Ian Poulter of England wins the the Volvo Masters Andalucia 2004 against Sergio Garcia of Spain in a play off at Valderrama Golf Club, Sotogrande.
Perfect weather conditions marked most of the final day of the Volvo Masters Andalucia. The beautiful blue sky in the morning has encouraged a good turnout of visitors from the Costa del Sol. There was plenty to keep the spectators on their toes. For the second year running they saw the local hero in a play off to try to be the first Spaniard to win the Volvo Masters Andalucia.
Ian Poulter of England, and Sergio Garcia finished equal at seven under par and began a one hole play off on the 18th. Both tee shots were off the fairway. Sergio's went into the crowd and a little girl picked it up. Ian's was in the trees on the left hand side, although he later said he planned to put it there. Sergio's second shots failed to make the green and both golfers were left with an easy one metre put. The difference being Poulter was putting to birdie and Sergio to par.
Ian Poulter of England, had managed a birdie on the second hole, slipped back after bogies n the 4th and 5th but took the lead with birdies on the 8th, 9th and 10th. A bogie on the 14th lost him the outright lead. On the 17th holes his second shot went into the crowd on the right hand side prompting a skillfull recovery.
The local fans never lost faith in Sergio Garcia who after making a bogie on the 3rd and 6th and a birdie on the 5th. He came back in the running with birdies on the 11th and the par three 12th. He was joint leader walking on to the 17th but a tee shot into the trees on the right hand side needed a good recovery not to cost him a stroke. A missed 4 foot hole putt on the 18th lost his a chance of a birdie and the tournament. He finished the tournament seven under par and had to wait and watch last pair home to know if he was the first Spaniard to win this Tournament at Valderrama. It was not to be.
The three shot overnight leader Alastair Forsyth of Scotland finished in third place. He made a disapointing start to the day with bogies on the first two holes the rest of the way out remained at par. A careless bogie on the sixteenth cost him a stroke and took his overall score to six under par after 16 holes.
At the end of the third day Alastair Forsyth of Scotland was leading the 2004 Volvo Masters Andalucia with a nine under par. Six birdies (7th, 8th, 11th, 13th, 16th, 17th) and two bogies (1st, 14th) moved him into the lead. Alastair recognised that he is now sitting in the strongest position of his career, “Three shots is certainly not enough. So I have just to go through and hopefully do what I did today and just keep playing good solid golf.”
Early bird golf fans from the Costa del Sol were treated to a beautiful blue sky morning which unfortunately did not last through the afternoon and many called it an early day as the clouds darkened and the temperature dropped.
Sergio Garcia from Castellon, Northern Spain is in close second with six under. He had lead the field overnight with six under and had lead for most of the day until just before play was suspended at 17.07 due to a heavy lightning storm.
Most spectators ran for the cover of the busses when play was suspended and even the greenkeepers cut the greens in error. This required David Garland the Tournament Director to decided that the course had not been materially or significantly altered. Play restarted at 18.33hrs but by this time most spectators missed the exciting Forsyth vs. Garcia over the last five holes. Ian Poulter of England crept quietly into a second equal with birdies on the 16th and infamous 17th.
Overall only eight of the 54 strong field were under par at the finish of the tournament, there were only five eagles.
Last years local hero Carlos Rodiles who only just missed the title in the 2003 years play off incredibly trailed home in 49th place at fifteen over par.
Defending champion Fredrik Jacabson from Gothenburg, much to the disapointment of Volvo did not defending his title.
Next years Volvo Masters will take place at Valderrama from 27th to 30th October 2005.
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Full detailed scores can be viewed at www.europeantour.com.
The “COSTA DEL GOLF”
There are over sixty golf courses in Andalucía, of which thirty are on the Costa del Sol. The fine weather allows golf to be popular all year round.
David Crumpler, leading golf writer on the coast, explains…
When the Costa del Sol experienced a renaissance as a winter golf resort in the late eighties, the phrase “Costa del Golf” was coined. Between 1985 and 1991, no fewer than 17 new golf courses appeared, bringing the total along this 50 mile stretch of coast up to thirty. This concentration of quality golf courses, combined with the unique sunny and warm winter climate enjoyed by the region, led to its becoming unrivalled as a winter golf destination for northern Europeans, who while emerging as a serious force at all levels of golf, were deprived of the opportunity to play during the harsh winter months.
When Valderrama was chosen to host the Ryder Cup in 1997, the Costa del Golf received universal recognition as the finest winter golf resort in Europe, Advance reservations for the millenium led to a flurry of new golf courses to be constructed.
For a snowbound, frustrated golfer, desperate to play in the sunshine, the Costa del Golf is proving irresistible. Golf course owners are re-investing in their courses to improve their quality still further and there are no longer any weak links, each course offering its own kind of challenge on perfect fairways and greens. The general infrastructure from Malaga to Gibraltar has improved beyond recognition.