The PGA of Great Britain & Ireland’s Alex Wrigley produced a dominant display on the final two days to win the 2017 Mercedes-Benz International Pro-Am at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club in the UAE.
Having been runner-up in the event in both 2015 and 2016, Wrigley followed up his course record round of 63 (-7) in Round 03 with a three-under par round of 67 to close the tournament in style on 14-under par (266).
“It was a totally different day to what we’ve been used to out here with no sun,” said Wrigley. “A lot more wind than we’ve normally had, so it was a little bit of a grind. Chris was on for a really good round and fortunately he fell a little bit shy of me.
“I love this place, I can read the greens really well and the holes just seem to suit me…even the new nine holes…the win fills me with confidence for the rest of the year.
“I’m also really happy for my team too, to finish second is fantastic and I’m really pleased for them. I had my dad and granddad out here along with Neil.”
In windy conditions, only four players were able to shoot under par for the day, in the event supported by Mercedes-Benz, Eastern Motors LLC, and Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
One of the four was another PGA of GB&I Professional, Chris Gane, who emerged from the pack to put down the only challenge to the eventual winner.
Gane started seven shots back, but made great strides for an excellent six-under round of 64, to leave him ten-under (270) for the tournament and holding the clubhouse lead.
However, seemingly unphased by the mounting pressure from Gane, Wrigley continued where he left off in the third round and birdied the par-four 4th and the par-five 7th to complete a blemish-free front nine of 33 (-2).
A bogey followed on the 12th – only his second bogey in 54-holes – but he soon recovered the shot, making birdie on the par-four 14th. Another birdie on the 18th capped off a fantastic week for Wrigley, who came agonisingly close to winning twelve months ago where he had lost out in a two-man playoff.
The two Brits were well clear of the rest of the field, which was headed by Ondrej Lieser of the PGA of Czech Republic.
Lieser shot a three-under round of 67, consisting of four birdies, to end with a four-round total of 275 (-5). After struggling in the first round, Lieser produced some great golf to complete a top-three finish.
The Team Pro-Am Competition concluded in Round 03 and was won by the team consisting of PGA of Greece Professional Christos Nikopoulas and amateurs Nikos Valsamidis, Sungjin Hwang and Moonwon Jo, who managed to maintain their Round 02 lead and win by nine points with a total of 268 points (-42).
“I had a great team…we nearly didn’t show up as I only had one amateur, but the guys here found me two excellent amateurs who played great,” said Nikopoulos. “The course was very good and we enjoyed it a lot…the hotel and venue are very good. I will come back and, as I said to the team, this is a winning team so we won’t change it for next year!”
Finishing in second place with 259 points was the team made up of Individual Professional winner, Alex Wrigley, and amateurs Jonathan Wrigley, Neil Ashby and John Fawcett, after they scored the best team total of the day with 94 points. Michael Nesbit’s (PGA of GB&I) team of Stephen Dixon, David Lawson and Tony Brown completed the top three with 258 points.
For more information on the Confederation of Professional Golf visit the Tournament Hub Page, follow @PGAsofEurope on Twitter search the Hashtag ‘#MercIntProAm’, or like the Confederation of Professional Golf Facebook Page.
To find out more about Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club visit www.aesgc.ae.