Posted by: scoringzone at 08:17, September 30 2015.
A stunning 3-under par back nine allowed Sweden’s Joakim Björkman to dominate the finale to the Italian Open on Sunday – his round of 73 taking the trophy in this exciting European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA) Premier Series event.
The weekend saw 26 high-standard golfers with disabilities compete for the Italian Open at the magnificent Miglianico Golf & Country Club, in the Abruzzo region, testing themselves on the Ron Kirby-designed, par-72, 5,878 metre course.
Joakim Björkman had been a stroke behind overnight leader Italy’s Federico Rocchetti as they had scored 80 and 81 in a tricky breeze and damp conditions, but the second round brought sunshine and clearly inspiration to the Swede, as he nearly aced the par-3 second to set up a first birdie of the day.
Both Björkman and Rocchetti absorbed the pressure of the occasion, reaching the turn in 40 and 41 respectively to leave the tournament scores level. From here Joakim lit the fuse, birdieing the 10th in style before a brilliant chip-in for par on the 11th, while Federico would reach this green in regulation but a costly 3-putt would leave him two behind.
The testing par-5 14th would be the Italian’s undoing as he laboured to an 8 following a horrible lie in a fairway bunker, while Björkman parred the hole to take a decisive 5-shot lead. His shot of the tournament came on the 392-metre 17th when he played a wonderful hybrid to 3 feet and another birdie. A growing crowd of spectators then saw Joakim win the tournament by reaching the par-5 18th in 2 shots and set up a final birdie to secure victory with a brilliant final round of 73.
Gross final positions:
1st – Joakim Björkman 81-73 = 154
2nd – Federico Rocchetti 80-84 = 164
Federico was the winner of the ‘Leading Italian Gross Player’. With Joakim’s great scores he would also be crowned the ‘Nett’ winner by a margin of 8 shots over Paolo Vernassa of Italy, with France’s Nino Ourabah in third place.
Nett final positions:
1st – Joakim Björkman 78-70 = 148
2nd – Paolo Vernassa 83-73 = 156
Category 3&4 players in this Premier Series event play in a Stableford tournament. Over-night leader Italy’s Angelo Casu held on to first place with a second round score of 32 points. Runner-up was Nicolas Grossia of France who started the day 5 points behind the leader, but an impressive final round nearly took him to the Stableford title.
A word also for the best female player, who was Alessandra Donati of Italy, playing her part in a great week for the Italian competitors.
Stableford final positions:
1st – Angelo Casu 34-32 = 66
2nd – Nicolas Grossia 30-35 = 65
Craig Thomas, EDGA Tournament Observer, said: “Many great shots were played by all of the golfers and many of the spectators who have never observed a tournament for golfers with disability were in awe of just what these golfers can achieve, and despite the bad shots they would always smile and ‘Never Give Up’. One spectator said, ‘I had no idea what to expect when arriving at the club today, I feel totally inspired, they are amazing to watch’.”
Craig added: “There is no question that the Italian Open is an extremely well organised tournament with 5-Star hospitality for all of the players. Thanks go to all of the staff and members of Miglianico Golf & Country Club for presenting a fantastic golf course and for organising a top class event.”
Article by Ben Evans www.cuttingedgegolf.com
Posted by: scoringzone at 19:08, September 27 2015.