World Kids Golf
Martim Baptista defends his title with 80 players from 14 countries
The most historic and prestigious Portuguese junior international golf tournament started on Tuesday its 11th edition with 80 players from 14 countries.
When a year ago the Portuguese player from the Vale de Janelas club (in Óbidos) won in the under-18 event, it was a sort of a surprise, but in the meantime, much has happened in his amateur career, and last month he played for the first time on the Portuguese national team in both the Manuel Agrellos Cup and the Boys European Championship.
«I have great memories of this tournament last year because I played among friends. I know almost every player of my age in this tournament. What happened in this last year is that I’m studying in the 12th grade, with a lower workload, and allowed me to train golf a lot. I also feel that I am calmer, more thoughtful, more careful in my decision making on the course and I have been playing better, ”said Martim Baptista, coached by Luís Barroso, who also guides the careers of famous Portuguese professionals such as Tiago Cruz and João Ramos.
Playing in the heat, on the Faldo Course, the hardest of the two courses at Amendoeira Golf Resort, designed by former world No.1 Nick Faldo, Martim Baptista began defending his title with a first round of 76 strokes, 4 over Par, which leaves him in 6th place, 7 shots behind the leaders, the Portuguese Alexandre Castelo and the Norwegian Peter Hov, both with 69, 3 under Par.
“Obviously I would like to defend the title, but I am here to play the best I can, because there is always the possibility that someone will play better, even if I play well. This under-18 tournament has very good players and I didn’t play very well on this first day. I felt nice from tee to green, but then I was unable to finish and I did not “putt” very well. I hit a lot of greens but that didn’t translate into the score I wanted and I missed a few birdies, ”said the Portuguese international who is facing the situation of defending an international title for the first time.
World Kids Golf is one of the rare Portuguese junior international tournaments to give points to the world amateur ranking. The tournament director Nelson Cavalheiro – who last month joined the PGA Portugal national team in the Manuel Agrellos Cup – is pleased with what he saw at the start of the competition.
“I am happy, it is already our 11th edition, we have a lot of dynamics and today we have not made the course too difficult regarding the pin positions. The playing conditions are good, the weather is good and we have also prepared the courses very well for this tournament ”, said Nelson Cavalheiro, who promised“ even better prizes in 2019 than in 2018 ”, confirming only that the U18 Tournament Champion will once again get an invitation to play in the Portugal Pro Golf Tour tournament held at the Amendoeira Golf Resort, thanks to the renewal of our partnership with the PGA Portugal.
The World Kids Golf is held on both Amendoeira Golf Resort courses and has a strong support from the Algarve Tourism Board, the Portugal PGA, the Portugal Pro Golf Tour, Under Armor, Titleist and FootJoy.
The youngsters play on the easyer O’Connor Course, while the Faldo Course is reserved for the older ones, with under-9, under-10, under-12, under-14, under-16, and under-18 tournaments in both genders. In this tournament, the gross prevails over the net, although there are also prizes for the net standings.
The tournament had its first round today. Tomorrow (Wednesday) is the the second round and, for those who wish, there is a tournament for teams of fathers and sons / daughters in the evening. Thursday is a day off for players to rest and also to allow the families to to get to know better the region. The final round will be on Friday.
The leaders of the 11th World Kids Golf after the first round are as follows:
Under-9, Ffion Richardson (England) with 9 points stableford gross and Francisco Reis (Portugal) with 23 points;
Under-10, Eleanor Lichtenhein (England) with 24 points stableford gross and Aaron Moody (England) with 31 points;
Under-12, Inês Belchior (Portugal) with 23 points stableford gross and João Crasi Alves (Portugal) with 37 points;
Under-14, João Iglésias (Portugal), 71 strokes, 1 under par;
U16, Emilie von Finckenstein (Germany), 73 strokes, 1 over par, and Jamie Mann (Scotland) with 70 (-2);
Under-18, Filipa Capelo (Portugal) with 76 strokes, 4 over par, and Peter Hov (Norway) and Alexandre Castelo (Portugal), both with 69 (-3).