28th April 2021 | Alps Tour Golf
Moscatel & Pitoni Joint Leaders Round 1
April 28th, 2021 – Perugia, Italy. After battling the climatic odds and a challenging course, a Spanish-Italian duo, Joel Moscatel and Stefano Pitoni head the leader board on -5 (66) after the first round of the Antognolla Alps Open.
Leader after the morning rounds was Joel Moscatel from Spain with a three-stroke lead at this point:
“I played great today. It was tough at the beginning because of the weather with the rain plus it’s a tricky course. The greens are really difficult. You need to put the ball in the right spot every time. On the front nine I made the first bogey then I started making putts. My wedges were really good today, so I started making birdies. Then on the second nine I didn’t make that many birdies, but I can’t complain because I played them super well so I’m happy”.
Starting from the 10th, the Spanish amateur’s only bogey came on the uphill par 4 14th quickly followed by 4 birdies in a row then 2 more birdies on the back nine.
Stefano Pitoni, an experienced Alps Tour player having won three tournaments in 2016, headed out in the afternoon also from the 10th. He said that the key to his game today was his excellent short game, especially his putting as he sank some long ones. The 7 birdies on his card bear witness, but 2 bogeys on the home nine held him back from the overall lead. He too confirmed that the Antognolla Golf course is very physically demanding and that the rain made the fairway shots particularly difficult.
In third place is Jack Floyd on -3 (68). The Englishman teed off from the 1st in the afternoon and had an unfortunate double bogey on the par 3 3rd caught by the large greenside bunker. However, he got back into gear immediately with a birdie, par and 4 birdies to finish the front nine on 33 (-3). He continued with 2 more birdies coming home but he too saw 2 bogeys snatch a joint lead away.
We then have quite a traffic jam at -2 (69) with a group of 14 players including Jacopo Vecchi Fossa, winner of last week’s Abruzzo Alps Open and Ryan Lumsden, winner of the MIRA Golf Experience Acaya Open last month. Alps Tour tournament winners and former European Tour players, Matteo Manassero and Edouard Espana are there aswell. Two more former champs from Italy, Luca Cianchetti and Andrea Saracino are sitting pretty too. Tom Vaillant the French amateur who had an excellent fourth place finish at the weekend continues to hold his own against the pros.
The difficult playing conditions are supported by the statistics with only 28 players coming in under par, 8 players on par and just 5 eagles out there today. Things do not look set to improve drastically with more rain forecast overnight and tomorrow. The players are going to need resilience and focus to make their mark when they tee off at 7:30am.
Results Round 1: click here
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25th April 2021 | Alps Tour Golf
Antognolla Alps Open Inaugural Tournament
April 25th, 2021 – Perugia, Italy. The fourth tournament of the 2021 Alps Tour season will take place here at the stunning Antognolla Golf. This is the first time that the Umbrian course has hosted the Alps Tour and the unique setting, nestled in a valley with cliff-lined fairways, overlooked by the Antognolla castle dominating the first and last greens, the eighteen-holes promises some memorable shots for the players.
The Robert Trent Jones Jr designed course originally opened in 1998. In 2018 he oversaw a multi-million remodelling that remains true to his philosophy of building courses that commune with their environment. A modern, computer-controlled irrigation system was introduced; a new network of drainage pipes whose water is recycled was installed; all the bunkers were completely redesigned and rebuilt.
For the players, they now face a par 71 championship course whose 6884 yds/6112 m will relentlessly challenge all aspects of their game. Whilst water only comes into play on three holes, the fairways are long, banked and sloping with hidden hazards from the tee box. The greens are undulating, often on two or even three levels, sometimes elevated but always heavily guarded by bunkers. The key to managing the course is distance control.
All three of our previous 2021 tournament winners report present; Abruzzo Alps Open champ, Jacopo Vecchi Fossa who will be hoping to continue his April run of victories in his native Italy; Paul Margolis, the French amateur, who would love to continue his run of firsts after his first pro tournament win at the MIRA Live the Soul Open and his first hole-in-one last week; the Scottish player, Ryan Lumsden who with his MIRA Golf Experience Acaya Open victory would not mind getting another title under his belt.
But as we have seen, the competition is tough this season. Jacopo Vecchi Fossa’s win last week by 3 strokes was the highest difference so far. The previous two tournaments were won by just one stroke with the top five players jostling for position down to the line each time.
Alongside the pros, the amateurs hope to continue to hone their skills, among them Tom Vaillant from France, Joel Moscatel Nachshon from Spain, joint fourth last week and the Italian, Gregorio De Leo. It is also good to see Zeke Martinez back with us. The American member on the European Senior Tour may even have some home knowledge advantage as an Umbrian resident of ten years.
One thing that could make a difference is the weather. Light rain and showers are forecast each morning with possible thunderstorms in the afternoon and slight but variable winds. Just another element to factor into an already imposing test of golf.
Entries: click here
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30th March 2021 | Alps Tour Golf
Paul Margolis Wins the MIRA Live Soul Open
March 30th, 2021 – Lecce, Italy. Yet another suspense-filled finish for the final round of the second tournament of the Alps Tour 2021 Spring Season here at the Acaya Golf Resort where the young French amateur, Paul Margolis edged out Matteo Manassero to win the tournament by one shot at 201 (-12).
Teeing off in the flight ahead of the leader, Margolis had a rock-solid front nine with not a bogey in sight and four birdies to leave the 9th green -11. Behind him yesterday’s leader, Manassero, teed off at the 9th level with the French player. However, a birdie saw him turning for home at -12. Yesterday’s runner-up, Angel Hidalgo Portillo saw the leaders pulling away from him after carding a double-bogey, bogey, and birdie to move back to -6.
Margolis continued his bogey-free run on the back nine with 3 pars and two birdies to be sitting -13 on the 14th. In his rear-view mirror, was Manassero who finished the 14th hole at -12 after one birdie and a bogey. Four holes to go and everything to play for.
Bogey, par, birdie for Margolis to head for the 18th at -13. Bogey, birdie, bogey for Manassero to leave him trailing at -11 on the last hole. Margolis missed his putt to finish with a bogey and headed into the clubhouse at 201 (-12). Everything depended now on Manassero as he had birdied the 18th in the last two rounds in which case, he would have forced a play-off. Unfortunately, today he was not third time lucky and left the green with a par to hand the victory to Margolis.
A fantastic result for the amateur player from the Terre Blanche Golf Resort who just last spring decided to stop his university studies in the USA to devote himself 100% to golf. Currently pre-selected for the French team for next year’s International Amateur Team Championship to be held in France. The MIRA Live the Soul Open is his first professional competition win. When asked how he felt:
” I don’t think it’s sunk in fully yet. It’s hard to take in. I’ve just spent three fantastic weeks here at the Acaya Golf Resort and this last week was particularly emotional. It’s difficult to realise that on just my third start on the Alps Tour I get a win”.
Was he aware of what Matteo Manassero was doing in the flight behind him?
“Not at all. I told myself last night that I had a job to do out here today and that was to hit the best shots I could. I didn’t look at the leaderboard at all and just stayed focussed on my game “.
What are his plans for the future?
” This result may change things a bit. I had planned to play the Alps Tour as an amateur but I think now I may throw myself into it whole-heartedly. I do have a project with the French Golf Federation to play in the International Team Championship next year so I just need to take the time to reorganise my schedule”.
In third place is another amateur, the Italian Gregorio De Leo on 205 (-8) who was the winner of the Italian International Men’s Amateur Championship at the beginning of March.
In fourth place is Angel Hidalgo Portillo from Spain 206 (-7). That keeps him at fourth position on the Order of Merit. Despite having just missed out on victory today, Matteo Manassero now heads the Alps Tour OofM after two tournaments.
The Alps Tour remains in Italy for the month of April with the next stop for the players being the Abruzzo Alps Open at the Miglianico Golf & Country Club in Pescara from 22nd – 24th April 2021.
Final Results: click here
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29th March 2021 | Alps Tour Golf
Manassero the Recidivist Takes the Lead End of Day 2
March 29th, 2021 – Lecce, Italy. Yesterday’s play concluded this morning with no change in the leader at the MIRA Live the Soul Open but by the end of the day Matteo Manassero finds himself in the same position as at last week’s MIRA Golf Experience Acaya Open after thirty-six holes. Ahead by one stroke on 133 (-9), he moved twelve places up the board after shooting a -6 (65) today with 7 birdies and a bogey. A pleasing result for the Italian:
“A very solid round. Well, we’re in the same position as a few days ago, -9 and up on the leader board and that’s obviously a really good feeling but golf is like that! I’m always really focussed on the work I’m doing and on the process of becoming better so those are really good signs that I’m definitely going in the right direction and it’s really good to have another opportunity tomorrow. The last one didn’t go too well. In the end I lost by one shot, so I guess a few putts were the key but it’s always like that. Anyway, it’s really good after that to come and have two really good rounds again and be in a different but similar position and be on the leader board”.
Angel Hidalgo Portillo retains his second place from yesterday on 134 (-8) alongside the Italian Enrico di Nitto. Teeing off at 13:10 Hidalgo kept the suspense going right up to the end. Starting at -6, six birdies and two bogeys saw him approach the 17th at -10 but he concluded the round with two bogeys for a -2 (66) for the round to leave him trailing the leader by one stroke. Di Nitto who was second on the 2019 Alps Tour OofM and now plays on the Challenge Tour scored a -6 (65) to join Manassero with the lowest round of the day. Not having played since November, Di Nito was glad to be back in competition:
“This is a very good place to start. The course is great, conditions are tough and it’s very important to have some tournaments before the start of the season. It was a very, very good day. I had some good feelings and I tried to take them to the course today. I made some great putts and some great shots to the green. On the back nine the wind was picking up a bit, so I had to stay focussed, more so than in the beginning and it paid off”.
Three players share fourth place at 135 (-7) including yesterday’s leader, Cristiano Terragni. The birdies did not fall for him like yesterday and with four bogeys he finished at +1 (72). The Dutch player, Koen Kouwenaar, remains in contention with a -2 (69) after his third position finish yesterday and the French amateur, Paul Margolis remains solid having carded a -3 (68).
Manuel Elvira from Spain also lost a bit of ground today moving from third to seventh after doing par (71) for 137 (-5) whilst two Italian amateurs are right behind him on 138 (-4) Gregorio De Leo and Alessandro Tadini.
The cut came at 144 (+2) with 47 professionals and 9 amateurs going through to tomorrow’s final.
Windy conditions are forecast for Tuesday after two relatively calm days, so anything could happen as we saw last week, here at the Acaya Golf Resort. First flights tee off at 08:00 am from the 1st and 10th with the leaders heading off at 09:39 am.
Round 2 Results: click here
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28th March 2021 | Alps Tour Golf
MIRA Live the Soul Open Suspended due to Darkness
March 28th, 2021 – Lecce, Italy. After the start of play was delayed for an hour this morning due to fog the MIRA Live the Soul Open was suspended this evening at nightfall with four games still out on the course.
Leader in the clubhouse is Cristiano Terragni from Italy. Teeing off from the 10th, he started with a birdie. He followed suit on the 11th negotiating well the scrub and bunkers on the right and the series of ponds on the left. A bogey on the par 4 12th but after that the rest of his round was smooth sailing with 7 more birdies and the rest all par to finish at -8 (63).
“I was pretty relaxed this morning. I tried to stay focussed during the delay. I felt good during the practice round. I was really disappointed in the first tournament playing in the windy conditions and on this course, it was really tough (missed the cut, Ed.) but it probably helped me to see some points of my game that were not at their the best and so I worked on these the last two days. I felt good during the practice round and so I was pretty relaxed this morning. I was maybe lucky in a couple of situations and sometimes luck helps but overall, I’m really happy with my round and I hope to continue like this over the next couple of days”.
Two shots behind him on -6 (65) is Angel Hidalgo Portillo. After his fourth-place last week, the Spaniard looks to be on form this season. Winner of the 2018 Qualifying School, he has consistently finished in the first 20 in the last two seasons. His seven birdies and just one bogey is his best result on the course so far.
In joint third position at -5 (66) we have a quartet of players: Koen Kouwenaar from the Netherlands, Manuel Elvira from Spain, the Portuguese player, Tomas Bessa Guimaraes and the Italian amateur, Gregorio De Leo. The Dutch rookie had a bogey-free round and 5 birdies for a much-improved game on the course and Elvira had his first round under par here at the Acaya Golf Resort, both having missed the cut last week. Bessa Guimaraes was in joint second place heading to the 18th, but a bogey dropped him back a slot. De Leo did 33 on both the front and back nines for his best score to date on the course.
Six players sit at 7th position on -4 (67) including the winner of last week’s Mira Golf Experience Acaya Open, the Scot, Ryan Lumsden and the only other amateur in the top ten, Paul Margolis from France.
Despite the fog this morning the weather conditions were much improved today on last week. This was reflected by the scores with 50 of the players playing to par or under compared to just 18 on the first day last week. However, the wind could pick up again over the next two days.
Play will resume at 7:30 am tomorrow.
Round 1 Results: click here
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26th March 2021 | Alps Tour Golf
Ryan Lumsden Wins the Acaya Open
March 26th, 2021 – Lecce, Italy. It was a thrilling day for the Final Round of the MIRA Golf Experience Acaya Open where the young Scottish player, Ryan Lumsden, finally imposed on 204 (-9), one stroke ahead of the joint runners-up, Matteo Manassero from Italy, and Theo Brizard from France. But the battle went right down to the line.
Lumsden had a bogey-free, round with 5 birdies, but as he headed into the clubhouse, his victory was not assured with two more flights to come in, so a pleasant surprise:
“My win was a little unexpected as I was looking back and seeing great players playing behind. I played solid today. I was quite tidy, but I didn’t think I’d made quite enough birdies. I had a short putt on 18th for birdie, but it just slid by the edge so when that one missed, I thought it might be a struggle. But I definitely had a bit of luck on my side as well”.
The win was even more satisfying as Lumsden has had a tough winter going through tonsilitis, Covid-19 and surgery which meant he only got back to his game recently:
“I got back into golf about a month ago. I flew out to America to train and play a few qualifiers. It was not pretty for that first week as the balls were going everywhere when I hit them but now it feels good as I’ve worked really hard for the last month to get back to a functional level. It feels nice to have that rewarded so quickly and have 2021 get off to a good start”.
Indeed, all eyes were riveted on two flights behind Lumsden and the head-to-head between yesterday’s leader Matteo Manassero and the French amateur Theo Brizard. Teeing off with Manassero on -9 and Brizard on -5, they both started with a birdie on the par 5 dogleg. However, at the end of the first nine, a dazzling performance by Brizard with a total of 7 birdies, a 29 (-7) to open put him at -12. As they headed to the tenth, Manassero was trailing by one shot at -11 after 3 bridies and a bogey.
At this stage, Rumsden, two holes ahead was at -8. Back to even-stevens at -11 on the tenth with par for Manassero and bogey for Brizard. The eleventh posed problems for both players, with a bogey for Manassero (-10) and double bogey for Brizard (-9).
When the pair reached the seventeenth, Rumsden was in the clubhouse with his -9 after a final birdie on the sixteenth. Brizard had clocked up 2 more bogeys and 1 birdie to sit at -8 and finished with a par. Manassero got to the eighteenth green on -9 after 2 bogeys and a birdie and a play-off looked to be in the offing. The final putt proved to be elusive, and bogey left him tied for second place with Brizard.
Rumsden’s win puts him at the top of the Alps Tour Order of Merit 2021 with the amateur Theo Brizard in second place. Third on the OofM is Angel Hidalgo Portillo from Spain who finished fourth today. Next on the OofM are French players Paul Elissade and Edgar Catherine who finished joint fifth today.
Theo Brizard was the highest placed amateur at the tournament, but the top Italian amateur Gregorio de Leo finished a more than respectable sixth.
So, an exciting finish to this opening tournament that augurs well for the rest of 2021. And the season continues rapidly with the MIRA Live the Soul Open here at the Acaya Golf Resort from March 28th-30th. Players will stay on-site, get in some practice and be ready for another tournament on Sunday with a field of 122.
Final Results: click here
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