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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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Celebrating 10 years of golf at Lo Romero

Lo Romero Golf celebrated its 10th Anniversary (2008-2018) on Saturday June 30 and Sunday July 1 by hosting a commemorative tournament. We were able to enjoy a great weekend of golf culminating in festivities to celebrate a decade of work and a great professional effort focusing on offering our players the best golfing experience and aiming to achieve an honest balance between quality and price.

There were two Tournaments which were both well supported featuring 216 players who all enjoyed the Golf Course, which was presented in excellent conditions.

On both days the Tee-Offs began at 8:30 a.m. All the players were welcomed with a special commemorative “Welcome Pack”. During the course of play, two refreshment points were located on the course where players received refreshments and freshly cut melon.  Each player had their game captured with a photograph of their best swing which they collected from the club house as they handed in their score card. Players and guests were treated to a tasty snack of European cheeses and cured ham that was served in the traditional Spanish way.

Scratch Category: Winner: Ricardo Martinez Cereijo

Estrella de Levante, as a supplier to the club wanted, to thank the loyalty of Lo Romero Golf by offering their beer product to all participants. Fresh paella and melon from “Melones el abuelo” was served following the pre-lunch snacks.

The Hole-In-One prize, of a Volkswagen T-Roc, on the 7th Hole, was not won on either of the two days.

On Saturday 91 players took part in a Scratch Stableford format in a non-official tournament, which we wanted to hold, not only to host residents, but also those players without A Spanish Federation License, who visit and are attracted by our climate, gastronomy, culture, and the quality of the golf courses represented on both the ¨Costa Blanca¨ and the neighbouring ¨Costa Calida¨

The prize-giving ceremony was attended by the Hon. Mayor. Don. Igancio Ramos and Don. Antonio Escudero, Sports Councilor for Pilar de la Horadada and Don. Pedro Jiménez as the President of Lo Romero Golf who, together with our suppliers of sports equipment, aimed at highlighting the clubs intentions that the competitiveness is not the main priority but also the friendship that the sport generates in the relationship and cultural exchanges shared in each game.

The dignitaries and ownership were joined by Don. Victoriano Jiménez as General Manager and the management team; of Nigel Hardy, Sergio López and Jesus Granero together with the greenkeeper Manuel Fernández.

Having built Lo Romero Golf in 2008 Don. Victoriano Jimenéz later put value as to what it meant for him and his father that they could continue developing this Project, but now as owners.

 After a making public acknowledgment in front of all those present, that:

“… THE MAJOR ASSET OF OUR COMPANY is that each and every person form a different part of team..” he then complimented the whole team for all their positive considerations and loyalty over the years.

The ceremony was brought to an end by the Hon. Mayor Don. Ignacio Ramos, who reaffirmed the closeness of the council with the sport of golf and more specifically to Lo Romero Golf, who he said were the perfect ambassadors for this municipality and a tourist destination attracted by the passion of golf.

Saturday Winners: Scratch Category: Carl Ejollman,

Closest to the Pin Hole 12: Mikael Pauli and Bob Gallard (tied).

Longest Drive Hole 16:  Carl Fjollman

Sunday Winners: 1st Division Men: Winner: Jose A. Almendro Garne 40 points, Runner-up: Cayetano Sánchez Saez 37 points.                           

2nd Division Men: Winner: Cesar López Guillén 43 points. Runner-Up: Wenceslao Navarro, 38 points.

Ladies Category: Winner: Kruse Benedicte 39 points. Runner-Up: Carmen Cano García 35 points.

Scratch Category: Winner: Ricardo Martinez Cereijo

Closest to the Pin Hole 12: Ofelia González Sequeros

Longest Drive Hole 16:  Sergio Pérez León

Trophy Ayuntamiento Pilar de la Horadada: Peter Bjorby

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Golfers put on a bumper weekend in support of Prostate Cancer UK

After Saturday´s great day of golf Sunday evening was the time for over a hundred supporters to put on their glad rags and head out to Las Ramblas Golf Club in support of the charity Prostate Cancer UK.

Whilst mingling on the terrace prior to the meal guests enjoyed a cava reception before moving through to the main dining room where a three course meal with, plenty of beer and wine, was served by a great team of staff.

John Brownless (UK Ambassador for the charity) addressed the group with a short presentation about Prostate Cancer. This was followed by Jim Scott, auctioneer extraordinaire, who encouraged everyone in the room to dig deep for donated memorabilia and golf equipment.

Thanks must go to all the kind people who donated football shirts, UB40 concert tickets, a Cold Play tour jacket and a Titleist Golf Bag amongst other things. Thanks also to those who generously bid on the items, helping to boost the funds even more.

The auction was followed by a raffle where we must again thank the numerous kind people who donated prizes and purchased tickets

Following a drumroll we then had the announcement of the total amount raised during three days of magnificent efforts by a multitude of supporters, a wopping 7176 € which was immediately handed over PC UK. Quite rightly the announcement was met by rapturous applause (and a few tears), a huge community effort.

What a pity that the charity doesn’t have an arm in Spain so that the money could stay in the country where it was all raised, but with many expats still choosing to travel back to UK for treatment, and with even more of us having relatives that have been directly affected by the disease, in one way or another we will still all benefit wherever we reside.

Thank you to those who supported the fundraising efforts hardly seem enough, but acknowledgements need to go to the following:

Debbie & Dave Euronics Blue Lagoon, Gavin Albatross Golf, John Brownless Prostate Cancer UK,  Alison & Trevor PJ Rental Cars, Richard Morgans No Grow Grass, Simon Williams The Hub Sports Bar, Adrian Rudge, Joaquin & Robin Vista Bella Golf, Alberto & Staff Las Ramblas Golf, John Khan Heatwave Promotions, Jeanette & Dave Gossip Bar Rioja, Richard Welcome Estates La Finca , John Galaxy Golf, Bob Chambers & Team Lighthouse IFA, Drivers Bar Villa Martin, Dave´s Coaches, Yvonne WH Travel, Manisha Indian Restaurant, Market Street San Miguel, Tiger Feet La Fuente, Gleam Team Property, Chemies Lounge Villa Martin, Maria & The Pink Ladies, Spain Property Shop La Fuente, Ken & Aileen, San Miguel GS, Crystals La Fuente, Team Scotland, The non-golfing ladies who helped on Saturday and Sunday AND anyone else we may have missed (sorry)

Prostate Cancer is the third biggest cancer killer in the UK which is why it is so important to raise funds and awareness on the Costa Blanca. We want all golfers to be aware of the disease which kills one man every 45 minutes in the UK. “That’s six men across the average round of golf,” said James Beeby, Director of Fundraising for Prostate Cancer UK.

“Golf is a hugely important audience for us given the average age of men who play the game and sadly prostate cancer is not out of bounds for many of them.

“From tee to green and in the clubhouse afterwards, we want to tackle this issue head on and make sure more men take responsibility of their health – and play a part in saving lives as well.

“We know this is a disease that exists in every golf club, whether that’s in the UK or Spain and there is no doubt that by holding golf days like this, golfers like John and the other members of local societies will play a valuable role in making sure golfers know their risk of prostate cancer, and raise money to fund research.”

To find out more about Prostate Cancer UK’s work in golf, buy a Prostate Cancer UK pin badge, enter the Prostate Cancer UK Golf Championship or go to the website at:

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Rojales honour for Miguel Ángel Jiménez

Miguel Ángel Jiménez has been coming to Rojales for over 26 years where he not only spends his summer holiday but has also promoted the sport of golf by establishing both a charity tournament and youth coaching at the local La Marquesa course.

In the town hall on Saturday the commitment that Jiménez has provided to the town was finally honoured with the award of ‘Adopted Son’, an honour that he said he received “with great pride”.

The mayor said that the townsfolk wanted to thank the golfer for the invaluable work that he has carried out in spreading the name of Rojales across the country.

The presence of Miguel Ángel Jiménez first began in Rojales began more than a quarter of a century ago when he chose the town to relax and to practise for tournaments. In 2000 the golfer suggested that the Rojales golf course introduced the Pro-Am La Marquesa tournament, a charity tournament, which since 2016 has become a Pro-Am as a memorial to Justo Quesada and Josefina, whose fundraising continues to support three local associations. He also launched the Youth Golf Circuit, which now bears his name, and which promotes the Golf Club and Rojales in golf circles throughout Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

Jiménez is one of the most successful golfers on the national scene. He has won more than 20 professional tournaments, including the 2014 Spanish Open and has won four Ryder Cups, one as vice-captain of the European team.

The councillor for Sport in the municipality, Pedro Llopis, said that he is truly an inspirational figure who always promotes the town and his sport in a professional and selfless way.


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20 years ago – Ryder Cup glory at Valderrama

  • Olazábal: “Seve brought to the team the passion he put in everything he did. He expected as much from us as he expected from himself.”
  • “I got emotional when I was asked how I felt at the final press conference. I recalled my recent tough times and I broke down.”

Twenty years ago, the 28th of September 1997 was a milestone in Valderrama history as Seve Ballesteros led Europe to a 14½ – 13½ victory in his home country when golf’s greatest team event was staged in Continental Europe for the first time. That week, the southern Spanish venue hit the headlines worldwide by hosting the world’s third biggest sports event after the Olympics and the World Cup.

28 Sep 1997: European team members Ignacio Garrido, captain Seve Ballesteros, his assistant Miguel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal celebrate with the trophy after victory over the USA in the Johnnie Walker Ryder Cup at the Valderrama Golf Club in Sotogrande in Spain. Mandatory Credit: David Cannon /Allsport

The 32nd Ryder Cup was very special for José María Olazábal. “I have many great memories of that week at Valderrama. To begin with, the beautiful inauguration ceremony, and then the dowpour that fell in the early hours of Friday. According to local statistics it hadn’t rained that week for more than forty years, but that deluge made up for those and for the next forty! 

“It was a very special Ryder Cup for me. After sharing so many with Seve as partners, having him as Captain was a very different feel. Seve was on top of every detail, he expected as much from us as he expected from himself. This made some players a bit uncomfortable, but I believe he did very well. We were close friends and we got on wonderfully.

“He had analysed every aspect of our opponents’ game and he prepared the course so we all had the same opportunities. With the help of Miguel, his right hand, he got the pairings completely right. He brought to the team the passion he put in everything he did – he was a great Captain.

“I clearly remember my Saturday morning four-ball with Nacho Garrido. The key moment was on 17 when we were really struggling against Phil Mickelson and Tom Lehman. Nacho’s second was bunkered past the green while Phil had hit a superb shot to six feet. Nacho’s bunker shot was amazing; the best bunker specialist couldn’t have done it in a hundred tries. He made his putt and Phil missed, so we halved that hole and eventually halved the match. It was an incredible moment.

“I got emotional at the final press conference when they asked me how I felt not having made it to the ’95 Ryder Cup; I recalled the tough times between ’95 and the first part of ’97 and I broke down; I was unable to talk for a while. To be there again on the winning team representing Europe, representing Spain, with Seve as Captain, meant the world to me.”

Olazábal (Hondarribia, Guipúzcoa 5/2/1966) has played several events on the European and Champions Tours this season. The winner of 35 international titles – including two green jackets in 1994 and 1999 – seven-times Ryder Cup player and victorious Captain in 2012, member of the Hall of Fame since 2009, will tee it up at the Andalucía Valderrama Masters from October 19-22, although he admits not being at his best driving form “I am struggling to hit fairways, so I expect to visit all the cork trees again”, he adds with a grin.

Valderrama holds many good memories for the Spanish champion. “My best result was third at the 1989 Volvo Masters won by Ronan Rafferty. Without being long, Valderrama is one of the most demanding courses in the world; technical and narrow with small greens. You must keep perfectly focused from the first tee shot to the last putt. I know no other course that doesn’t allow for a moment of relaxation in 18 holes. It’s a great golf course and always in top condition.”

Images above credited to Getty Images and RC Valderrama

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