BRITISH GOLFER, SEVE ADMIRER, HOGAN AND SNEAD PREVAIL AT THE PARADOR AFTER AN EXCITING FINALE
Remember this name. Sam Conner, he’s 25 years old and a promising English golfer. He just won his first tournament in the Gecko Tour, on the course at the Parador in Málaga, after defeating his compatriot Simon Ward on the first hole of the playoff. They both finished the tournament, fifth of the season, with a total of 137 shots in two rounds.
Connor confirms that everything good from the past months has finally come together with this win. His explosive career, with two wins in the EuroPro Tour and the Challenge card in hand, came to a halt this summer after a back injury. He lost two months of competition in the summer, a crucial stretch in the Challenge, and he wasn’t able to demonstrate just how talented he really is. Even so, he still managed to get an astounding eighth place in the Volopa Irish Challenge in mid-September.
Connor left the Challenge Tour in order to attempt to earn the European Tour card, but he’ll have the opportunity again next year, as he’ll be playing in the silver division of European golf with a medical leave. The Challenge begins in the month of March and the English golfer has opted for the Gecko to train for next season. He already played in the best winter tour in Europe last year and finished with good results, although his back injury kept him from reaching his objectives. “The Gecko is a really great tour, and lives up to our expectations, they’re good courses, normally good weather and great players. It’s highly beneficial for us”, he explains.
The tournament at the Parador is another example of the high level of competition present in the Gecko. In order to reach the top and take the win, playing really well and being able to stand the pressure are essential. Not only was he deemed winner in the playoff, but nine other players in the running were separated by just two shots. Incredibly close. The keys to winning for Connor were the exceptional round of 64 that he shot on Monday and the birdie on the 16th hole in the last round. “It was a critical moment. I had just made a bogey on the 15th hole and was only one shot away from Ward. It was a crucial birdie, although the most important part was my attitude. I never stopped thinking I could win. It was a question of having faith”, he remarked.
Connor went into the tie break with the idea that golf had given him a second chance after having let a notable advantage slip out from under his fingertips in the second round. It wasn’t going to hold him back anymore. “I hit two really good shots and left the ball in the middle of the green on the 18th hole. Simon sent the ball to the bunker short of the green and had an excellent shot out of the bunker, but he wasn’t able to land the putt for par and I took the win”, the English golfer exclaims.
Benedict Staben and Spanish golfers Gonzalo Ganged and Gabriel Canizares finished one shot away from each other in the playoff, tying for third place, while Jaime Camargo and Manuel Quirós and Swedish golfers William Nygard and Fredrik From finished two shots from the winner in sixth place.
Things aren’t going bad for Connor, who confesses that his idols are Seve Ballesteros, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead, who’s added another win to his brilliant career. The Parador was played under the peculiar circumstance of only being able to utilize 17 holes on the course, because the 7th hole was unplayable due to the rain in the past few days in the Costa del Sol. The Organization decided to grant par to all players on that hole.
The next Gecko Tour tournament is this coming Thursday and Friday at the Atalaya Golf Club.