31st August 2020 | Alps Tour Golf

Tournament 2 of the Return and the Alps Tour Rises to the Occasion

Breuil-Cervinia (Italy), August 31st, 2020 –By rising to the occasion, we are talking 2050-metres/6726-feet above sea level at the Cervino Golf Club in the Italian Alps.

The highest golf course in Italy and one of the highest in Europe, the par 68, 5305-metre/5799-yard course welcomes its 6th edition of the Cervino Open and celebrates 65 years of affiliation with the Italian Golf Federation.

The stunning backdrop of the Matterhorn, (Il Cervino in Italian and Le Cervin in French), belies a course where the geographic, climatic, and technical challenges are multiple and constantly changing. The sloping terrain offers multiple water hazards, narrow tee offs and even marmot holes. The weather can be capricious with low morning temperatures requiring winter gear and warm afternoon weather seeing the layers peeled off. The elevation of the course affects ball trajectories and distance requiring concentration and anticipation.

Of the 132 players confirmed in the field, there are a number of players who know the course well. In 2018, Giacomo Fortini from Italy, won the competition as an amateur and takes on the challenge again in this his rookie year on the Alps Tour. His compatriot Michele Cea, who was third in 2018, is also present.

The French Alps Tour veteran, Xavier Poncelet who was joint third in 2018 is here, fresh from his win at the Archachon Open in France on August 27th 2020. James Sharp from England, another former Cervino Open champion and Alps Tour habitué, will be hoping to add a win to his previous sole victory here in 2017.

The winners of the 2020 Egypt Series, the Dutchman Lars Keunen, current leader of the Order of Merit and winner in February 2020 of the Ein Bay Open and Stefano Mazzoli from Italy, winner of the Red Sea Little Venice Open, will both be eager to add a victory notch to their belts.

With the absence of last year’s winner, David Carey from Ireland, one thing is sure, there will be a new title holder among the 107 professionals and 25 amateurs teeing up on Wednesday September 2nd.

The forecast for Day 1 means a chilly start for the early tee-offs with a bracing 3°C/37°F in the morning and a maximum of 12°C/54°F in the afternoon. Scattered clouds, long clear spells and light to gentle breezes mean overall good weather conditions as tournament four of the 2020 Alps Tour gets under way.

Entries: click here


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15th August 2020 | Alps Tour Golf

Lukas Nemecz Reclaims His Crown

Maria Lankowitz (Austria), August 15, 2020 – What a great way to celebrate the return of the Alps Tour 2020 season with a nail-biting finish here at the Gösser Open which saw Lukas Nemecz from Austria, winner of the tournament in 2017, grab the title on the last hole with a -17 (199) for the 54 holes.

The final round teed off at 11:15am. Possible inclement weather later in the afternoon imposed a shotgun start at the Erzherzog Johann Golf Club to ensure that the round could be completed.

Round 2 had finished at 10:45am with Jordi Garcia Del Moral from Spain topping the leader board at 130 (-14) and in joint second place at 132 (-12) the Frenchman Thomas Elissalde and two Austrian players, Alexander Kopp and the amateur Maximilian Lechner. Yesterday’s number two, Angel Hidalgo Portillo from Spain, started in fifth position at 133 (-11) alongside the Italian Jacopo Vecchi Fossa and Lukas Nemecz from Austria.

Everything looked to be plain sailing as Jordi Garcia Del Moral started the back nine at -17 overall. However, Sebastien Gandon from France suddenly burst into contention.  He had started from the 8th tee at -8 and opened with 5 straight pars. He then went into a birdie frenzy of 8 in a row which saw him steam up the leader board to second position on hole thirteen.

This left him just three strokes behind the leader. Jordi then bogeyed the 15th to leave just two strokes between them and three holes to go. Sebastien finished with pars to come into the clubhouse with an amazing -8 (64) for the day and 200 (-16) for the tournament.

Jordi was still out on the course with two holes to play and…he bogeyed the last two placing him and Sebastien in line for a play-off with both sitting at 200 (-16).

But Thomas Elissalde, winner of the Gösser Open in 2014, who started at -12 from the first tee alongside Jordi, had three birdies on the front nine interrupted by a double bogey to see him on the 10th for -14. He kept his cool on the last nine holes and another two birdies saw a three-way play-off lined up.

And still more surprises, as the Austrian player Alexander Kopp at -15 on the 17th birdied the last hole to also finish with 200 (-16). A four-way play-off?

All eyes were now riveted on Lukas Nemecz, who had teed off from the third at -11. Following three birdies he was at -15 with two holes to play. Two magnificent birdies saw him winning his second Gösser Open trophy and third Alps Tour win after the 2019 Dreamland Pyramids Open.

Lukas had not realised that he was putting for his second Gösser victory on the 18th green:

“I thought Jordi was still at -18 and didn’t know that he had bogeyed the last two holes. I knew the last putt was important, but I didn’t know it was for the win. I couldn’t believe it when people said that it was the winner.”

He also talked about at being back playing professional golf and the Covid restrictions:

“It’s great that we can play golf and that the Alps Tour and the promotor did everything possible so that we could play. It’s important to play every opportunity that we have. It’s a little different with the Covid situation and we’ve had to make little adaptations but that make sense and are very important. At the end of the day it’s a 54-hole tournament and every hole counts. It was great playing but I’m happy it’s over!”.

One of the adaptations for the tournament is the innovation by the Alps Tour of the introduction of a mobile phone live scoring application, replacing paper score cards and thus reducing contact points. Developed by OCS Sport, led by MD Lee Probert, the players reacted very positively to it. As the winner, Lukas Nemecz said:

“I think it’s great. It’s modern, easy to use, a real live scoring. We’re living in a digital world, so I think it’s really good”.

The new application will become standard for future tournaments and the next Alps Tour 2020 tournament is the Cervino Alps Open at the Cervino Golf Club in Italy from 2nd to 4th September 2020. A presto!


Final results: click here

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14th August 2020 | Alps Tour Golf

Day 2 Play Suspended – Jordi Garcia Del Moral Still Topping the Leaderboard

Maria Lankowitz (Austria), August 14, 2020 – It has been an exciting and eventful day here at the Gösser Open at Erzherzog Johann Golf Club. Play was finally suspended at 7:50pm due to darkness with Jordi Garcia Del Moral keeping his lead with a 131 (-13) overall with 8 holes to play.

The day started at 7:00am with Round 1 to be completed, at the end of which the top two positions stayed the same with the Spaniards Jordi Garcia Del Moral at -12 (60) leading the board and Angel Hidalgo Portillo at -8 (64).

In the group of players in third position at -7 (65), one change as the Austrian amateur, Maximilian Lechner moved up to join his compatriots Uli Weinhandl and Lukas Nemecz. That made a group of six in all with the Italians Jacopo Vecchi Fossa and Andrea Saracino and the New Zealander Shaun Jones.

At -6 (66) the group of four including Sam Robinson from England, Tomas Bessa Guimaraes from Portugal and Sebastien Gandon from France saw one movement as the Austrian Alexander Kopp moved up when the Frenchman Thomas Elissalde dropped a shot to finish -5 (67).

However, Thomas Elissalde did a rapid turnaround and started Round 2 at 9:15am with 5 birdies on the front nine and another 3 on the back nine. He was on the 18th tee when play was suspended at 1:50pm due to thunderstorms. He gave a summary of his day:

 “I was up very early to finish Round 1 and didn’t necessarily do the best on the last holes as I dropped a shot on the 18th after play resumed. But Round 2 was much better where I had good course management, putting and wedging. I love this course and overall am pretty happy with my game”.

He finished the day in the number 2 slot with a -7 (65) for the day and a total 132 (-12) for the two rounds. Joining him in joint second place are the two Austrians who had moved up a shot at the end of Round 1 this morning. The rookie Alexander Kopp, winner of the Pro-am on Wednesday, continued his excellent week. Teeing off from the tenth he did mirror -5 (33) on both nines with a total of 7 birdies and one bogey.  Whilst the Austrian amateur, Maximilian Lechner, teeing off from the first had 6 birdies for just one bogey.

In fifth place behind the leaders is the Italian Jacopo Vecchi Fossa at 133 (-11) after carding a -4 (68) for the day.

Right behind him in joint sixth is a group of four players at 134 (-10) including three Austrian players, Lukas Lipold, Uli Weinhandl, and Lukas Nemecz. However, Lukas is in the clubhouse whilst Uli still has 8 holes to play and Lukas 9 holes, alongwith the fourth member of the group, Englishman, Sam Robinson.

One happy player in the clubhouse today was the Austrian amateur, lady player, Emma Spitz who more than held her own coming in with a -4 (68) for the day to give her an overall 137 (-7) for the two days and placing her in joint 21st position. The Viennese native and winner of the 2018 Girls’ British Amateur Open had a very lucid approach to her game:

“I saw it as a challenge for myself to play from the back tees. It wasn’t even about playing against the guys, it was more about challenging myself. I really tried to focus on my own game, playing it hole by hole, using the birdie opportunities when I had them  and not thinking about what the other guys were doing as they hit the ball so much further than me. My goal wasn’t to make the cut, just to play the best golf I could but to end up making the cut is really cool”.

With play suspended and 69 players still out on the course, we could still be in for some surprises tomorrow. Play will resume at 7:00 am Saturday morning 15th August to finish Round 2. The aim is to then finish the third round, weather permitting. Watch this space!

Results: click here

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13th August 2020 | Alps Tour Golf

Day 1 Play Suspended – Jordi Garcia Del Moral Currently in the Lead

Maria Lankowitz (Austria), August 13, 2020 – Jordi Garcia Del Moral roared back into action with a -12 (60) on the first day of the Alps Tour 2020 season at the Gösser Open here at the Erzherzog Johann Golf Club. He entered the clubhouse before play was suspended due to thunderstorms.

With an incredible 8 birdies and 1 par on the front nine and then another 4 birdies on the back nine, the Spanish player was evidently thrilled with his game:

“To be honest, I think this was my best day on the golf course. I played unbelievably well despite missing a sure putt on the 18th. I’m very happy as I have been working so hard for the last year. All the players, in fact, everyone knows how tough the situation has been with the Covid. It’s good to be back and I’m really excited to be playing a golf tournament again”.

Jordi has battled with injury over the years since damaging his wrist ligaments in 2009 so knows what it takes to rise to a challenge and consequently has just one aim in mind:

“I’m very focussed to get back on the European Tour. That is my main goal. The players are better and better. The level on the Alps Tour and Challenge Tour are incredible and for the European Tour you have to be at the top of your game”.

He also joked about having been finally able to get a decent night’s sleep this week as he became a father for the second time last week.

His Spanish compatriot, Angel Hidalgo Portillo, lies in second position with a -8 (64). He started from the 10th tee and carded two birdies on the front nine. He added four more birdies coming into the club house to finish in style with an eagle 3 on the last hole.

Just behind him at -7 (65) are a group of five players. From Austria, Uli Weinhandl and Lukas Nemecz, the 2017 Gösser Open champion. The only New Zealander on the tour, Shaun Jones is alongside them. Two Italians make up the tally, Andrea Saracino whose last win was at the 2018 Des Iles Borromees Open and Jacopo Vecchi Fossa who was on the 12th when play was suspended so still has leeway to move up the leader board.

One of his playing partners, Thomas Elissalde is in the group of four players close behind at -6 (66). He is joined by his compatriot Sebastien Gandon , Sam Robinson from England, and the Portuguese player, Tomas Bessa Guimaraes.

Play will resume at 7:00 am tomorrow, Friday 14th August. Whilst the temperature will remain warm, there is a strong likelihood of further thunderstorms. Let’s hope they hold off until the evening!


Results Day 1: click here

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11th August 2020 | Alps Tour Golf

Austria Hosts Alps Tour 2020 Season Return

Maria Lankowitz (Austria), August 11, 2020 – The hills will once again be alive with the sound of club heads hitting balls as the Gösser Open stages the long-awaited return of the 2020 Alps Tour following the Covid-19 suspension.

Special thanks should be extended to the staff of the Erzherzog Johann Golf Club and Gerald Stangl representing the Murhofgruppe promotor. Their unrelenting hard work has made the tournament possible under challenging conditions.

With a strict sanitary protocol in place to ensure the safety of players and staff, a full field of 144 players tee off on Thursday here in Austria. There are 119 professionals and 25 amateurs from 16 countries eager to get back into play. A strong Austrian contingent of 48 players is only fitting at this jewel of Styrian golf courses.

Among the Austrian entries is last year’s Gösser Open winner Timon Baltl. He is joined by Lukas Nemecz, who claimed victory here in 2017. But they can expect to face stiff competition from local Styrian hero, Martin Wiegele, winner in 2008.

The Austrians may also have to watch out for their two lady compatriots teeing off against them. Sarah Schober, a professional player on the Ladies EuropeanTour and the amateur player Emma Spitz.

Also participating is another former Gösser Open victor from 2014, the Frenchman Thomas Elissalde.  Whilst the winners of the two Egyptian series tournaments at the beginning of 2020 just prior to the Covid-19 suspension, Stefano Mazzoli from Italy, Red Sea Little Venice champion and the Dutchman, Lars Keunen, victor at the Ein Bay Open, will both be hoping to restart their seasons with another trophy.

Among the seasoned players, rookies, amateurs, and wild card entries is special guest, Barry Lane. Currently playing on the European Senior Tour, with 8 wins to date, Barry has an impressive professional golf career under his belt. Victories on the European Tour, a Ryder Cup appearance and representing England in the World Cup and Alfred Dunhill Cup to name but a few of his achievements. He is also one of the 32 players participating in the Pro-Am tournament at Erzherzog Johann Golf Club on August 12th.

Seasoned Alps Tour players affectionately call this tournament the ‘5th Major’. European Tour player and winner of the Gösser Open in 2016, Matt Wallace, in a recent best wishes message to players said that it was: …”one of my favourite tournaments on the Alps Tour and my best win. Great tournament, great course”.

The course certainly lives up to that nickname. Designed by architect DI Herwig Zisser and opened in 1992 it is located on the edge of a nature reserve in Western Styria, about 40 km from Graz.

The natural architecture of the course respecting the rolling hills, forest and lakes creates an idyllic setting. However, the par 72, 5967 metres /6526 yards course holds some interesting challenges. With numerous doglegs creating blind holes, daring players to play over the trees or play safe, the course requires concentration and accuracy.

The weather conditions for this return to play could be a little unsettled with temperatures in the 20°C but the occasional thunderstorm possible. It just remains to wish everyone a warm welcome back to the tee box and three days of great golf.


Entries: click here

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