of GB&I Professional, Craig Shave, who was third out in the morning:
“I was pleased with one over, the weather was horrendous, about a five club wind…It’s tough hitting a four iron in from 140 yards, I mean we’re used to the wind back at home but that was a different level. But I drove it well, hit most fairways and most of the greens and got it round ok.”
PGA of Ireland’s Brendan McGovern acknowledged that his recent success at Q school had given him a boost of confidence and that certainly showed with a superb one under par back nine which was down to the approach of Brendan’s game in the weather “It was tough, very blustery, very much one hole at a time out there”.
Co-leader Cort, who returned to La Manga for the first time in 10 years, finished his round off with an eagle to tie for the early lead.
“With the blustery conditions it was really tricky to get close to the hole, the greens are running fast. A lot of long distance putts you’re just not going to hole them, but I eagled the last so that was a good way to finish.”
In the team competition a phenomenal score of 83 points (-11) gave Matthew Cort’s team comprising of amateurs Brendan Delaney, Maurice Addison and Gary Britton, a slender lead over the team led by PGA of Ireland Professional, Brendan McGovern, and his team of amateurs Ronan O’Reilly, Jonathan Toms & Marcus Burnley.