Finca Cortesín and Matthew Baldwin’s stellar game, Carlos del Moral and Sam Connor. It was the grand finale of the Gecko Tour, but any one of the mass of fans who came together to witness the outcome of the best winter tour in Europe first-hand may as well have thought they were watching a European Tour tournament. Very high level. High quality. Perfect setting.
Hats off to the sixth season of the Gecko Tour. Couldn’t ask for much more. Win for Matthew Baldwin and first place in the order of merit for Andreas Andersson after a tough battle against young British golfer, Sam Connor.
The outcome of the tournament and the tour was very exciting. Up until the very last putt it was up in the air as to who was going to take home the victory and who would win the order of merit. Connor is the one who caused all the commotion. It depended on him to come through at Finca Cortesín, while Andersson was in Baldwin’s hands. If Connor won, the British golfer would win the order of merit. If Baldwin won, Andersson would win the order of merit.
The Swedish golfer, who went into the finale as the well-established leader in the rankings, got off to a bad start on Monday in the first round, but he had an extraordinary comeback with the 67 he shot on Tuesday to finish in third place. He had already done the majority of the work. It meant that Connor needed the win to bump him out of first place.
Connor went all out, but he was up against a very difficult rival. Matthew Baldwin, a regular of the European Tour, is a difficult player to beat. He plays on the straight and narrow, well-organized and makes few errors. It’s important to have patience and to utilize all of your resources to be able to beat him. The battle between Connor and Baldwin was unforgettable.
Matthew got to the 18th (par 5) with a one-shot advantage, but Connor played the perfect hole. A great drive and two shots to the green. He had to make a delicate chip, downhill, a bit over a meter. Sam was aggressive with his chip. He knew he had to make it in because his opponent was very close. It escaped out from under his fingertips and he missed the putt he shot before Baldwin. He finished with a par. After, the leader, with no pressure because he was allowed two putts, missed the birdie, but sealed the win with a par. Couldn’t have been more nerve-racking. In the end, Baldwin won with 136 shots, with a one-shot advantage over Connor and five over Andersson and James Robinson.
Baldwin’s victory served Andreas Andersson the order of merit on a silver platter. The Swedish golfer, the most consistent player in the Gecko Tour, deserved the win. He’ll also receive the Alps Tour card for next year.
Baldwin’s win came at the best moment. “In two weeks I play in the first tournament of the Challenge in Kenya and it’s always good to go into it with confidence after winning. The Gecko is an amazing tour. Ken and Katherine (directors of the Gecko) did a fantastic job. They allowed us to compete with golfers with very high levels, just as there were today”, he assured just after signing his card as winner of the finale.
Baldwin wins once again in Spain. His last big win was in the Challenge Tour in Spain in 2011, at La Gomera.
Andersson was very satisfied with his victory in the order of merit. “I’m really happy, I couldn’t be more proud because all the hard work I’ve put in throughout the year has finally paid off. It’s a great foundation for the future,” he affirmed.
The Gecko Tour comes to an end after its sixth season, which started off strong and had some extraordinary moments. Two amateurs won, two women (Noemí Jiménez and Julie Aime) and international golfers such as Sam Connor, Clarke Lutton, Steven Jones, Jordi García del Moral, Marcos Pastor and Mario Galiano. The Gecko has a bright future ahead.