30th March 2021 | Alps Tour Golf

Paul Margolis Wins the MIRA Live Soul Open

March 30th, 2021 – Lecce, Italy. Yet another suspense-filled finish for the final round of the second tournament of the Alps Tour 2021 Spring Season here at the Acaya Golf Resort where the young French amateur, Paul Margolis edged out Matteo Manassero to win the tournament by one shot at 201 (-12).

Teeing off in the flight ahead of the leader, Margolis had a rock-solid front nine with not a bogey in sight and four birdies to leave the 9th green -11. Behind him yesterday’s leader, Manassero, teed off at the 9th level with the French player. However, a birdie saw him turning for home at -12. Yesterday’s runner-up, Angel Hidalgo Portillo saw the leaders pulling away from him after carding a double-bogey, bogey, and birdie to move back to -6.

Margolis continued his bogey-free run on the back nine with 3 pars and two birdies to be sitting -13 on the 14th. In his rear-view mirror, was Manassero who finished the 14th hole at -12 after one birdie and a bogey. Four holes to go and everything to play for.

Bogey, par, birdie for Margolis to head for the 18th at -13. Bogey, birdie, bogey for Manassero to leave him trailing at -11 on the last hole. Margolis missed his putt to finish with a bogey and headed into the clubhouse at 201 (-12). Everything depended now on Manassero as he had birdied the 18th in the last two rounds in which case, he would have forced a play-off. Unfortunately, today he was not third time lucky and left the green with a par to hand the victory to Margolis.

A fantastic result for the amateur player from the Terre Blanche Golf Resort who just last spring decided to stop his university studies in the USA to devote himself 100% to golf. Currently pre-selected for the French team for next year’s International Amateur Team Championship to be held in France. The MIRA Live the Soul Open is his first professional competition win. When asked how he felt:

” I don’t think it’s sunk in fully yet. It’s hard to take in. I’ve just spent three fantastic weeks here  at the Acaya Golf Resort and this last week was particularly emotional. It’s difficult to realise that on just my third  start on the Alps Tour I get a win”.

Was he aware of what Matteo Manassero was doing in the flight behind him?

Not at all. I told myself last night that I had a job to do out here today and that was to hit the best shots I could. I didn’t look at the leaderboard at all and just stayed focussed on my game “.

What are his plans for the future?

” This result may change things a bit. I had planned to play the Alps Tour as an amateur but I think now I may throw myself into it whole-heartedly. I do have a project with the French Golf Federation to play in the International Team Championship next year so I just need to take the time to reorganise my schedule”.

In third place is another amateur, the Italian Gregorio De Leo on 205 (-8) who was the winner of the Italian International Men’s Amateur Championship at the beginning of March.

In fourth place is Angel Hidalgo Portillo from Spain 206 (-7). That keeps him at fourth position on the Order of Merit. Despite having just missed out on victory today, Matteo Manassero now heads the Alps Tour OofM after two tournaments.

The Alps Tour remains in Italy for the month of April with the next stop for the players being the Abruzzo Alps Open at the Miglianico Golf & Country Club in Pescara from 22nd – 24th April 2021.

Final Results: click here

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29th March 2021 | Alps Tour Golf

Manassero the Recidivist Takes the Lead End of Day 2

March 29th, 2021 – Lecce, Italy. Yesterday’s play concluded this morning with no change in the leader at the MIRA Live the Soul Open but by the end of the day Matteo Manassero finds himself in the same position as at last week’s MIRA Golf Experience Acaya Open after thirty-six holes. Ahead by one stroke on 133 (-9), he moved twelve places up the board after shooting a -6 (65) today with 7 birdies and a bogey. A pleasing result for the Italian:

“A very solid round. Well, we’re in the same position as a few days ago, -9 and up on the leader board and that’s obviously a really good feeling but golf is like that! I’m always really focussed on the work I’m doing and on the process of becoming better so those are really good signs that I’m definitely going in the right direction and it’s really good to have another opportunity tomorrow. The last one didn’t go too well. In the end I lost by one shot, so I guess a few putts were the key but it’s always like that. Anyway, it’s really good after that to come and have two really good rounds again and be in a different but similar position and be on the leader board”.

Angel Hidalgo Portillo retains his second place from yesterday on 134 (-8) alongside the Italian Enrico di Nitto. Teeing off at 13:10 Hidalgo kept the suspense going right up to the end. Starting at -6, six birdies and two bogeys saw him approach the 17th at -10 but he concluded the round with two bogeys for a -2 (66) for the round to leave him trailing the leader by one stroke. Di Nitto who was second on the 2019 Alps Tour OofM and now plays on the Challenge Tour scored a -6 (65) to join Manassero with the lowest round of the day. Not having played since November, Di Nito was glad to be back in competition:

“This is a very good place to start. The course is great, conditions are tough and it’s very important to have some tournaments before the start of the season. It was a very, very good day. I had some good feelings and I tried to take them to the course today. I made some great putts and some great shots to the green. On the back nine the wind was picking up a bit, so I had to stay focussed, more so than in the beginning and it paid off”.

Three players share fourth place at 135 (-7) including yesterday’s leader, Cristiano Terragni. The birdies did not fall for him like yesterday and with four bogeys he finished at +1 (72). The Dutch player, Koen Kouwenaar, remains in contention with a -2 (69) after his third position finish yesterday and the French amateur, Paul Margolis remains solid having carded a -3 (68).

Manuel Elvira from Spain also lost a bit of ground today moving from third to seventh after doing par (71) for 137 (-5) whilst two Italian amateurs are right behind him on 138 (-4) Gregorio De Leo and Alessandro Tadini.

The cut came at 144 (+2) with 47 professionals and 9 amateurs going through to tomorrow’s final.

Windy conditions are forecast for Tuesday after two relatively calm days, so anything could happen as we saw last week, here at the Acaya Golf Resort. First flights tee off at 08:00 am from the 1st and 10th with the leaders heading off at 09:39 am.

Round 2 Results: click here

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28th March 2021 | Alps Tour Golf

MIRA Live the Soul Open Suspended due to Darkness

March 28th, 2021 – Lecce, Italy. After the start of play was delayed for an hour this morning due to fog the MIRA Live the Soul Open was suspended this evening at nightfall with four games still out on the course.

Leader in the clubhouse is Cristiano Terragni from Italy. Teeing off from the 10th, he started with a birdie. He followed suit on the 11th negotiating well the scrub and bunkers on the right and the series of ponds on the left. A bogey on the par 4 12th but after that the rest of his round was smooth sailing with 7 more birdies and the rest all par to finish at -8 (63).

“I was pretty relaxed this morning. I tried to stay focussed during the delay. I felt good during the practice round. I was really disappointed in the first tournament playing in the windy conditions and on this course, it was really tough (missed the cut, Ed.) but it probably helped me to see some points of my game that were not at their the best and so I worked on these the last two days. I felt good during the practice round and so I was pretty relaxed this morning.  I was maybe lucky in a couple of situations and sometimes luck helps but overall, I’m really happy with my round and I hope to continue like this over the next couple of days”.

Winner of the 2011 Feudo di Asti Open in his first season on the Alps Tour, he moved over to the China Tour in 2016.

Two shots behind him on -6 (65) is Angel Hidalgo Portillo. After his fourth-place last week, the Spaniard looks to be on form this season. Winner of the 2018 Qualifying School, he has consistently finished in the first 20 in the last two seasons. His seven birdies and just one bogey is his best result on the course so far.

In joint third position at -5 (66) we have a quartet of players: Koen Kouwenaar from the Netherlands, Manuel Elvira from Spain, the Portuguese player, Tomas Bessa Guimaraes and the Italian amateur, Gregorio De Leo. The Dutch rookie had a bogey-free round and 5 birdies for a much-improved game on the course and Elvira had his first round under par here at the Acaya Golf Resort, both having missed the cut last week. Bessa Guimaraes was in joint second place heading to the 18th, but a bogey dropped him back a slot. De Leo did 33 on both the front and back nines for his best score to date on the course.

Six players sit at 7th position on -4 (67) including the winner of last week’s Mira Golf Experience Acaya Open, the Scot, Ryan Lumsden and the only other amateur in the top ten, Paul Margolis from France.

Despite the fog this morning the weather conditions were much improved today on last week. This was reflected by the scores with 50 of the players playing to par or under compared to just 18 on the first day last week. However, the wind could pick up again over the next two days.

Play will resume at 7:30 am tomorrow.

Round 1 Results: click here

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26th March 2021 | Alps Tour Golf

Ryan Lumsden Wins the Acaya Open

March 26th, 2021 – Lecce, Italy. It was a thrilling day for the Final Round of the MIRA Golf Experience Acaya Open where the young Scottish player, Ryan Lumsden, finally imposed on 204 (-9), one stroke ahead of the joint runners-up, Matteo Manassero from Italy, and Theo Brizard from France. But the battle went right down to the line.

Lumsden had a bogey-free, round with 5 birdies, but as he headed into the clubhouse, his victory was not assured with two more flights to come in, so a pleasant surprise:

“My win was a little unexpected as I was looking back and seeing great players playing behind. I played solid today. I was quite tidy, but I didn’t think I’d made quite enough birdies. I had a short putt on 18th for birdie, but it just slid by the edge so when that one missed, I thought it might be a struggle. But I definitely had a bit of luck on my side as well”.

The win was even more satisfying as Lumsden has had a tough winter going through tonsilitis, Covid-19 and surgery which meant he only got back to his game recently:

“I got back into golf about a month ago. I flew out to America to train and play a few qualifiers. It was not pretty for that first week as the balls were going everywhere when I hit them but now it feels good as I’ve worked really hard for the last month to get back to a functional level. It feels nice to have that rewarded so quickly and have 2021 get off to a good start”.

Indeed, all eyes were riveted on two flights behind Lumsden and the head-to-head between yesterday’s leader Matteo Manassero and the French amateur Theo Brizard. Teeing off with Manassero on -9 and Brizard on -5, they both started with a birdie on the par 5 dogleg. However, at the end of the first nine, a dazzling performance by Brizard with a total of 7 birdies, a 29 (-7) to open put him at -12. As they headed to the tenth, Manassero was trailing by one shot at -11 after 3 bridies and a bogey.

At this stage, Rumsden, two holes ahead was at -8. Back to even-stevens at -11 on the tenth with par for Manassero and bogey for Brizard. The eleventh posed problems for both players, with a bogey for Manassero (-10) and double bogey for Brizard (-9).

When the pair reached the seventeenth, Rumsden was in the clubhouse with his -9 after a final birdie on the sixteenth. Brizard had clocked up 2 more bogeys and 1 birdie to sit at -8 and finished with a par. Manassero got to the eighteenth green on -9 after 2 bogeys and a birdie and a play-off looked to be in the offing. The final putt proved to be elusive, and bogey left him tied for second place with Brizard.

Rumsden’s win puts him at the top of the Alps Tour Order of Merit 2021 with the amateur Theo Brizard in second place. Third on the OofM is Angel Hidalgo Portillo from Spain who finished fourth today. Next on the OofM are French players Paul Elissade and Edgar Catherine who finished joint fifth today.

Theo Brizard was the highest placed amateur at the tournament, but the top Italian amateur Gregorio de Leo finished a more than respectable sixth.

So, an exciting finish to this opening tournament that augurs well for the rest of 2021. And the season continues rapidly with the MIRA Live the Soul Open here at the Acaya Golf Resort from March 28th-30th. Players will stay on-site, get in some practice and be ready for another tournament on Sunday with a field of 122.

Final Results: click here

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25th March 2021 | Alps Tour Golf

Matteo Manassero Makes His Move & Leads After Round 2 at Acaya

March 25th, 2021 – Lecce, Italy. Another stellar round from Matteo Manassero puts the Italian in the lead at 133 (-9) here at the Acaya Golf Resort. An extra birdie today and just one bogey saw him in the clubhouse with a -5 (66) for the second round. Reason enough for him to be satisfied as he says:

“Two really good days. Yesterday was the first round in competition after 5 months so there was a question mark, But I was very, very satisfied with what I saw, with the decisions, with the game, with a lot of things. My mindset was really good so starting like that it’s obviously easier and you just try to stay the same way and keep the same strategy and then hopefully the game follows. Luckily, today was another solid day and going into tomorrow I will just try to be the Matteo of the last two days and mentally try to copy and use the attitude I’ve been working on and that’s my main purpose and the rest we’ll see. But I’m really satisfied”.

In second place we have a trio of players at 137 (-5): the French amateur, Theo Brizard, who started the day at par, charged up the leader board to joint second. Despite a double and a single bogey on his card, his 8 birdies saw him card a -5 (66). He is joined by his compatriot, Edgar Catherine, an Alps Tour player since 2019, who fired a -4 (67) today with a total of six birdies and two bogeys to move up ten places. Rounding out the group is the Italian player, Jacopo Vecchi Fossa, who moved up two slots with his -3 (68) today after 6 birdies and two bogeys.

In fifth place, Ryan Lumsden from Scotland lost a bit of ground on yesterday’s third place with a -1(70) today after three bogeys, two birdies and an eagle whilst yesterday’s leader, Nicolas Platret from France dropped back to ninth place despite starting with a birdie. A double bogey, four bogeys and two more birdies gave him a +3 (74) at the end of the 36 holes.

The lowest score of the day went to the Spaniard, Alex Esmatges who carded a -6 (65) however, only 27 of the 120 players came in under par today which demonstrates the difficulty of the course, something which Matteo Manassero confirmed:

The course is really tough. Yesterday, it was the toughest way to come back to competition after a while. It was blowing really hard, and this course doesn’t allow you to miss either right or left but my game was really solid both yesterday and today”.

The challenges of the course are also reflected in the cut that came at 147 (+5). A total of 52 players goes through to the final round tomorrow – 44 pros and 8 amateurs. Play tees off at 7:30 am from tee 1 with the leaders heading out at 11:25 am.

The forecast for tomorrow is mainly sunny skies with light and variable winds.

Results Round 2: click here

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24th March 2021 | Alps Tour Golf

Nicolas Platret Leader after Round1 at Acaya

March 24th, 2021 – Lecce, Italy. Nicolas Platret from France came into the clubhouse at -5 (66) to take the lead at the inaugural competition of the 2021 Alps Tour season here at the Acaya Golf Resort. He swung back into action after five months without any competitive play and was focussed on the result based on applying what he has been doing with his coach in France over the past few weeks rather than the score. He talks us through his round:

“I started early this morning at 7:20 so it was kind of windy and pretty cold so for the first few holes I just tried to keep the ball on the fairway and hit as many greens as possible. I got some good opportunities for birdie in the first few holes and so I was quickly two under after 5. Then I had a good up and down on 6 for par. Then 7 and 9 downhill are pretty easy par fives so I had two birdies there. Unfortunately, I had a bogey on 8 with a ball in the water. So, after the front nine I was pretty confident because it was windy and not easy to play. The back nine for me is a little tougher than the front nine, so I tried to do the same thing as on the front nine. I made some good birdies on 12, 16,17. I had a bogey on the 11th but for me it’s the toughest hole on the course, so I just tried to stay patient and take the opportunities for birdie when I had them”.

This is Nicolas’s second season on the Alps Tour, and he will be hoping to keep the lead to secure his first victory with his best finish to date being second place at the 2019 Open de la Mirabelle d’Or.

One shot behind at -4 (67) is Matteo Manassero who played two under on each nine. Two birdies and a bogey-clear front nine plus three birdies and one bogey on the back nine leave him in serious contention. The Italian player sat second for the first two rounds in his previous tournament with the Alps Tour, ultimately going on to win the Toscana Alps Open last year.

Just behind him in third place are three players.  The Scot, Ryan Lumsden, winner of his first Official World Golf Ranking professional title at the Journey to Jordan #2 at Ayla Golf Club in March last year and with two top ten finishes on the Alps Tour in 2020, he carded five birdies and two bogeys for a solid -3 (68). Joinng him are the two Spanish players Alejandro Del Rey, winner of the 2020 Open de la Mirabelle d’Or and Angel Hidalgo Portillo, runner-up at the Toscana Alps Open Last year.

In sixth spot there is a group of six at -2 (69). Two French players; Romain Guillon who was joint leader when he entered the clubhouse and Paul Elissalde. The Italian players, Jacopo Vecchi Fossa along with Davide Buchi who is the highest ranked amateur today. Mathias Eggenberger from Switzerland and the Dutch player, Pierre Verlaar complete the group.

Despite the difficult windy conditions, we saw a total of eleven eagles out on the course today, all of them on the par 5’s with Edouard Espana from France scoring two of them which helped him to finish at par for the round.

The forecast for tomorrow is partly cloudy and the temperatures will continue to be below average for the time of year and the wind will also be present if less so than today.  Tee off starts at 7:00am from tee 10 and 7:05 from tee 1. The cut will take place on completion of the second round.

Results Round 1: click here


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21st March 2021 | Alps Tour Golf

MIRA Golf Experience Acaya Opens the 2021 Alps Tour Season

March 21st, 2021 – Lecce, Italy. The Alps Tour Spring Season tees off for the first tournament of the year here at the Acaya Golf Resort  in this, the 20th anniversary year for the tour. We have a fantastic field of 120 players of 14 nationalities and the enthusiasm for this debut competition was such that we have a wealth of reserves all hoping for a spot.

There are lots of familiar faces, plus plenty of new ones. Among the entrants, we are delighted to welcome Matteo Manassero who joins us again after winning last year’s Toscano Open – his first win in seven years. Let’s hope the Alps Tour brings the former European Tour and PGA winner the golden touch here in Lecce. He is joined by his winning compatriots from last season, Stefano Mazzoli at the Red Sea Little Venice Open, and Jacopo Vecchi Fossa at the Italy Open.

The impressive 52 strong Italian contingent includes all the members of the Italian National team fresh from competing here this weekend at the Italian International Men’s Amateur Championship where the top Italian amateur player, Gregorio de Leo was triumphant. It may prove to be a useful warm-up for this week’s play.

We also have Edoardo Lipparelli, winner of the 2019 Order of Merit and two-time runner up Enrico di Nitto who both now play on the Challenge Tour.

On the French side, the second largest nationality group represented, we have Jeong Weon Ko, third on the OofM 2020, along with David Ravetto, joint winner of the 2020 Qualifying School who recently turned pro. Edouard Espana, the former Challenge Tour player is present as well, alongside one of the leading French amateurs, Paul Margolis.

The runner-up of the 2020 OofM, Lucas Vacarisas heads the Spanish field with compatriots Alejandro Del Rey, winner of the 2020 Open de la Mirabelle d’Or and Jacobo Pastor victor at the 2020 Alps de Las Castillas.

The sole American, Blaire McKeithen who was another of last year’s Q School joint winners is back for a second season.

The Acaya Golf  Resort’s cleverly crafted conception offers plenty of challenges. Remodeled in 2007 by Dr Michael Hurdzan, it is a natural, well-spaced layout amidst the Mediterranean maquis and olive trees. The par 71, 6192 m/6772 yd open parkland layout is extremely diverse in its design that may push players to use all 14 clubs in the bag. The gently undulating terrain has fairways of a good-width and greens well-defended by bunkers, 58 sand traps in total. A complex system of lakes and streams brings water into play on 9 of the 18 holes with a spectacular waterfall dividing hole 10 and 11. One hazard that cannot be anticipated is the wind, as, if it picks up, the course plays more like a links. The weather forecast looks promising though with the showers of the next few days dissipating and the tournament days being sunny and warm.

The tournament is taking place in a sanitary “bubble” with players and staff staying at the on-site hotel here at the MIRA Acaya Golf Resort & Spa. Nestled in 120 hectares of Mediterranean undergrowth in a setting of a rare natural beauty, the resort can cater to every need in strict respect of the sanitary protocol.

Players tee off on Wednesday March 24th with the cut being made after 36 holes.

Entries: click here


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