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Garcia secures Valderrama hat trick

Sergio Garcia successfully wrapped up his third Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation title with a four-shot victory, after weather delays took the tournament into a fifth day.

The 2017 Masters Tournament winner had been in possession of a three-shot lead when stormy conditions forced play to be suspended on Sunday night after a series of weather delays on the opening three days at Real Club Valderrama had already seen the tournament reduced to 54 holes.

The defending champion – who also won this event in 2011 – powered to victory when play resumed on Monday, carding three birdies and a single bogey in his last 11 holes to finish the week on 12 under par at a course he counts as one of his favourites.

Irishman Shane Lowry recorded his best finish of the season, taking second place at eight under par after a final round 66.

The 31 year old – whose last victory came at the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational – had given Garcia a scare when he closed the gap to a single shot courtesy of three birdies in a row at the start of the back nine, but a double bogey at the short 15th hole halted his challenge.

Finland’s Mikko Korhonen finished two shots further back at six under par, one ahead of England’s Ashley Chesters. Lee Westwood and Maximillian Kieffer of Germany were then at four under par, alongside another local favourite, seven-time European Tour winner Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño, who secured his European Tour card for 2019 with his share of fifth place. 

Scotland’s Richie Ramsay also kept his card after finishing in a share of 11th on two under par to jump up to 115th on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex, with England’s David Horsey clinching the final place.

Player quotes

Sergio Garcia: “To be able to win three times here in Valderrama is a dream come true. It’s so difficult, this golf course is so challenging. For me to be able to shoot three rounds under par with the positions we played all week, all the rain we had, and all the stop and going means a lot. I’m very proud of that.

“I knew the guys would attack, they would be going after me. This is the kind of golf course that if you’re a little bit off you can struggle but if your game is on it gives you a lot of birdie opportunities. Obviously Shane was playing well, he got close to me, then unfortunately he doubled 15 and then I dug up an extra gap with my birdie on 14 and opened it to four.

“Becoming a father changes your life for better and we’ve enjoyed every minute of it.  I am very happy to have Angela and Azalea by my side; it was nice to be able to win it for both of them.”

Shane Lowry: “I was going well yesterday but I came back out this morning on fire as well. Birdied ten, 11 and 12, flying, lipped out on 13 and 14 and then hit the worst shot I’ve hit all year on 15. Made double there, but the positive is that it’s probably the only bad shot I hit in that round.

“A 66 around here and being in contention is pretty good. I’m just disappointed I didn’t put a bit of pressure on Sergio. I had it to within one at one stage and then I made double and he made birdie. That was it. But it’s my best week of the year, serious positives to take from it, and I’ve got a great four weeks coming up now to finish the season.”

Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño: “I’m really, really happy and also quite proud of what I’ve done this week; when I needed to deliver I did, so I’m excited.

“If I had to choose a tournament to keep my card it’s probably this one. It doesn’t particularly suit my game, but it’s a course I know very well, and also I knew the scoring would not be extremely low.

“I’m very excited to be back with full status on the European Tour; it’s always been my home tour and will always be. I’ve been away for a few years trying the American dream, unfortunately it didn’t happen for me, but it’s good to be back. I believe I still have a few years ahead to win tournaments, and hopefully 2019 will be one of them.”

Richie Ramsay: “I didn’t sleep the best but I think I came out and proved a lot to myself, arguably under the most pressure I’ve ever felt coming down the stretch, but it’s a course I love which made it far easier to go out there and play.

“I had some good looks at some great putts on 16 and 17 and then I rolled in a nice little tester at the end from about three feet. A three footer under normal circumstances is very easy, but not when your job is on the line.”

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Home players hone their skills ahead of Valderrama

Seventeen Spanish players will tee it up at the Andalucía Valderrama Masters

Sergio García will lead the Spanish contingent next Thursday as the Andalucía Valderrama Masters gets underway with the support of the Council of Tourism and Sport of the Junta de Andalucía. Tournament host García is set to defend the title he won last year, in the wake of becoming the all-time European Ryder Cup points leader in Paris last month.

He will be joined by double Masters winner José María Olazábal (1994 and 1999), as well as compatriots Pep Anglés, Jorge Campillo, Alejandro Cañizares, Nacho Elvira, Scott Fernández, Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño, Sebastián García, Ángel Hidalgo, Pablo Larrazábal, Pedro Oriol, Carlos Pigem, Álvaro Quirós, Eduardo de la Riva, Santiago Tarrio and Samuel del Val.

There is much at stake in this Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio García Foundation, the last European Tour event of the season to be played in European soil, with a prize fund of two million euro. For Jorge Campillo it will be the opportunity to cap off a great season. After six top-5 and ten top-20 finishes, Campillo is seen as a strong challenger for the title. Nacho Elvira and Pablo Larrazábal will look to consolidate their position inside Europe’s top 60 in order to secure their spot at the Race to Dubai’s final event.

Other participants, such as Alejandro Cañizares, Scott Fernández, Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño, Pedro Oriol or Álvaro Quirós, will need a great performance this week to keep their playing rights. In any case, it will be a crucial week for the home contingent as they enjoy the full support of thousands of Spanish fans.

One of the more excited participants ahead of the event is sure to be a young player from Málaga, Angel Hidalgo, who makes his professional debut invited by the organizers after a great amateur career: 2016 International Spanish Champion sub-18, 2017 Europe Team Champion, 2016 and 2018 Spanish Champion. Hidalgo turned professional this month. 

A very special Pro-Am

The Andalucía Valderrama Masters Pro-Am will be an unforgettable experience for a group of young promising golfers from Andalucía. The Andalusian Golf Federation, one of the tournament sponsors, has offered six spots in the Pro-Am to the current boy and girl champions of Andalusia by age groups. These kids that train and dream of becoming top golfers will have a chance to share a round with their heroes on Wednesday.

Other young fans at tomorrow’s Pro-Am will be pupils from Club de Golf La Cañada’s Junior Golf School. A total of 30 pupils divided into groups will follow the Spanish pros.

Healthy golf – Walk & Win

Spectators attending the Andalucía Valderrama Masters on Saturday are invited to join the Walk & Win event, a ground-breaking European Tour initiative supported by QuirónSalud with the purpose of promoting healthy lifestyle habits amongst golf fans.

Every spectator will be offered a Walk & Win participation card at the entrance of Real Club Valderrama. In order to participate, they must follow the established route as they enjoy watching the action. They will have their card stamped when they pass by the 5th hole and again on the 13th, and will eventually hand it in at the QuirónSalud tent after having walked a total of over three and a half miles.

 

Tickets for the 2018 Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation start at €15 for the Pro-Am on Wednesday October 17, €20 for Thursday and Friday and €30 on Saturday and Sunday. Children aged under 14 are admitted to the event free of charge when accompanied by a ticket holding adult. Tickets are available now HERE

The Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio García Foundation is sponsored by the Council of Tourism and Sport of the Junta de Andalucía through the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union, with the added institutional support of the Diputación de Cádiz, the San Roque City Council, the Royal Andalusian Golf Federation and the Marbella City Council. It also enjoys the support of La Reserva de Sotogrande, Rolex, Heineken, Dubai Duty Free, Santander Private Banking, Shell, Exterior Plus and Samsic Iberia. Only Water, Grupo Hospitalario Quirónsalud, Coca-Cola, Varma, Korporate Technologies Group and Volvo are official suppliers.

www.andaluciavalderramamasters.com

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Harrington joins field for Valderrama

Three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington has become the latest addition to the field at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation, as the Irishman targets a place in the final Rolex Series events of the 2018 Race to Dubai.

Harrington has been on a strong run of form of late, with three top tens in his past five events, and he made a late decision to travel to the Andalucia region of Spain in order to build on that momentum on a golf course upon which he has enjoyed some strong results.

Pep Anglés©RC Valderrama

The Dubliner has a string of good performances at the famous venue of The 1997 Ryder Cup, including a runner-up finish in the Volvo Masters in 1999 and a top five in the 2000 WGC-American Express Championship.

Having registered a top 30 finish last year as his fellow Major winner Sergio Garcia claimed a glorious victory, Harrington is relishing the opportunity to return to the renowned Robert Trent Jones Sr-designed course.

“Valderrama is one of the best golf courses we have in Europe,” said Harrington, who was one of the five Vice Captains in the winning European team for The 2018 Ryder Cup. “It’s a great tournament venue and a really good course to play.

“I’m just outside the automatic qualifying spots for the Turkish Airlines Open, so I need to make a few more points to get to Turkey. So it’s a great opportunity for me to go to a course I’m very familiar with, and get a bit of sun on my back too, so I’m looking forward to it.

“My form has been good, so hopefully I can take that form into the week, because I certainly need a decent performance. I thought I would finish better at Walton Heath but I left a few shots out on the golf course. Hopefully I can play well this week at Valderrama and get the points that I need.”


José Mari Olazábal©RC Valderrama

Last year, Garcia delighted Spanish fans with an emotional victory in Sotogrande, as he sealed his third win of the season to add to his maiden Major title at Augusta National as well as the Omega Dubai Desert Classic trophy.

Garcia will return to defend his title as he plays for the first time since becoming the record points-scorer in The Ryder Cup, beating Sir Nick Faldo’s record by a half a point with a total of 25.5.

Harrington also joins the victorious 2018 Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjørn in the field, as well as two more of the Vice Captains – 23-time European Tour winner Lee Westwood and another former European Tour Number One Robert Karlsson.

This year’s tournament, which takes place from October 18-21, will once again be sponsored by the Autonomous Government of Andalusia with the support of the Sergio Garcia Foundation.

The Spaniard set up his charitable foundation in 2002 for the purpose of contributing to the social inclusion of economically-deprived children through social assistance benefits and the practice of sport as free-time activity.

Tickets for the 2018 Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation start at €15 for the Pro-Am on Wednesday October 17, €20 for Thursday and Friday and €30 on Saturday and Sunday. Children aged under 14 are admitted to the event free of charge when accompanied by a ticket holding adult. Tickets are available now HERE

The Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio García Foundation is sponsored by the Council of Tourism and Sport of the Junta de Andalucía through the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union, with the added institutional support of the Diputación de Cádiz, the San Roque City Council and the Royal Andalusian Golf Federation. It also enjoys the support of La Reserva de Sotogrande, Rolex, Heineken, Dubai Duty Free, Santander Private Banking, Shell, Exterior Plus and Samsic Iberia. Only Water, Grupo Hospitalario Quirónsalud, Coca-Cola, Varma and Korporate Technologies Group are official suppliers.

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Captain Bjørn brings Ryder Cup fever to Valderrama

Victorious Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjørn will be reunited with Europe’s all-time leading Ryder Cup points scorer when he tees it up at the Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation on October 18-21, 2018.

Bjørn will join defending champion Garcia at Real Club Valderrama just three weeks after captaining Europe to a 17.5 – 10.5 win over the United States in Paris, where the 2017 Masters Tournament winner overtook Sir Nick Faldo at the top of the European points list.

As well as seeing Bjørn and Garcia in action, fans will also have the opportunity to get up close to the famous Ryder Cup trophy, which will be on site throughout tournament week.

TADWORTH, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 10: Thomas Bjorn of Denmark in action during the Hero Pro Am prior to the start of the British Masters supported by Sky Sports at Walton Heath Golf Club on October 10, 2018 in Tadworth, England. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

It will be a third appearance at the Andalucía Valderrama Masters for the Dane, who has an impressive record at the event, finishing in fifth position in 2010, followed by a 15th place finish the following year. Real Club Valderrama has added significance as the venue where Bjørn made his Ryder Cup debut in 1997 as part of the team – captained by the late, great Seve Ballesteros – which won the first of the biennial events to be held in continental Europe. 

Bjørn said: “This is a tournament where I have played well in the past and I’m looking forward to coming back to Real Club Valderrama next week. It’s a place that holds Ryder Cup memories for so many people, myself included, and it will be quite special to see the trophy back where I made my debut as a player.

“It will be great to be a part of what is a big week for Sergio both as host and defending champion, as he returns to home soil after making Ryder Cup history. The last few weeks have been a lot of fun for all of us involved in the win at Le Golf National, and now I’m looking forward to playing golf in this fantastic venue again.”

Tickets for the 2018 Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio García Foundation are available HERE. Children under 14 are admitted to the event free of charge when accompanied by a ticket-holding adult.

PARIS, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 30: Captain Thomas Bjorn of Europe holds The Ryder Cup trophy as The European Team celebrate victory following the singles matches of the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National on September 30, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

The Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio García Foundation is sponsored by the Council of Tourism and Sport of the Junta de Andalucía through the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union, with the added institutional support of the Diputación de Cádiz, the San Roque City Council and the Royal Andalusian Golf Federation. It also enjoys the support of La Reserva de Sotogrande, Rolex, Heineken, Dubai Duty Free, Santander Private Banking, Shell, Exterior Plus and Samsic Iberia. Only Water, Grupo Hospitalario Quirónsalud, Coca-Cola, Varma and Korporate Technologies Group are official suppliers.

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Dreaming of Valderrama

  • Three Spanish European Tour winners in 2018 – Adrián Otaegui, Pedro Oriol and Scott Fernández – look forward to the last regular event of the season.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 

All eyes will be turned towards Valderrama from October 18-21 as a strong Spanish field gathers for the Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio García Foundation. This is the last regular event of the 2018 season which is open to all European Tour members, and it carries a particular significance for the home contingent led by tournament host Sergio García.

Pedro Oriol y Scott Fernández European Team Championships2018
©Getty Images

Otaegui, Oriol and Fernández cannot wait for the action to begin.

Adrián Otaegui: “Playing at Valderrama is awesome”

25-year-old Otaegui, currently playing his fifth full European Tour season, is enjoying his best year up to date well positioned in the upper half of the Race to Dubai. After winning the Belgian Knockout in May, his second European Tour title, he sets his aims high for Valderrama where he finished tied 12th in last year’s edition.

“Valderrama is one of the courses I enjoy the most and my favourite course in Spain for sure. It’s always in top condition. Playing at Valderrama is awesome; you need to bring your best game in order to score decently and that’s a big motivation for me.

“It’s a challenging layout with no room for error. The greens are small, so accuracy is key both off the tee and approaching the green; you need to find the right angle when attacking the pins and try to leave yourself uphill putts. It’s a thinker’s course, but strategy can vary from day to day depending on the wind and the course setup. It’s a course you need to know, and the more you play it the more you’re going to learn from it. I have been lucky enough to play it many times, so I can benefit from that experience.

“Valderrama has so many good holes that I can’t pick the best one. I particularly like the par threes. The 6th had a very steep green, but it has been flattened a bit; the 12th is a strong par three; and the 15th is also a great hole.”

Pedro Oriol: “If you play well at Valderrama, you will play well anywhere in the world”

Oriol earned his 2018 playing rights on the European Tour by finishing 10th in the Challenge Tour rankings. Earlier in 2017 he collected his first Challenge Tour title in the prestigious Rolex Trophy.

Pedro enters the final stretch of the season boosted by his victory in the European Golf Team Championships together with partner Scott Fernández, and looks to end the season strongly in a venue that means a lot to him.

“I always think of Valderrama as my preferred golf course for many reasons: for its history – Ryder Cup, Volvo Masters, WGC events; for its great champions – Seve and now Sergio; for the iconic 17th. But also because every single shot you hit at Valderrama is a challenge. Every swing must be pinpoint accurate. Tight fairways lined by cork trees; small, fast and slopey greens; thick rough and relentless wind make a true test of golf. Mi favourite hole is the 15th, and if the pin is tucked back right it’s just perfect for my fade. I love the sight of the green as it stretches downhill to the right, well defended by bunkers on both sides.

“Every time you tee it up at Valderrama, both in competitive and friendly rounds, you get a feeling of maximum challenge, and that is invaluable for a professional because you learn so much. If you play well at Valderrama, you will play well anywhere in the world. We in Spain are very lucky to have a world-class venue like Valderrama, and we owe it in great measure to Jaime Ortiz-Patiño. Personally, I am most thankful for being allowed to enjoy the facilities of this wonderful club and made feel at home whenever I come to this area.

“Last year I was busy fighting for my European Tour card on the Challenge Tour so I missed out on the Andalucía Valderrama Masters. I feel honoured and excited to play this year and look forward to a good week. I’ve heard that this event might be included in the Rolex Series. Hopefully that will happen soon and Valderrama will continue to host spectacular tournaments.”

Scott Fernández: “I couldn’t think of a better place than Valderrama to start my professional career”

In his first full European Tour season, Fernández will return to Valderrama where he made his professional debut. After winning gold for Spain paired with Oriol at the European Team Championships, he looks forward to retaining his tour card in his native Andalusia.

“I am excited to play the Andalucía Valderrama Masters, a great event that makes me proud both as a Spaniard and as an Andalusian. I played my first professional tournament at Valderrama – the 2016 Open de España – thanks to an invite from Sergio García. I am really grateful to Sergio because I couldn’t think of a better place to start my professional career than the course that hosted the Ryder Cup in Andalusia, my homeland.

“My first European Tour event as a spectator was the 2006 or 2007 Volvo Masters. I went with my father, and I remember watching Sergio and all the top players. I was impressed by the sound of the shots amongst the cork trees and by the view of the greens from the fairways and the tees.

“If I must choose two holes at Valderrama I would go for the 17th and the 15th, but I really like them all. The 15th is a tough par three with a stunning view. I have noticed some changes on the greens, which are now fairer and allow for more pin positions. The 11th, tough still narrow, has been widened to the left, which gives a little bit more space and creates an interesting pin option behind the bunker. The 16th used to be surrounded by rough, but now the front of the green has been left open.

“I love this course because you really have to think your way through every hole. Strategy is key for dealing with these swirling winds, so I have more or less planned my strategy for each type of wind. It’s a super golf course that tests every aspect of your game. I have been lucky to play it several times and to practice some days during the winter, so I would like to thank the club management for their hospitality.”

Tickets for the 2018 Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio García Foundation are available HERE. Children under 14 are admitted to the event free of charge when accompanied by a ticket holding adult.

The Andalucía Valderrama Masters – a Race to Dubai event – is sponsored by the Council of Tourism and Sport of the Junta de Andalucía and supported by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund), La Reserva de Sotogrande, Rolex, Heineken, Dubai Duty Free, Diputación de Cádiz, Shell, Exterior Plus and Santander Private Banking. Only Water, Quirónsalud and Korporate Technologies Group are official suppliers.

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Golf – The Leader Newspaper 2017-11-27 16:10:28

The Sergio García Foundation donation to Hospital Universitario La Paz

  • The Madrid hospital will allocate the donation of 123,116.39 euros to a project to humanise the X-ray unit in the children’s area. 

Madrid, Monday November 27, 2017.- The Sergio García Foundation has donated all the funds raised at the Andalucía Valderrama Masters to Madrid’s Hospital Universitario La Paz to support an interior design project aiming to humanise the X-ray unit in the children’s area.

Antonio García, Sergio’s uncle and responsible for the Foundation, presented the cheque to doctors Javier Cobas, Children and Maternal Hospital Deputy Manager; Rafael Pérez-Santamarina, Hospital Manager; María Pilar Moreno Anaya, Central Services Deputy Director; Gonzalo Garzón, Head of Radiology; Esther Rey, Nursing Director; and Eduardo López Collazo, Director of the Research Institute.

The unit will be redesigned into a welcoming, bright and relaxing environment through the choice of appropriate materials, colours and images. In addition to caring for individuals, the project is environmentally friendly, as the improved lighting system will result in a 60 percent saving in power consumption.

“We are all very excited with this project, which is an area of real need. We have invested in equipment recently, but we lack infrastructure, and children must also be separated from adults,” explained Dr. Cobas. 

“The renovation will take about three months since we cannot stop our activity. Our children’s hospital, considered as number one in Europe, is well equipped with 240 beds and receives 9,000 patients per year, as the only hospital that can provide all medical and surgical specialties, allowing all types of pediatric transplants to be performed.”

The Sergio García Foundation donates funds raised at the Andalucía Valderrama Masters to Hospital Universitario La Paz   •The Madrid hospital will allocate the donation of 123,116.39 euros to a project to humanise the X-ray unit in the children's area.   Video Sergio García Foundation  Madrid, Monday November 27, 2017.- The Sergio García Foundation has donated all the funds raised at the Andalucía Valderrama Masters to Madrid’s Hospital Universitario La Paz to support an interior design project aiming to humanise the X-ray unit in the children's area.   Antonio García, Sergio’s uncle and responsible for the Foundation, presented the cheque to doctors Javier Cobas, Children and Maternal Hospital Deputy Manager; Rafael Pérez-Santamarina, Hospital Manager; María Pilar Moreno Anaya, Central Services Deputy Director; Gonzalo Garzón, Head of Radiology; Esther Rey, Nursing Director; and Eduardo López Collazo, Director of the Research Institute.   The unit will be redesigned into a welcoming, bright and relaxing environment through the choice of appropriate materials, colours and images. In addition to caring for individuals, the project is environmentally friendly, as the improved lighting system will result in a 60 percent saving in power consumption.   “We are all very excited with this project, which is an area of real need. We have invested in equipment recently, but we lack infrastructure, and children must also be separated from adults,” explained Dr. Cobas.     “The renovation will take about three months since we cannot stop our activity. Our children’s hospital, considered as number one in Europe, is well equipped with 240 beds and receives 9,000 patients per year, as the only hospital that can provide all medical and surgical specialties, allowing all types of pediatric transplants to be performed.”    For Sergio García, “Winning the Andalucía Valderrama Masters was an incredible feeling, I’m still over the moon. It was a great event for many reasons: Valderrama is one of my favourite courses, I played really well and felt confident, kept patient and waited for my chances; Joost (Luiten) played unbelievable and did not make it easy for me, and the support from the spectators was awesome.   “When I was presented with the project of humanising the X-ray unit, I really liked the idea. I am very happy because we have contributed to make a dream come true for the patients and their families, through the event and my Foundation”.    The third edition of the Andalucía Valderrama Masters took place from October 19-22 as Garcia secured his third win in a season where he achieved a career ambition by sealing his maiden Major title at the Masters Tournament.   García set up his charitable foundation in 2002 for the purpose of contributing to the social inclusion of economically-deprived children through social assistance benefits and the practice of sport as free-time activity. The Foundation supports, on a regular or an occasional basis, a large variety of NGOs and humanitarian associations.   Through his foundation, Sergio has been one of the key drivers of Spanish adaptive golf. Together with the Deporte y Desafío Foundation, they conducted 23 adaptive golf clinics throughout Spain attended by more than 700 disabled persons.    The Andalucía Valderrama Masters was sponsored by the Autonomous Government of Andalusia with the support of Rolex, Volvo, Solán de Cabras, Heineken and Osborne.
The Sergio García Foundation donates funds raised at the Andalucía Valderrama Masters to Hospital Universitario La Paz

For Sergio García, “Winning the Andalucía Valderrama Masters was an incredible feeling, I’m still over the moon. It was a great event for many reasons: Valderrama is one of my favourite courses, I played really well and felt confident, kept patient and waited for my chances; Joost (Luiten) played unbelievable and did not make it easy for me, and the support from the spectators was awesome.“When I was presented with the project of humanising the X-ray unit, I really liked the idea. I am very happy because we have contributed to make a dream come true for the patients and their families, through the event and my Foundation”.

The third edition of the Andalucía Valderrama Masters took place from October 19-22 as Garcia secured his third win in a season where he achieved a career ambition by sealing his maiden Major title at the Masters Tournament.

García set up his charitable foundation in 2002 for the purpose of contributing to the social inclusion of economically-deprived children through social assistance benefits and the practice of sport as free-time activity. The Foundation supports, on a regular or an occasional basis, a large variety of NGOs and humanitarian associations.

Through his foundation, Sergio has been one of the key drivers of Spanish adaptive golf. Together with the Deporte y Desafío Foundation, they conducted 23 adaptive golf clinics throughout Spain attended by more than 700 disabled persons.

The Andalucía Valderrama Masters was sponsored by the Autonomous Government of Andalusia with the support of Rolex, Volvo, Solán de Cabras, Heineken and Osborne. 

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Rham excited by home debut at Valderrama

“I look forward to playing in front of the Spanish fans.”

“Valderrama is one of the best layouts I have ever played”.

“What is happening this season is past my wildest dreams”.

Jon Rham will make his first professional appearance on Spanish soil at the third edition of the Andalucía Valderrama Masters, hosted by the Sergio García Foundation and sponsored by the Autonomous Government of Andalusia, from October 19-22. Rham currently ranks 5th in the OWGR and in the FedEx Cup, and 3rd in the Race to Dubai in his impressive rookie season. He won the Farmers Insurance Open, his maiden PGA Tour title, in January. In July he earned his first European Tour victory by winning the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open by six strokes.

The Spanish rising talent (born in Barrika, Vizcaya 10/11/1994) is relishing his home debut. “I really look forward to playing in front of the Spanish fans. Right after the Irish Open I went to Valderrama to practice for October. I felt a big sense of anticipation as I teed up on the first hole. I wish to encourage everyone to come and support us and watch some great golf. If the public enjoys it, we will enjoy it.

“My first round at Valderrama was five years ago when I played the Sotogrande Cup with the Spanish national team. It was a different experience because my game has changed a lot since then. I remember playing in a gale.

“Valderrama is one of the best layouts I have ever played. It is visually attractive and wonderfully maintained. Golf courses don’t need to measure 10,000 yards to be challenging. I find Valderrama very exciting and a good test. You really have to think your way through and play all kinds of shots. Mistakes can be costly, so it keeps you on your toes.”

Jon was two when Valderrama staged the Ryder Cup; his father Edorta recalls how the 1997 showdown introduced golf to his family: “We are a group of friends from Bilbao who enjoy a lot of sports together, particularly skiing. Two of our gang were invited to the ’97 Ryder Cup. They had no idea of golf, but they returned home full of enthusiasm. Two years later, Eduardo Celles opened his golf academy in Bilbao and we all started taking lessons. My wife Ángela, and our sons Jon and Eriz took up golf in 2003.” 

The family became so addicted to golf that they took a week’s vacation every year to go to Valderrama for the Volvo Masters. Jon has vivid childhood memories of those tournaments where the trophies he collected on the course were the autographs of his idols.

“I remember my first visit with my father during the 2007 Volvo Masters. The first player we saw was Thomas Björn on the 7th. Then we went to the first to watch Poulter and Sergio tee off. We followed Poulter who played a great shot on the first. I went ahead of my dad and was lucky enough to see Justin Rose ace the 3rd, but my dad didn’t see it. We followed Poulter along the 4th and we waited for Colin Montgomerie on the 5th. The next thing I remember is the 17th, a great hole. You need a perfect drive to a tight fairway and then you are facing a daunting second – it reminds me slightly of the 15th at Augusta.

“On the 18 green I got my shirt signed by Nick Dougherty, Paul Casey and Miguel Ángel, but I don’t think he remembers. Harrington had won the Open Championship that year and I asked him for his cap but he couldn’t give it to me. I didn’t bring home any balls, hats nor gloves, only my shirt with six signatures on it. We went from there to the putting green and to the driving range to see some more golf.”

Ten years after collecting those autographs, Jon returns to Valderrama as one of the world’s top players. “In October I will be proud to play my first professional event in Spain. I look forward to playing the Andalucía Valderrama Masters in front of my home crowd and will do my best to give a good show.

“The boy that went to Valderrama in 2007 is still there, with the same dreams and the same ambition. I am extremely fortunate that my dreams are coming true, but this year feels more like a Steven Spielberg film – winning at Torrey Pines and again in Ireland the way I did doesn’t even happen in the wildest dreams.”

Edorta Rham shares the same feeling. “I never imagined that Jon would get so far so fast. You dream that your son will make it, but being realistic, we insisted that he should complete his studies. I only started to believe that the dream could come true in 2015, when he finished 5th at the Phoenix Open playing under an invite as the leading world amateur.

“All our family and friends will go to the Andalucía Valderrama Masters – we are looking forward to a great week.”

www.andaluciavalderramamasters.com/en

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