Portugal’s Hugo Santos Takes UniCredit 2012 PGA Professional Championship of Europe Title for the Second Time
After a hard-fought battle though changing weather conditions, Hugo Santos from Portugal came out on top becoming the UniCredit 2012 Professional Championship of Europe Champion for the second consecutive time, taking home a winners cheque for 10,000€.
Carding an even-par 72 final round score, to give a total of ten-under-par (278), Santos ensured he remained steady, composed and strategic as he negotiated the final stages of the round.
A strong fight was made from all three tied-for-second place competitors, Lee Rooke from Wales, Frederic Cupillard of France, and Mikel Galdos from Spain, all finishing at nine-under-par (279) for the championship.
The early stages of play shook things up, when the leading group all matched up to sit at ten-under-par through 6 holes, along with Rooke, after which Cupillard and Galdos each dropped a shot to leave Santos and Rooke at the top.
Steady rounds from all three eventual runners-up kept them in the hunt, but it was Santos who had his fair share of drama on the back-nine, making bogeys on fourteen and fifteen, and the pressure mounted as he neared the end of the round.
“The difficult part is when you start feeling the pressure, it’s more difficult to keep control,” Santos said. “On 17 when I was playing my tee-shot it started raining pretty heavy, but to be honest I almost didn’t feel the rain because of the pressure. It was a very important moment and that was key.”
But it was eventually Santos that took advantage of the situation and lined himself up for a twenty-foot putt on the last to take the win. Level-headed as always, Santos rolled the putt in to become the UniCredit PGA Professional Champion of Europe for the second year running having won here at Pravets Golf Resort and Spa last year.
Santos said of successfully defending his title, “It felt more difficult this year – the trees are bigger, rough longer…but I’m really proud to represent our PGA. I had two or three moments like the second where I bogeyed but I recovered and it was enough!”
For more information on host venue Pravets Golf and Spa Resort, visit www.pravets-golfclub.com.
‘Big Brother’ Hugo to Defend as Passport to Pravets Race Hots Up
HUGO SANTOS, the elder brother of two Portuguese golf professionals will be bidding for a repeat performance when he defends the UNICREDIT PGA Professional Championship of Europe, at the PRAVETS Golf & Spa, Bulgaria, on September 17-20
As the pursuit of a coveted Passport to Pravets hots up, the senior of the golfing brothers 33-year-old Hugo, who is based at Vilamoura Laguna, gets his entry as the inaugural winner, after a play-off against Ben Collier, in 2011.
To back up his bid to successfully defend the title of PGA Professional Champion of Europe, Hugo now has the valued tournament experience of having represented Portugal, alongside brother Ricardo, in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China last November (right).
The PGA Professional Championship of Europe has already established itself as a ‘must play’ event for the elite of club and teaching professionals who include tournament play in their varied list of activities and the pursuit of places is now underway in earnest as players at national championships and other leading events across the PGAs of Europe member countries jostle for the chance to win the title of individual champion of Europe.
Several countries have already staged their qualifiers, as the list below indicates, and soon more names of qualifiers will be announced as others compete to join them for a shot at the prestigious European crown currently held by Santos.
Israel’s Oren Geri (left), a professional who will have benefited from the Golf Development Programme staged by The R&A and the PGAs of Europe, is among the growing list of qualifiers. Aged 37 from Tel Aviv, Geri earned his place while competing at the Caesarea club championships in trials for the country’s Maccabi Games which takes place every four years there, and will be held next in 2015, one year before the return of the sport’s eagerly-anticipated return to the Olympics, in Brazil.
Though initially a leading amateur, golfing progress was not straightforward for him in his teenage years due to the obligatory three-year military service but he persevered to eventually become the pro at Herzelia where he works to service the golfing requirements of its members in terms of lessons and club fitting.
Geri, who played in the PGAs of Europe-endorsed BlackSeaRama Pro-Am in Bulgaria in July, said: “My goal in participating in the event at Pravets is to represent the relatively young PGA of Israel in the true spirit of the game, network with our colleagues from Europe who are so kindly helping us develop our organisation and skill level…and create awareness to our existence.”
Passport to Pravets
Launched to universal acclaim last Autumn, the UNICREDIT PGA Professional Championship of Europe, at the PRAVETS Golf & Spa, Bulgaria, is firmly established as the No.1 individual playing target on the association’s tournament schedule…but first, for potential champions, comes the necessity to qualify for a shot at it!
Before the elite field of 60 players can take shape for the second staging of the 72-hole stroke play title on September 17-20, each member PGA wishing to be represented – and surely that must be all? – has to nominate its national qualifying event to take place in the upcoming weeks or months.
Some have already specified their qualifiers and are listed below. Others are in the process of so doing and their qualifying events will be named in newsletters in the next month or two. Some member countries have not, however, indicated their intentions yet and are urged to do so as soon as they can.
“Ideally every PGA professional who includes tournament competition in their list of career intentions should get the opportunity to attempt to qualify for this highly prestigious championship,” said PGAs of Europe chief executive Ian Randell.
“When Hugo Santos (pictured), the pro at Vila Sol in Portugal, won the inaugural championship in 2011 it put an achievement on his cv that, I’m sure, he will always cherish. PGA Professional Champion of Europe…who wouldn’t be proud of such a title?
Jonathan Pendry, Golf Courses Director of Braemar Golf commented, “Braemar Golf and RIU Pravets Resort are delighted to be hosting once again the UNICREDIT PGA Professional Championship of Europe. The event last year was fantastic and we thoroughly enjoyed some great golf and socialising as well with the professionals. We look forward to meeting with old friends and making new ones and wish the qualifiers the very best of luck!! “