Luke Johnson made his professional breakthrough with a magnificent victory this week on The Gecko Tour, played at Los Naranjos Golf Club and La Quinta Golf & Country Club in Marbella (Costa del Sol).
The young English golfer from King’s Linn carded a total of 208 over the three rounds, for an extremely well-deserved win. He was the only player able to score under par on each of the three days, an excellent effort as the playing conditions from Tuesday to Thursday were particularly tough. In this respect, it should be noted that both courses were presented in impeccable state – as always. All players highlighted the excellent preparation of both the Los Naranjos and La Quinta courses, a similar level to that which they find every week at European Tour venues.
Johnson finished with a one-under 71 today at Los Naranjos, helped by a solid game that included three birdies and just two bogeys. Carlos Rodiles and Sam Connor shared second place three strokes adrift of the champion, while Noemí Jiménez and Alfonso Gutiérrez were joint fourth, on three-under. This was another brilliant performance by the young Andalucian: she has now played three times on The Gecko Tour and never finished worse than fourth.
Johnson is a promising English player whose game has been fine-tuned in his country’s prestigious national teams. He turned professional just over three months ago, after friends and family members held a tournament at his club to raise funds to help him make the ever-difficult move into the paid ranks. He is supported by Wilson, his equipment company sponsor, and by tour pro Ian Poulter and his clothes brand. “His company takes care of me really well and I’ve had the opportunity of chatting to him. I have great admiration for Poulter: he’s a wonderful person and different to what many people’s view of him is. He’s been a great adviser to me.”
Johnson’s objective is to play on the European Tour next season. To that end, he has focused all his efforts and schedule on 2016. The Gecko Tour offers the ideal starting point and test to prepare for that part of the year – the end of summer – in the best possible way and with the benefit of extensive competition experience behind him. This was the second Gecko event he had played in this season, following the inaugural tournament at Torrequebrada last October, when he achieved a fine fourth place finish. “I’m pleased I came; the weather has been horrible in England this past Christmas and here it’s a delight. It’s always fantastic to play on The Gecko Tour. Every time I come over here the tour is even better than before. I’m very proud to have won because I realise the level is extremely high, with players who have been or are currently competing on the European Tour.”
The next Gecko event will be held from 18 to 20 January at the Guadalhorce GC and Parador Golf courses.