2018 Grand Finals & Masters Review: Quinta Do Lago
The last time Greencard visited Quinta do Lago for the Finals week was 2015 and we were looking forward to returning to this excellent venue. We were once again staying in the Monte da Quinta Suites, which are located very close to the Quinta do Lago North and South courses.
Good Luck Message from Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley
The golf programme for the week would include two rounds on Quinta South and Laranjal with the final round taking place on the Paul McGinley’s recently remodelled Quinta do Lago North. Indeed, we met Paul in Turkey on our recent visit there and he was kind enough to wish all our participants the best of luck in the season finale.
Team MorganTraff Impress Show Great Form in AMAM
We started the week with the usual AM AM event which was held on the Quinta South course. Jez Morgan, Debbie Morgan and Anthony Trafford came out on top with a superb score of 91 points. Hugh Goldstein, Stella Goldstein, John Jagger and Jane Jagger took second place with 84.
Following the opening round the group were split into the Greencard Masters and Greencard Tour event, which included all those who had qualified from the Tour Points and Order of Merit Lists. The remaining four rounds would be stableford format. By the end of the week we would know the overall winners of the 2018 Greencard Tour and Masters.
The weather forecast for the week appeared to be good with sunshine and cloud. The odd shower threatened but ultimately these only appeared during the night and so playing conditions were excellent.
1st Round: Tony Negal Sets Early Pace at Spectacular Laranjal Golf
The first round of the main event was held at Laranjal. This Opened in 2009 this was voted Best Golf Course at the 2011 Portuguese Travel Awards. Boasting spectacular fairways and well-defined greens, Laranjal is renowned for its five beautiful lakes, umbrella pines, cork-oaks and orange trees. Its distinctive rolling terrain has been expertly designed and manicured to provide a world-class golfing experience.
In the Tour, Tony Negal made an excellent start with 39 points. Neil Gillam was just two back on 37 whilst Neil McGarva was lying third on 35. In the Masters, it was Bob Kerr making the headlines with 37 points, he was hoping to defend the title he won last year in La Manga. Janette Roe was in second place on 33 and James Fielding was one back on 32.
Round 2: Quinta Do Lago – One Shot Lead at Halfway
We returned to Quinta do Lago South for the second round. This is the crown jewel of Quinta do Lago. It was designed in 1974 by William Mitchell, who introduced American-standard greens, tees and bunkers to the Algarve. Soon the course gained a prestigious reputation and subsequently hosted the Portuguese Open eight times.
Ian Harris found his form coming in with the day’s best score in the Tour of 36 points moving him into fourth position. Jim Barton’s 35 elevated him into the top six, whilst Neil Gillam’s 35 confirmed second place. However, at the half way mark Tony Negal was top of the pack with a total of 73 points giving him a one shot lead.
In the Masters, Tony Wells’s superb 36 points proved enough to move him into a tie for the lead with Bob Kerr, with both players lying on 67 points. Janette Roe consistency was paying dividends after successive 33 points gave her third position. James Fielding shot 30 and was in fourth.
The free day followed, allowing some of the group to have an additional round on Quinta North, whilst others enjoyed the hotel facilities or simply relaxed in the beautiful weather.
Round 3: Ian Harris Continues Fine Form at Laranjal
However, we were soon back in action with the third round being held at Laranjal. Ian Harris made the most of the perfect playing conditions with a wonderful 40 points. It would move him up the leaderboard again into second place. Tony Negal shot 32 but dropped down into third place. Neil Gillam had another solid round and his 36 points ensured that he would have a one point lead going into the final round.
In the Masters, Bob Kerr was looking unbeatable after his 36 gave him a total of 103 and a seven point lead going into the final round. Leading the chasing pack was Gail Hegarty and Brian Haynes both on 96. Janette Roe was one further back on 95. It would take a superb effort from one of these players to catch the in form defending champion.
Round 4: Quinta Do Lago North
The final round was played at Quinta do Lago North, this was totally redesigned in 2014, by renowned architect Beau Welling, in conjunction with former European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley. The new layout has been built to the highest specifications, with an investment of €9million.
Golfers are challenged by a combination of undulating greens, well-positioned bunkers and water hazards. A low-cut Bermuda grass approach has been introduced around greens to create recovery shot options, therefore encouraging all levels of play.
Masters: Bob Kerr Falters Over Opening Nine
The Masters played ahead of the Tour. Clearly the favourite to win the event prior to the fourth round was Bob Kerr, however, his front nine of 14 was his lowest of the week. Both Brian Haynes and Gail Hegarty were not really making any ground scoring 15 and 14 respectively. Janette Roe was the one on the move, starting the day 8 behind the leader, she had cut this gap to 5 by the turn.
Bob was not only trying to defend his title but do it on a wire to wire basis. Janette Roe kept piling on the pressure and overcoming very tricky pin positions on the back nine to score a tremendous 21 points and 38 for the round. Bob Kerr had to use all his experience to hang on. His 17 points on the back nine gave him a 31 for the day and an overall event total of 134, just one ahead of Janette Roe.
It was a fine victory and one which went down to the final hole. Brian Haynes came third on 129, six ahead of Tony Wells in fourth. Gail Hegarty, had a great week and eventually finished in fifth place.
Finals: Neil Gillam Holds One Point Lead on 18th Tee
As the Masters finished, the Tour players started to come in and gather around the 18th green to watch the leaders complete their rounds. This was always going to be a close affair as it had been all week. The final hole is a par 5, which was playing quite short. Back on the tee, Tony Negal was just one behind Neil Gillam and he knew that a birdie would probably be the only way to catch the leader. Unfortunately, he pushed his tee shot, putting him out of position. In trying to recover his approach shot landed to the left of the green and he was unable to make the up and down. His 31 gave him an overall total of 136 points, which would eventually secure second place.
Neil Gillam Crowned Champion Golfer Again
Meanwhile, Neil Gillam’s tee shot finished in the middle of the fairway and his approach landed at the back of the green. A few minutes later he was tapping in for a well deserved par and a round total of 34. It brought his overall total to 142 and victory by six shots. This was NNeil’s second Tour Finals win, the first coming in 2002.
Ian Harris finished the week in third place on 135 and Neil McGarva came fourth on 132.
Huge congratulations to Neil Gillam and Bob Kerr on their fine wins. It’s the end of another season which has seen us travel to some of the best golf destinations across the golfing globe, attention now turns to the 2019 events which start with our New Year event in a few weeks time. Greencard Golf would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas period and look forward to seeing you all next season.
2018 Greencard Golf Tour – Final Leaderboards
|Name||Total Points||H’cap||Rnd 1||Rnd 2||Rnd 3||Rnd 4|
|Name||Total Points||H’cap||Rnd 1||Rnd 2||Rnd 3||Rnd 4|