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Reliving the Portuguese Open Pro-Am

Last month two lucky Hole19'ers joined us and Peter Finch at the Portuguese Open Pro-Am at Morgado Golf Club in the Algarve.

We went back to one of our winners, Conan Power, to talk to him a bit about his experience of the Pro-Am, Peter Finch and Morgado Golf Course itself...

What did you think of Morgado Golf Resort and the golf course specifically?

My first impression of Morgado was the sheer size of the resort – it was a ten-minute drive from the front gate to the hotel. It was set amongst typical Portuguese countryside with several blocks of accommodation and building dotted around. The main hotel block itself was small but the rooms were amazing, set out in apartment style blocks, lining the fairways and overlooking the facilities.

The golf course was prepared to Championship standards so it was great to have the opportunity to play on something so prepared. The holes were wide open, which helps guys like me who can’t hit it straight! There is a great variety of holes, including a few long par 3’s which really tested everyone in our group. The greens were fast and in great condition – something you expect from playing golf in Portugal.

Did you get a chance to watch the Open?

On the day after our pro-am, Turismo de Portugal had very kindly sorted out some day passes for the event. The other winner and I followed “our” pro from the pro-am around the first 9 holes, before the weather halted play. It's always exciting to watch good players play – when I attend golf tournaments I usually stay in one place, watching different players come and go. Morgado is so well laid out that it affords the spectator this opportunity to wander and follow the golfers quite well.

How did you play? What did you find challenging about the course?

I really enjoyed playing in the pro-am and having 2 pros in our group made it even better – it was interesting to get Peter Finch’s perspective on things as he was filming most of the round for his YouTube channel. Gil and Anthony (from Hole19) followed us too and were able to show us the proper workings of the Hole19 app in a real, in-round situation.

I played really well and was very happy with my short game – it is however, a different game from the middle of the fairway because with the pro-am tournament rules, we could select the pro’s tee-shot. I didn’t disgrace myself in any event. What’s always a challenge for me is my tee shot ... note to self, get some lessons!

Why should other golfers pay Morgado a visit?

Morgado is a different experience to some of the other courses I have played around Vilamoura – it’s so open and sweeping that golfers of all levels would enjoy it. The course is tended very well and has good on-course facilities including driving range and practice greens. I’m not sure what the green fees are but a day out here would definitely be worth it.

How was the Pro-Am? What was it like playing with the Pros?

I had never played at a championship ready golf course with a pro before – and like I said, its a different game from the fairway. I really enjoyed the format and the banter between everyone. It was great to see the little things that our pro, Sam Walker, concentrated on, while we kinda just stood up and hit it.

How was it playing with Peter?

Peter is a pleasure to talk to and to play golf with – he’s so enthusiastic about everything and we really enjoyed seeing his post-round YouTube videos ... he’s a naturally funny guy too which helps.

What was your favourite hole of the day?
My favourite hole was the long downhill Par 5 16th – the Hole19 boys showed us how to track the distance of shots and for once, I cracked a long one down the fairway – 291 yards (helped by being downhill of course) ... I birdied the hole too, which made it all the better.

Was there a memorable moment for you? Did you have a favourite shot of the day?

Everything about the few days were memorable, and there’s a nice video of me sinking a long putt which I was quite proud of – I was showing all my mates to make them jealous.

Off the golf course, we had great fun at the presentations and meals. The guy from the hotel who helped me with my bags, accidentally knocked on the room next door to mine the first day, and woke up Paul Lawrie, former open champion!! That was quite surreal.

My thanks go out to Hole19, to Gil and Anthony and Turismo de Portugal for a great time – I’ll certainly be telling everyone about it and encouraging my golfing friends to go to the Algarve!

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