4th February 2015 | Alps Tour Golf
Winter Series in Egypt
Alps Tour will open its season in Egypt as in 2013 and 2014. But relationships with this friendly country and representatives have grown and there will be 3 events from February the 17th to March the 4th.
Alps Tour players are now used to fly to Cairo to avoid European low temperatures and to warm up in Egypt after winter break. Sokhna Golf Club is pleased, once again, to host the Red Sea El Ein Bay Open from the 17th to the 19th of February and the Red Sea Little Venice Open from the 23rd to the 25th of February. The resort on the courses offers great facilities to practice and to relax after golfing day. All former players of the event know that Egyptian hospitality is high ranked on this part of the Red Sea.
A third event will be played near Cairo and Dreamland Golf Club will host the inaugural Dreamland Pyramids Open from the 2nd to the 4th of March. The 7200 yard back tee course will be a real test for the players.
20th February 2014 | Alps Tour Golf
Brown captures third Alps Tour crown in Egypt
England’s Steven Brown overtook the overnight leaders, Virto and Etchart, to win the Red Sea El Ain Bay Open by one shot thanks to solid flawless 66 6-under-par last round for -10 total.
The 26 year old player whose home club is Wentworth, is one of the 2013 Alps Tour graduates. He had two victories last year and one top 3 to finish at third place behind compatriot Jason Palmer and France’s Edouard Espana.
« I was relaxed playing here at the beginning of the week as I will play Challenge Tour this season. But today, when I saw I was only 3 behind, I started to feel a little pressure because I wanted to catch them up. Last time I won when I was not leading (France 2013) I finished my round more than 2 hours before the leaders. This time I was in the fourth group.
I did not want to know what was the score. On the last green, I could not avoid to see it but I am working with a psychologist since a few weeks and we decided I should stay focus to the things I can influence, my routine for example. I played really solid today and I holed good putts. A win is always nice even if Alps Tour is not my circuit anymore. It is a nice way to start a season. »
Brown was very efficient from tee to green today and his putter did a wonderful to reduce, step by step, the distance to the top of the leaderboard. Borja Virto and him were neck and neck almost all round as Virto dropped two shots on the fourth. Brown holed a precious last birdie on the 17th after brilliant bunker shot. A few minutes later, Virto dropped a shot on the 16th to finally gain two strokes on the last two holes and to finish -9.
« I am happy with this last putt, it was a great one. I missed a short one on the 16th so these two birdies on the last two holes were nice.
This is my second tournament as a pro, I had played Preisch Open in France last September. I went though the Qualifying Stage in La Cala and i am happy with this maiden result. It was nice to play with Borja, we chatted a little and i did not feel the pressure. I only became nervous on the 16th. »
France’s Clément Berardo is the third guy of the podium. Alain Alberti’s protege (Raphaël Jacquelin’s coach) is playing his second year on Alps Tour. He recorded two top 5 and one runner-up place in 2013. He admitted his swing was still in building last year but he feels ready now.
« This course is not stressful. It is is good chap but even if you miss a shot, you won’t think you are going to make double bogey. But the greens are different from one side of the main road than from the other. From 5th to 13th hole, greens are more like on a links, quit firms and they are receptive on the other part of the course.
I played solid today, I did not think about the result, only shot by shot. My regret is the bogey on the last hole, a 1000 euro putt (500, in fact as he would have been second tied with Virto). I had a great drive, a 94 meter wedge, I told myself -you did it a hundred time- and I miss the green on the left. But I am satisfied and the goal for this season is to be in the top 6 this summer to get the exemption from Qualifying Stage 1 of the European Tour. »
From Sokhna Golf Club
19th February 2014 | Alps Tour Golf
Etchart and Virto co-leaders in Red Sea El Ein Bay Open
Spaniard rookie, Borja Virto shot 67 today to share the lead with his compatriot Borja Etchart at -7. He makes a good start for his first season on the Alps Tour. He is happy to be here where the weather is nice after long weeks of rain in Pamplona. “I played pretty good overall. I’m very comfortable with the tee shots, and irons to the greens. I made 28 good putts. And, I finished very well with a birdie on 6th hole and an eagle on the 8th hole.”
Borja Etchart returned a scorecard of 69 this afternoon. He will play in the final group tomorrow. The game promises to be very interesting.
Behind, the Austrian Tobias Nemecz signs a 69 today and takes the provisional third place.
At the 4th place, we find the Frenchman Clement Berardo who also shot 67 (-5) with six birdies and one bogey, all made possible thanks to a good driving and good tee shots. “This course is very pleasant and provides a comprehensive picture of our game at the start of the season.”
The first amateur is the Belgian Kevin Hesbois from Keerbergen GC who signed a 67. “A good wedge game and putting help a lot. I started with a birdie then I made six other birdies in a raw on the back nine. I’m happy to start the season here where the weather conditions are perfect to make good scores.
I’ll stay amateur this season and I hope to be part of my national team to play the World Amateur Championship.”
On the national field side, no Egyptian player managed to make the cut this week and the first in the ranking is the amateur Soliman El Aser. Next week will be better for sure.
Cut is fixed at +2 and 42 players will dispute the Final Round tomorrow from 8.30 am.
18th February 2014 | Alps Tour Golf
Etchart placed in Egypt
Spain’s Borja Etchart scored 68 during opening round of Red Sea El Ein Bay Open. He took the lead with a one shot narrow margin over French duo, Jean-Pierre Verselin and rookie Clément Batut.
Etchart, Alps Tour winner in 2013, discovered the golf course and Little Jaz Venice resort a few days ago. He attends the event for the first time and the place suits him very well.
“I didn’t play here last year but I like this course really much, a lot. Very great course and great location. Hotel is great and everything fine.”
He admitted the course is fair and that his putter was the most important club in his golf bag. The Spaniard holed seven birdies.
“I trained a lot in Madrid with my new coach Salvador Luna ( Santi’s brother) this winter to be ready to play a good season on Alps Tour. This is my intention and it is great to start the season here.”
Defending champion, England’s Andrew Cooley struggled on the fairways that crowned him last year. He shot four under par and needs to do better to play the final round.
The opportunity to avoid bad weather in Europe is much appreciated. Egypte is a rising golf nation and one of his young talent, the amateur Soliman El Aser managed to deal with the pressure very well. Among all the professionals, El Aser signed for solid 76 that let him in the middle of the leaderboard. he has a good chance to make the cut. He holed 3 birdies to day and is 65th tie.
28th February 2013 | Alps Tour Golf
Cooley defeats Stewart after 5th extra hole
Andrew Cooley, finally ended his Egyptian story after 5th extra hole over Scotland’s Michael Stewart. He won the inaugural Red Sea Ain Bay Open. Italy’s Andrea Maestroni is third and certainly regrets dropping one shot on last hole to miss the play off.
Overnight leader Andrea Rota lost 3 shots on the 4 first holes and at this moment a win seemed impossible to grab. Meanwhile, Stewart who teed off one hour before last group was leading at the club house as he signed for best score of the day, 66 for -7 total. Maestroni was -7 tie with one to play but failed to save par on the 18th.
Italy’s hope rested upon Rota’s shoulders. He holed for birdie on 12th and again on 15th with wonderful 8 meters sunk. He had two holes to play and had to made another birdie to join Cooley and Stewart. He hit the 17th par 5 in two but his 3 putts stunned him. He made the same mistake on last hole and slept to 4th final position.
The final battle took place on the 18th hole, a par 4 with water in play on the right on second shot. Many british players sat next to the green to attend the show and it worth it. Micheal Stewart and Andrew Cooley played more than one extra hour to decide between.
The first two extra holes was without suspense, tee shot, green, 2 putts, next. Then Cooley after third trial hit the green and had 1 meter and half to win as his opponent missed the green and had par. Unfortunately Cooley missed, supporters felt disappointed and started to be impatient. On fourth trial, the both flew over the green and save par. Finally the water played its role of justice of the peace on 5th and last hole. Both players hit their second shot from waste area but Stewart ended in the water hazard and miss the green with fourth shot. Cooley was less then 40cm to the cup and holed for maiden win and become first “Alps Tour Pharaoh”.
“I lead twice last year in the last group and it really helped me today. I stayed calm. I played really solid. It is my maiden win as pro and I am very happy, obviously. Last year was great to improve my level of game.” He was informed that Stewart and him played 5 extra holes. “Five ! Really ? I couldn’t count any more. It was tough, what a day!”
Text and picture by Agathe Séron
27th February 2013 | Alps Tour Golf
Will Andrea Rota become first Alps Tour Pharaoh
Another sunny and warm day in Ain Sokhna for the second round of the Red Sea Ain Bay Open. The Italian Andrea Rota keeps the lead by one stroke. He scored 71, starting with a bogey and three putts on first hole. “I had a bad start, made a lot of mistakes, three bogeys, only one birdie on par 5. But I’m still leading and I’m very happy. I like the course which is really good. During practice days, I played 36 holes on the first day and 27 holes the day after with fun. I did a good job this winter. Two weeks ago, I played in Kenya on the Challenge Tour and I missed the cut by one even if I played a good game. I also practised with the national team and that helped me. Tomorrow, I have to make another good round without bogeys to win.”
Behind him, with just a point between them, Spain’s Fernando Adarraga and England’s Andrew Cooley are eager. A lot of players will target the victory and among them: the French rookie Edouard Espana and past winners Ross Kellett (Montecchia), Nicolas Joakimides (Normandy).
41 players are qualified for the final round, including one young German amateur who used to practice here, at Sokhna Golf Club with his pro, Christian Arenz.The golf course of Sokhna is in perfect conditions and ready for a new challenge.
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26th February 2013 | Alps Tour Golf
Italy's Andrea Rota leads inaugural Red Sea Ain Bay Open
Italy’s Andrea Rota, fired 66 to lead by one after first round of 2013 Red Sea Ain Bay Open. Scot Michael Stewart, 2011 Walker Cup team mate, and one of the best ever world ranked Scottish amateur, shot 67. Italy’s Lorenzo Guanti and France’s Edouard Espana signed for 68 to keep in touch with the top of the leaderboard.
Alps Tour season started this morning with first of the two inaugural events in Egypt. Guaranteed disorientation for most of the players who have come for the first time to this part of the world. No less than 11 nationalities and 78 players teed off to try to grab the first title of the season.
Rota is not a spring chicken any more on the Alps Tour but still seeking for maiden win. The 27 year old player has finished last season in great shape as he made the cut during the Final Stage of European Tour Q school to earn his right to play on Challenge Tour in 2013. His best results was 3rd place at Alps de Andalucia last June.
The best Egyptian player is 50th tie with first round 75, 4 over par. Ayman Mahmoud is only 2 shots back of the projected cut after one round. He could write a chapter of the Alps Tour becoming the first Egyptian ever to make the cut.
Great names are expected to challenge the leaders. Some Challenge Tour players took advantage free weeks to come and play in Egypt such as England’s Jason Palmer or Scotland’s Ross Kellett. Talented former Team World Cup player Italy’s Andrea Maestroni is one of those as well. Maestroni won the Alps Tour ranking in 2004 and played full season on European Tour in 2005.
Text and picture
By Agathe Séron
25th February 2013 | Alps Tour Golf
Red Sea Ain Bay Open: 3..2..1.. GO!
The first event of the 2013 Alps Tour season will start tomorrow on Tuesday 26th February at Sokhna Golf Club, in the Red Sea – Egypt.
78 players from eleven different nationalities will tee off the Red Sea Ain Bay Open between 07:30 and 12:15. Among the participants, there are three tournaments winners – France’s Xavier Poncelet, Sebastien Gros and Nicolas Joakimides. Note as well the participation of Ross Kellett (Scotland) graduated for the Challenge Tour after his first season last year, Jason Palmer and a new player from Wales, Rhys Enoch who finished 3rd at last Qualifying School.
The golf course of Sokhna is in perfect conditions and ready for a new challenge.
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