One of Spain’s most promising young golfers opts for The Gecko Tour to launch his quest for a place among the elite in 2016
“There’s a very high level on The Gecko – it’s always hard to win”
Mario Galiano flew out of the blocks in The Gecko Tour event being played this week at Río Real Golf Club and Atalaya Golf & Country Club. The promising young Andalucian golfer carded a 66 at Río Real to head the tournament after the first day. It was an excellent round, with eight birdies and only two bogeys. Just one more demonstration of his enormous potential, as highlighted during a stellar amateur career – including reaching number three in the world rankings.
As to be expected, Galiano was extremely pleased with his opening round. “It was a very good day, and I’m very satisfied. I’m working very hard on my swing, and this result shows things are heading in the right direction. I have to continue working hard because this has all just begun. My objective is to prepare well for the future, because this year I want to turn pro and that’s very important.”
Born in El Tesorillo, a small village at the eastern end of Cádiz province near Guadiaro, the birthplace of such European Tour stars as Juan Quirós and Álvaro Quirós, Galiano has opted for The Gecko Tour to launch his quest for a place among the elite. The Costa del Sol circuit has everything: good courses, a lot of top competition, a superb climate and outstanding organisation. As Galiano notes, it’s a great testing ground. “The circuit is excellent for finding your right form in preparation for the major tournaments beginning in April. The level of play is very high, with many top professionals competing, and it’s always hard to win.” Galiano also highlights the magnificent course preparation and tour organisation.
Returning to today’s round at Río Real, Galiano noted several aspects he knows will be the keys to his future, and which he feels are consolidating his game. “The best thing today was undoubtedly the rhythm of my swing; that was the key to all my shots being accurate, and the bad ones being okay, not bad. I played very solid golf, so I can’t highlight anything specific, just everything in general.”
Natalia Escuriola is another highly talented young Spanish golfer who began strongly in this latest event on The Gecko Tour, actually her debut on the circuit. From Castellón, she is preparing for the Ladies European Tour, where she will also be making her first appearance this year after winning her card in 2015 as a result of some excellent performances on the LET Access Series (including two wins). Escuriola made a strong start at Río Real with a 69, three shots behind Galiano who, as well as being the tournament leader, is also her boyfriend.
Escuriola was pleased with her round. “I began playing well, with two birdies on the first two holes and ended the front nine on four-under. The second nine wasn’t as good; it was hard to make any birdies and I had a bogey on the 17th.”
Whatever happens, Escuriola knows she is on the right track. “I feel really good, I see myself as being well prepared for this new season, and I believe I can go out there and play extremely well,” she says, with extraordinary self-belief. The confidence she shows does not mean she is happy to rest on her laurels, however. On the contrary: it is what encourages her to continue fighting and improving. “I’m putting very well, but I need to improve my long game a bit.”
Natalia chose The Gecko with the aim of preparing for her Ladies European Tour debut, and has no doubt she made the right decision. “It seems like a good tournament to get the ball rolling before beginning the season – the organisation is very good.”
There are still 36 holes to go, but the young stars of the future continue to demonstrate they are afraid of nothing when it comes to teeing up on The Gecko Tour, a circuit which grows better every week.