PGA of Holland Professional, Joost Steenkamer, completed a stunning back nine comeback during his final round at the Confederation of Professional Golf-sanctioned La Manga Club International Pro-Am today, to finish at even-par for the tournament (218) and take home the winner’s cheque for €4,000.
Steenkamer’s third round at the La Manga Club did not get off to the best of starts with bogeys at the second and fourth holes, followed by a trio of bogeys at holes seven, eight and nine, making the turn in 42 shots and four-over par for the tournament leaving plenty of work to be done.
But his final nine holes at the club’s South Course was in stark contrast to his previous nine beginning an incredible comeback that saw birdies at holes ten, eleven, thirteen and finally from just two-feet on eighteen to ease the pain of his front nine and finish on one-over for the day (74) and even for the tournament.
“It’s the first time I’ve played a tournament since October – I spent three weeks in Latin America trying to play a few events there, so I worked hard on my game,” explained Steenkamer. “Today I got off to a pretty poor start – I actually played pretty well but I was five-over after nine so my team got really quiet and they thought I was going to give it away – but I came back in four-under. I hit a great three-iron into the 18th and actually had an eagle putt, knocked it two-feet by and made birdie, so really happy.”
“My gameplan was basically to be patient and persevere – it was an emotional week this week as two days before I left a cousin of mine died. I played with my dad who is 75 years old so we basically said you know what, we’re going to have a good time and we’re glad to be here and glad to be playing golf.”
Three shots behind in second place was the PGA of Sweden Professional, Mikael Lundberg, who had led through Round 1 after an excellent opening eight-under 65, but lost traction after a second round ten-over 82.
Lundberg’s round was again awash with birdies and bogeys but a one-over front nine and level-par back nine ensured he remained near the top of the leaderboard with his closing 74 and a three-over par (221) total for the tournament.
PGA of Great Britain & Ireland Professional, Brendan McGovern, was one of the other most consistent Professionals across the week. The Irishman added to his first round 75 and second round 74 with a closing one-over par 74 that included a characteristic finishing stretch of seven regulation pars to end in third place for the tournament on five-over par.
In the Team Pro-Am Competition it was the team of PGA of Spain Professional, James Ferraby, that took the stableford honours. Ferraby, together with his Russian amateurs Pavel Shestopalov, Vitaly Samsonov, and Alfonso Grijalva, played consistent team golf all week, but it was the final day that topped it all.
A tournament-highest round of 89 points (-17) was enough for them to capitalise on their Round 2 lead, finishing on 256 points (-40) for the tournament, four shots ahead of their nearest rivals in the shape of Lundberg and his amateurs, Mike Norris, Chris Webb, and Fraser Phillips on 252 points (-36).
Brendan McGovern’s team including amateurs Ronan Reilly, Marcus Burley, and Jonathan Toms, had a closing eight-under par total of 80 points which wasn’t quite enough to advance further than the third place Team Pro-Am honours, ending on a 243-point (-27) total for the week.
Full final tournament scores can be found here.