The World Corporate Golf Challenge (WCGC) became the first international golf tour to visit the Madeira Island (Portugal), a symbolic gesture of confidence in a region that has not yet registered any deaths from COVID19.
Madeira is safe, it is the message that the WCGC Portugal wished to pass on to the countries of this prestigious tour. The promoters, Golftattoo Eventos, since the start of the 2020 season, had only praiseworthy words for the tournament held at the Santo da Serra Golf Club, on the Madeira Island.
«The organization and Santo da Serra Golf Club prepared everything according to the safety rules imposed by the Portuguese General Health Department and by the Portuguese Golf Federation, for use of the course and the other facilities as well», underlined Pedro Castelo Branco, manager director of Golftattoo Eventos.
«There was a massive interest from several Madeira companies», added the tournament promoter, who traveled from Lisbon to Funchal, making a point of highlighting a very special group: «the players of Flinstones (Golf Group) all registered in just three days, completing 24 of the 34 teams».
The event resumed its activity in Santo da Serra and qualified two teams for the Portuguese Final
The WCGC tournament held at Santo da Serra Golf Club – the stage of the renowned Madeira Islands Open of the European Tour – had a double and emblematic goal, as explained by Pedro Castelo Branco: «it marks a date that will remain in the history of the event, for two reasons. First, the WCGC’s return to Madeira, after several years of absence, and since we took care of this event we wanted to visit the Atlantic islands. And second, because it is the first tournament after the quarantine. Before, we had already carried out three tournaments, this was the fourth of 2020. Therefore, whatever the future may hold, this date is already in the history of the event».
«In addition, I note the enthusiasm and the great will shown by Santo da Serra Golf Club, in the person of Ricardo Abreu, to have this event here. We want to keep doing it here and we will do it in the coming years, as long as Santo da Serra Golf Club wants us back», assured the Portuguese manager, speaking to the Diário de Notícias da Madeira daily newspaper.
António Henriques, the charismatic president of Santo da Serra Golf Club, who has seen major international tournaments on “his” golf course, was pleased with the gesture of WCGC Portugal and took the opportunity to send a message to all of those who appreciate tourism and golf in Madeira: «This is an outdoor sport, in which it is perfectly possible to follow strictly the safety guidelines of the Government.
«The WCGC is a tournament that hasn’t come to Madeira in a few years, for reasons beyond our control, since it is cherished by all our members. Luckily it’s back. We had a magnificent day, with the golf course in excellent conditions. Now two teams will play for the club in the Portuguese Finals and then, hopefully, at least one of them will make it to the World Final. We have had, in the past, two national winners of this tournament and I was in one of them», pointed out the club’s president.
An equally important opinion was issued by Miguel de Sousa, a prominent figure in politics, economics and regional sports, a former chairman of the Board and current chairman of the General Assembly of Santo da Serra Golf Club, and still founder of the Madeira Islands Open: «I think it was a moment of truth, that the tournament took place here, after having been threatened by the pandemic».
For the Regional Government of Madeira, Santo da Serra Golf Club and for WCGC Portugal, the main goal was already achieved. But for the teams and its players (34 teams and 68 players), the most important were the final scores and to get to know who would qualify for the Portuguese Final, postponed to the Montado Hotel & Golf Resort, in Palmela, on August 29th.
In this fourth Portuguese competition of WCGC Portugal, only the first teams in net and in gross standings would qualify, which increased the competition’s competitiveness.
In the three previous competitions, before everything had to stop in March, due to the pandemic, nine teams were qualified at Bom Sucesso Resort (sponsored by Garofalo). Nine others booked their place at Estoril Golf Club (sponsored by Audi), and eight teams qualified at Palmares Ocean Living & Golf (sponsored by Turkish Airlines).
On Madeira Island, Machico and Desertas 9 holes golf courses were chosen for the portuguese competition, exactly the same 18 holes used by the European Tour when visiting the region. The course has been improved in several aspects and presented itself in excellent conditions, dazzling with its exceptional beauty.
In Net, Caju Le Petit Hotel team was qualified for the National Final, with 70 points total. Norberto Henriques got 33 points and Ricardo Antão 37. Caju Le Petit Hotel beat High Ventures Team (65 points) of Ana Bento (28) and Lino Bento (37), and Garofalo Team (64 points) of Bernardo Calção (29) and Miguel Tavares Jr. (35).
From Madeira to the World Corporate Golf Challenge Portugal National Final
«It is a special tournament because a win gives us access to the National Final and then, in case of victory, to a World Final. So it’s a very interesting tournament that everyone wants to win. We played well, kept the team with a good atmosphere and we got a good result», said Norberto Henriques.
«On top of that, this is a tournament for which I have a certain particular sympathy, because, twice I won at a national level and went to play the World Final, once in La Manga and once in Kuala Lumpur», added the captain of Caju Le Petit Hotel team.
In Gross standings, the team that will travel to Palmela will be the one of Firts 4 You2, with 61 points, with two players also members of the Flinstones group: João Bernardo Gonçalves (27) and Pedro Araújo (34).
Interestingly, the team ranked second gross was the net champion, that of Caju Le Petit Hotel, with 54 points, the same as the third ranked team from Garofalo.
«Of course, it is very important to have a tournament like this one in Madeira, which takes place worldwide in several countries and which then gives the possibility to play on a World Final. We wanted to go to the Portuguese Final and to play on behalf of Madeira. We made it and we are very happy about it. Now, in the National Final, we want to perform well and try to achieve a score that allows us to play for our country in the World Final», said Pedro Araújo, the captain of Firts 4 You2.
Madeira was the penultimate stage of the WCGC Portuguese qualification in 2020, before the tour travels to Axis Golfe Ponte de Lima on the 25th of this month.
Hugo Ribeiro / Golftattoo