Adem Wahbi of Belgium played his best golf under pressure to birdie a dramatic final hole and win the European Disabled Golf Association’s (EDGA) 1st Portugal Open on Monday (20th April).
Wahbi carded a second successive +8 score (81) on the challenging par 73, 5,827 meter Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course to edge out playing partner Manuel de los Santos of France (score of +9, 82) by a single shot.
Earlier the Belgian had been in the water twice on the 5th to score a quadruple bogey in a mixed front nine, but came into his element down the final stretch of 7 holes which he played in an excellent 1 under par, including a championship winning birdie on the par 5, 18th, when he calmly rolled in a 5-foot, downhill, left-to-right putt having attacked to the back of the green in 2 shots.
His 2 putts from there were brave as de los Santos, one shot behind, had carried off a great second shot into the green to set up his own birdie, inviting Wahbi to do the same to secure the title.
Played in warm sunshine but battling firm and fast greens at Penina, birdies were at a premium all day, and the two men were pushed down the home straight by Miroslav Lidinsky, of the Czech Republic, who carded the best score of the tournament with +7 (80), including back-to-back birdies on holes 12 and 13, but he would finish five shots behind the leader.
Winner Adem Wahbi said after his round: “It was really nice to play well for the last 13 holes and the 18th was difficult because Manuel attacked this in two. But I felt really good over that last putt.”
Manuel de los Santos said: “I did my best today. We are good friends so I was happy to see Adem win his first title.”
The Frenchman said he would now be training hard for the next tournament in the EDGA Tournament Series 2015, the Handigolf French Open (May 1-3). There are 11 tournaments this summer.
Other results from Penina included Miroslav Lidinsky winning the Category 1 & 2 Nett section, Nino Ourabah of France winning Category 3 Gross, and Piere Dumas of France winning Category 3 Nett.
The first EDGA Portugal Open which were approved by the Portuguese Golf Federation, took place at the Penina Hotel & Golf Resort, in the Algarve region of Portugal. The Premier series tournament which took place on the 19th and 20th of April 2015, was the opening event of the EDGA season. The Sir Henry Cotton Championship course, which has hosted ten Portuguese Opens on the European Tour, along with an Eisenhower Trophy (World Cup of Golf), was a fantastic test of golf for the competitors who had nothing but praise for the par 73 layout.
The practice facilities were very popular as many of the players used the event to find their competitive game.
With glorious April weather. a great course and superb off course facilities, negotiations have already started for a return visit to Penina in 2016.
Practice day at Penina First big day in EDGA Tournament Series 2015
Adam Wahbi, who had led the last event of 2014 only to be caught and passed by a surging Charles-Henri Quelin, turned his tied leader position after round one at Penina into a championship winning final hole birdie, to keep Manuel de Los Santos at bay.
Manuel and Adem are good friends and it was clear from the joy on both players faces on the final green that both had enjoyed the final round shoot-out, which for much of the round had involved Philippe Pee from France.