25th February 2024 | Alps Tour Golf

Mario Galiano Aguilar ties the Course Record to take the first-round lead at the 2024 Red Sea Little Venice Open. 

Egypt, February 25th 2024 – There is a tight leaderboard after the 1st round of the second event in this year’s Winter Series. Mario Galiano Aguilar from Spain matched the course record with a 10 under-par, 62 to take a one-shot lead after round 1 of the 2024 Red Sea Little Venice Open. Italy’s Francesco Santoni is in 2nd place after a fabulous 63. There is a 2-way tie for 3rd place at 8 under-par that includes: France’s Benjamin Kedochim and Spain’s Borja Martin.

The first round of the 2nd tournament of the 2024 Winter Series, the 2024 Red Sea Little Venice Open, played on courses B&C at the beautiful Sokhna Golf Club in Suez, Egypt, began this morning at 7:00 am local time from the 1st and 10th hole. Like last week, players can compete under favorable weather conditions this week as blue skies and temperatures that could reach a high of 25° Celsius are expected even if, during the afternoon, some light to moderate winds are forecasted.

Round 1 Player Quotes

Spain’s twenty-eight years old, Mario Galiano Aguilar shot a 10 under-par, 62 in the 1st round of the 2024 Red Sea Little Venice Open to lead by 1 stroke. With today’s incredible round, Galiano Aguilar ties the current course record which was already set at 10 under-par. He has earned several Top 10 finishes on the Alps Tour throughout his playing career but is looking to break through and earn his 1st win on the tour, “I had the opportunity in a couple of tournaments to win but I knew my game wasn’t ready to win. However, now I feel my game is ready to win and I’m very confident. If it’s not going to be this week, it’ll be another week, but I know I’m competitive enough. I’m very focused and determined on this year’s goal which is to win tournaments.” During today’s 10 under-par, 62 round, Galiano Aguilar made 1 bogey and 6 birdies on the front nine and then added 5 more birdies on the back nine to conclude his fabulous round. After he signed his card, Galiano Aguilar commented, “I wasn’t aware of what the course record was, but I knew my lowest round ever was a -9, so I really tried the last three holes to get to -10, and I’m obviously very happy about it.”  He added that he made a change between the 2024 Ein Bay Open and this week’s event, “I usually putt with a marked line on my ball however today I didn’t use it, I just put my ball down with no line and was trying to feel more the line and the aim I wanted. I hope it works well the next two days like it did today. I made this change because last week I hit the ball extremely well, but my putting was very disappointing. Today the putter finally worked, and I was able to put together a good round, I was -4 in my first 6 holes and that gave me good confidence for the rest of the day.” 

Francesco Santoni, twenty-five years old from Italy, finds himself in 2nd place with a 1st round score of 9 under-par, 63, and only 1 shot off the lead. He began his round by making 4 birdies and 1 bogey on the front nine and then went on to make 6 more birdies on the back nine to conclude his day. After his round, he commented: “Today was a really good day overall, as you can expect with a -9, but to be honest with you, while I was out on the course, I didn’t realize the round I was putting together. I realized the round I did while coming off the 18th green. I worked a lot this off-season with my coach Alain Vergari. We worked a lot on my swing to try and gain more consistency and the results I saw today were satisfying. I did the first step, which was putting together today’s round, but tomorrow, I want to go out there and keep doing what I was doing today and put together another good round, if not better than today.”

Twenty-nine years old, Benjamin Kedochim from France concluded his first round of the 2024 Red Sea Little Venice Open with an 8 under-par, 64 and finds himself in a two-way tie for 3rd place alongside Spain’s Borja Martin.  He teed off on the 10th hole where he made 3 birdies and 1 eagle. After making the turn, he went on to make 4 more birdies and 1 bogey to conclude his day. Kedochim has earned a number of top 5 finishes in his career but is looking to capture his 1st title: “I’ve been close several times in the past 2 years to earn a win but I don’t think I was missing something specific I just need to keep playing my best every day and sometimes you have a little extra luck which is what you need to win and other times you won’t get it.”  He also explained that: “today I began the day with a few lip outs, but I tried to stay in the moment as I told myself they will drop so I tried to stay patient. I’m really trying to play shot by shot like I did last season and made a good putt on 14 which got me into the round. I struggled with my putting during the first event of the season, so I worked a lot on it before we started this tournament and I’m pleased with the results I saw today. I had a stretch of 6 holes where I made 3 big putts and that helped a lot.” 

Spain’s twenty-four-year-old Borja Martin is the 2nd player in the two-way tie for 3rd place at 8 under-par with a great bogey-free round. He made 1 birdie on the front nine for a front-nine score of 35 and after making the turn at 1 under-par, he made 5 birdies and 1 eagle to close out in 29 for a total score of 64, 8 under-par. After his round, Martin commented that today, “I played pretty well on the front side but wasn’t able to take advantage of a couple of good situations I had. However, on the back nine, I kept hitting good shots and was able to make some important putts. On the few holes I hit a few bad tee shots, I managed to recover and made par on those holes.”  He found that the conditions at Sokhna Golf Club, “were great. The wind made a few holes a bit tougher on the front nine, but it stopped for the back nine luckily. The main difference I found is if you play in the morning, the greens are nicer, while in the afternoon, it’s tougher to make putts.” 

The competitors in this week’s event are battling it out for an overall prize fund of €40.000 and 45,000 Order of Merit points.

The winner of the 2024 Red Sea Little Venice Open will earn €5,800 and 6,525 Order of Merit points.

Round 2

The second round of the 2024 Red Sea Little Venice Open will begin again at 7:00 am local time from the 1st and 10th hole. Once Round 2 is completed, a cut will be made to the top 40 players and ties.

The first-round leader, Mario Galiano Aguilar will begin his second round of the tournament at 12:00pm local time from the 1st hole.

Tournament Promoter- 

The 2024 Red Sea Little Venice Open appreciates the support of: Sokhna Golf Club, Ein Bay, Hassan Allam Properties, TPC- Touristic Promotion Company, Jaz Hotel Little Venice, and Coca Cola Egypt.

Follow along on www.alpstourgolf.com or the official “Alps Tour Golf” app to keep up on all the latest news (available on App Store for iOS devices and Play Store for Android).


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