27th February 2019 | Alps Tour Golf

It’s Ben’s time, at last!

A par on the first playoff hole of the Red Sea Little Venice Open was enough for Englishman Ben Wheeler to finally catch the first title of his professional career, while Italians Enrico Di Nitto and Federico Maccario – leaders respectively after the first and the second rounds – both missed their second putts and had to settle for sharing second place on another quite windy day in Egypt.

The three talented players had finished their third round tied at -6 – with Di Nitto returning the best card, a 68 (-4) after a disappointing second round ; Maccario dropping one shot compared to the -7 he had on the previous day ; and Wheeler adding a 69 to the 68-73 he had on his records.

Maccario and Di Nitto have both already won Alps Tour events in the past, but on Sokhna GC course, at last, it was Ben Wheeler’s time: « It’s such a relief » he said, after holing a not-so-easy 3-ft putt, when his opponents had already missed from a slightly further distance for bogeys. « I had been close a few times, especially last year, so I was really waiting for this moment » he conceded,  « although I’m a bit surprised it happened in such windy conditions, usually I don’t like them at all ».

Ben, 26, from South London, had joined Alps Tour back in 2016 having finished 6th in the Qualifying School, and collected 7 more “top tens” since; in 2018 he ended in 12th position in the Order of Merit, playing 15 tournaments and totalling about 12.500 points. Now, after two tournaments he has already 6.500 points to his credit – more than a half than last year – and shares the leadership of the OoM with Frenchman Frederic Lacroix, winner of the first tournament of the 2019 Alps Tour schedule, the Ein Bay Open.

Experienced Argentinian Rafa Echenique had the best comeback with a round in 66 (-6), made of six birdies and one bogey in the front nine holes, followed by two more birdies and a bogey on the back nine, and shared fourth place with Englishman Jack Clarkson, at -5.

The 50 players who made the cut could share a total prize money of 40,000 euros, with the winner cashing in 5,800 euros.

Next swing of the Egypt Winter Series will take place from March 25th to April 6th with three tournaments in a row played on three spectacular courses near Caire and the Pyramids, with a field of 132 players and a prize money of 40,000 euros each.

Final results

Order of merit

26th February 2019 | Alps Tour Golf

Italian Maccario comfortable in windy conditions

For the 120 players competing in the Red Sea Little Venice Open, the hardest opponent to beat was the wind today on Sokhna Golf Courses A+B, where gusts of 35 km/h were blowing while average scores were rising more and more. But this seemed not to bother Italian Federico Maccario, who added a 68 to yesterday’s 69 and is comfortably leading the field at minus 7, with a three strokes advantage over Englishman Jack Clarkson with just one round to go.

Maccario, 24, returned the best card of the day in spite of a double bogey on hole 2 (his 10th) – thanks to a fire start with six birdies and a single bogey in the first eight holes, then another birdie on the 8 (a par-five). Hole number 2, a par-4 of 394 metres, was actually rated as the most difficult hole of the day, according to statistics which indicate an average result of 4.47 strokes.

« I knew it would have been a difficult day today, I had seen the weather forecasts so I knew the wind would blow strong and from a different direction than yesterday », said Maccario, who has returned to Alps Tour after gaining his card for the Challenge Tour at the end of 2016. « Some pin positions were quite hard, too, but I’ve started very well from hole 11 with 6 birdies – I also holed an approach shot and a long putt – and then in the front nine, into the wind, I could manage to play well and keep my concentration, with a consistent game. I’m quite satisfied of the job I’ve done during the winter with my coach Massimo Scarpa, after a difficult year I’m starting to see some good results ».

On third position, four players of four different nationalities are tied at 141 (-3) : they are Felix Schulz from Austria, Ben Wheeler from England, Tomas Santos Silva from Portugal and Mathias Eggenberger from Switzerland. First-round leader Enrico Di Nitto dropped in 7th place with a 77 today, tied with Lars Keunen from The Netherlands and Timon Baltl from Austria.

Italian Carlo Casalegno holed-in-one par-3 n. 6 with a 8-iron from 167 metres; it was the third hole in one recorded since the beginning of the 2019 Alps Tour season.

The cut fell at 148 (+4), leaving 50 players (49 pros and one amateur, Frenchman Thomas Le Berre) in competition for the third and final round, starting tomorrow at 7 am. The winner will pocket a cheque of 5,800 euros out of a 40,000 euros total prize money.

Second round results

Final round tee times


25th February 2019 | Alps Tour Golf

Di Nitto signs a bogey-free 65 to lead by 2 after first round

Golf feels much easier when, at the end of the day, you only have 24 putts on your scorecard; that’s what happened to Italian Enrico Di Nitto, 26, the leader after the first round of the Red Sea Little Venice Open, the second tournament of the 2019 Alps Tour season, taking place on beautiful Sokhna Golf Club in Egypt.

Di Nitto, 26, from Rome, carded 7 birdies and no bogeys on the A+B courses, a different combination than the course played for Ein Bay Open, which was on B+C : « This one is a bit more difficult I think », said Di Nitto, who was playing in the morning with warm temperatures and some wind, both rising up during the afternoon (peaks of 25 degrees and gusts at 25 km/h). « Like the other course, it is in very good conditions, and today we had fast greens and the wind made it even more interesting and challenging. I started (from hole 11) with very good driving and decent irons, and when the tee shots started to fail a little, I could react with good irons, and lots of one-putts, too – most of them from close, and one from 12 meters – which was a really nice boost! ».

On second place, with a 67 (-5), two strokes more than the leader, stands Irishman Jonathan Yates – who was tied second in the previous tournament. Six birdies in his card, and a single bogey – on hole 4, a par 3, 178 meters long which is actually rated as the second most difficult hole on the course today, with just 3 birdies, 44 bogeys and 6 double bogeys or worse.

On third place, three players are tied at 68, minus 4 : Englishman Ben Wheeler, 26 (seven birdies and two bogeys) ; Tomas Santos Silva from Portugal, 26 (five birdies and one bogey); and Lars Keunen, 22, from The Netherlands (six birdies and two bogeys).

For tomorrow, the weather forecast indicates a peak of 19 degrees, and a little less wind, at 20 km/h.

Results 1st round

Starting times 2nd round

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21st February 2019 | Alps Tour Golf

Lacroix seals his first win as a pro in wire-to-wire fashion

The first winner of the 2019 season corresponds exactly to the profile of the ideal Alps Tour player: Frederic Lacroix is a young, gifted golfer who decided to start his professional career building up some experience on our satellite tour, looking to soon progress to Challenge and European Tours.

On the pristine fairways of the Sokhna Golf Club B&C courses, in perfect weather conditions, Lacroix showed an uncommon coolness for a rookie playing – and leading from the start – his first tournament as a pro.

He passed from co-leading on the first day at minus 6, to be sole leader in the second round with -11 and finally winning with a total of -15, carding only 3 bogeys in 54 holes, 14 birdies and 2 eagles. Lacroix ended four strokes clear of young Spaniard Manuel Elvira, 22 – author of the best card of the final round, 65 (-7) – and Irishman Jonathan Yates, 25. On fourth place, three players were tied at -10 : Frenchman Teremoana Beaucousin, 24 ; Spaniard Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez, 29 ; and Italian Federico Maccario, 24.

« My goal was winning one of the tournaments of the Winter Series, and I worked for that ; and after the first round I told myself that it was possible, and I could have the chance right here. I never lost my confidence during the final round, although I did hit some really bad shot, especially on the back nine, but I was able to recover well ». This must have been possible also thanks to the preparation Lacroix went through during the last 3 years with coach Frank Lorenzo-Vera (brother of European Tour player Mike) for the game, but also the work done in the gym with a new trainer, and a positive attitude learned during the last year with a new mental coach: « all this seems to have given me the right tools that really worked well this week ».

Lacroix earned a cheque of 5.800 euros (out of a 40.000 euros prize money) and leads the ranking with 6.525 points.

Sokhna Golf Club will host also the second date of the Winter Series, the Red Sea Little Venice Open, starting next Monday 25th February on the A&B courses with the same prize money and same format : 120 players, 54 holes and cut after the second round for the top 40 pros and ties.

Results after 3rd round

Order of Merit

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20th February 2019 | Alps Tour Golf

Rookie Lacroix pulling ahead in Egypt

It is his first tournament as a professional, and he’s leading by one shot after the second round of the Ein Bay Open on Sokhna Golf Club, in Egypt, but Frederic Lacroix, 23, is still not completely satisfied with his game: after returning his card (a 67, which follows yesterday’s 66) late in the afternoon, he heads to the practice ground to refine some details.

With a total of minus 11, Lacroix is followed very closely by his French colleague Teremoana Beaucousin (66-68), 24, who was co-leader after the first round; in third place stands a duo of Italian players, Lorenzo Scalise, 23 – also a rookie among pros, like Lacroix – and Alessandro Grammatica, 29, author of the best round of the day, 65 (-7) – same score posted by Swiss Mathias Eggenberger, 27.

« I would like to work a little bit on my wedges and irons, just to keep in touch with the good sensations and be ready for tomorrow », said Lacroix, who represents the Racing Club La Boulie of Versailles, in France. « Today my game was not as smooth as yesterday, I’ve started with a birdie at 10th, but then I had some tough moments and a stupid bogey on 14th. I had a good reaction though, with three birdies in a row on holes 17, 18 and 1, and two more birdies on the two par 5s, holes 3 and 7. Tomorrow I need to do the same thing and try to go low, if I want to win; all the other competitors behind me have the same goal as me! ».

The cut fell at 141 (-3), leaving 44 players in the field to share the 40.000 euros prize money (5.800 euros for the winner).

Results after 2nd round

3rd round starting times

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19th February 2019 | Alps Tour Golf

Four players share the lead after 1st round of Ein Bay Open

At last, it’s tournament-time again on the Alps Tour, and players are showing all their eagerness to give their best on the course after a long winter break.

They couldn’t find better conditions than what they had here in Egypt at Sokhna Golf Club, where the Ein Bay Open has started with four players sharing the lead after the first round at 66 (minus 6). The sun and a little breeze coming up in the afternoon, together with perfect fairways and smooth greens, gave way to 60 scores under par – exactly half of the field of 120 competitors.

The best cards of the day were returned by Spaniard Gonzalo Vicente Elena (6 birdies for him and no bogeys) and Frenchmen Frederic Lacroix (1 eagle, 4 birdies and no bogeys), David Antonelli (8 birdies and 2 bogeys) and Teremoana Beaucousin (6 birdies and no bogey).

While Antonelli, 32 years old, and Vicente Elena, 34, can count on a long experience in the professional rankings, Beaucousin, 24, is one of the most brilliant « rising stars » having started his career on the Alps Tour only last season, finishing 10th in the 2018 Order of Merit with a second place in the Open de la Mirabelle d’Or, last June in France.

The real good surprise comes from rookie Frederic Lacroix (pictured), 23, who turned pro in January after wearing the French amateur team uniform for many years and finishing his studies at the University; he is playing his very first tournament for a prize money – 40.000 euros, and a cheque of 5.800 euros for the winner, but – he assures – there’s no more pression than competing as an amateur, « it is still the same game, you always want to play at your best ». And this is what he did today : « I made no mistakes, really; no bogeys, the putting was working, I could always find the fairways and hit some beautiful irons ; so it was really a nice start for my professional career ».

Behind the leaders, three players are tied in 5th position with a 67 (-5), Spaniard Javier Ballesteros, Austrian Felix Schulz and Frenchman Nicolas Platret.

Tomorrow, at the end of the second round, the best 40 professionals and ties will make the cut and will go on playing the third and final day of the tournament.

More info:

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16th February 2019 | Alps Tour Golf

The Alps Tour Winter Series kicks off in Egypt

120 players of 20 different nationalities are sharpening their tools for the opening tournaments of the 2019 Alps Tour season, kicking off next week in Egypt with the first part of the Winter Series, Ein Bay Open and Red Sea Little Venice Open, on the North shores of the Red Sea.

Italian Michele Cea will be defending his Ein Bay title on Sokhna Golf Course, while Englishman Jack Singh Brar, winner of last year’s Red Sea Little Venice Open, is now off building his brilliant career on the Challenge and European Tour, but both Austrian Bernard Neumayer and Italian Federico Zucchetti, second and third respectively in 2018, will be again in Sokhna aiming to improve their records and trying to grab the €5,800 cheque for the first prize.

Egypt has been welcoming the start of Alps Tour seasons for seven years now, and Sokhna Golf Club, with its beautiful resort and its 27-holes golf course, has already proved to be the perfect venue for assigning the first two titles of the year and the €40,000 prize money at stake for each of the two tournaments.

Ein Bay Open is set to start next Tuesday, 19th February, and will be played on three days and 54 holes on Sokhna Golf, B and C Course; after the second round, the top 40 pros and ties will go on playing for the title and for sharing the prize money; same format for Red Sea Little Venice Open, played on courses A and B from Monday 25th to Wednesday 27th February. In between, on Friday 22nd February, the Alps Tour Sokhna Pro Am, with 26 teams playing on A+B courses.

Egypt will host also the second part of the Winter Series with three tournaments in a row, played from March 25th to April 6th on three different courses near The Caire and the pyramids : Dreamland Pyramids Open on Dreamland GC, New Giza Open on New Giza Gc – a new spectacular venue inaugurated last October – and Katameya Dunes Open, on the Lakes Course of Katameya Dunes.

The venue

“Sokhna Golf Club” (SGC) is a joint venture between two of Ain Sokhna’s leading golf resorts Little Venice Golf Resort, part of Hassan Allam Properties (HAP) portfolio and EINBAY, part of Galalah Touristic Investments Company. These two well-known developers joined forces to create a fantastic new golfing heaven in Ain Sokhna.

“Sokhna Golf Club” (SGC) is only one hour drive from Cairo and features a 27-hole Championship Golf Course designed by renowned golf course designers, John Sanford and Tim Lobb, The course is built entirely to international specifications, with gently undulating fairways, perfect putting surfaces and well placed lakes and sand traps. It’s simply a “must play” golf course. The outstanding course is also situated just a minute walk from the sandy coastline of Ain Sokhna, the location aims for a perfect stay for the entire family.

For more info, http://sokhnagolfclub.com/

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5th February 2019 | Alps Tour Golf

New season, new challenges

A new season is starting and new challenges are awaiting the Alps Tour players, the « rising stars » of golf looking to climb all the steps that lead to Challenge Tour, European Tour and beyond.

And the premises for another brilliant year are all there: just think of the record number of entries received for the Qualifying School last December – 255 players – and the level of low scores recorded on challenging America & Asia courses at La Cala Resort, with Spaniard Angel Hidalgo totalling -14 to gain the final top spot. The trend is continuing with the first tournaments of 2019 and at two weeks before the start, the number of entries are exceeding the available spots, with a long waiting list.

There’s a lot of expectations to see who will be the next players following in the footsteps of some really talented players who have sharpened their skills on the Alps Tour : like Englishman Matt Wallace, 28, who only two seasons ago won six tournaments and the Order of Merit of the Alps Tour, gained access to the Challenge Tour the following year and soon progressed to the European Tour, where he won 3 tournaments in 2018 and ended the season on 10th position on the Race to Dubai, with nearly 2,9 millions euros of prize money.

The 2019 season will tee off in Egypt, as it has been the case since 2013, with the Ein Bay Open played from February 19-21 on beautiful Sokhna Golf Course (pictured, a view of the 13th hole, credit Tristan Jones Photography), followed by Red Sea Little Venice Open (February 25-27), on the same venue. The Egyptian « Winter Series » will go on with three tournaments played from March 25th to April 6th on three different courses near The Caire and the pyramids : Dreamland Pyramids Open on Dreamland GC, New Giza Open on New Giza Gc – a new spectacular venue inaugurated last October – and Katameya Dunes Open, on the Lakes Course of Katameya Dunes.

Italy will have the role of opening the season in Continental Europe, with traditional Abruzzo Open on Miglianico Golf moved from September to April 17-19, just before Easter. After that, Alps Tour will then get to the heart of the schedule with some exciting changes : we are pleased to welcome new venues in Italy like Acaya Resort near Lecce, and Golf Nazionale near Rome ; and we will return to Golf de Valdeluz in Spain, host of the Alps de Las Castillas again.

And, for the first time in Europe, we’re going to host a new format, a real mixed event co-sanctioned with the LET Access Series : the Saint-Malo Golf Open (4-7 July) will see ladies and men compete together for the same prize money.

One thing is not changing, and it is the enthusiasm and the commitment of an army of young golfers chasing their dream and looking for a promotion. A total of at least 18 tournaments during the year will bring the best 50 players in the Order of Merit to compete in the Grand Final, the last fight to gain one of the 5 spots at stake to be admitted in the Challenge Tour 2020.

Stay tuned ! www.wp-alpstour.ocs-sport.com and the app « Alps Tour Golf » (on the App Store for iOS devices and Play Store for Android) will keep you updated on every news about Alps Tour.

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