The 24th annual PGAs of Europe International Team Championship took place last week at Onyria Palmares Beach and Golf Resort, on Portugal’s Algarve, with the Dutch trio of Ralph Miller, Robin Swane and Nicolas Nube emerging triumphant.
With three strokes covering the top five teams, the result remained in doubt until Swane recorded a par on the final hole of the Alvor course to ensure they claimed the €6,000 first prize and the first victory for his nation since 1991.
Swane, the Dutch captain, hailed the victory as a reflection of the growing standard of golf in the Netherlands. He said: “The three members of the team are all Dutch-born players. That wasn’t the case before when we were represented by overseas players.”
PGA teams from 26 countries took part in the tournament, which ran alongside the PGAs of Europe Annual Congress and was supported by Glenmuir, the Associaçäo Turismo do Algarve and Ryder Cup European Development Trust.
Despite the well-publicised battering the coast took that week from the weather, the course at Onyria Palmares Beach and Golf Resort held up well – although the players sometimes struggled to cope with the gale-force winds.
Ian Randell, chief executive of the PGAs of Europe, said: “Onyria Palmares has been a superb venue for the last two editions of the International Team Championship and has proved to be exceptionally popular with the PGA professionals who compete
“Palmares ranks right up there with the best courses in Europe and Antonio (Pinto Coelho) and his team do a fantastic job of preparing a great golf course, whilst also providing a very warm welcome. We know that it means a lot to the club to host this prestigious tournament and we’re thankful to everyone there for their help in making the 2013 edition so successful.”
Onyria Palmares Beach & Golf Resort reopened only in 2011 following an extensive, €10m redesign by Robert Trent Jones Jnr, and has been inundated with accolades ever since. The readers of one of Europe’s best-selling golf magazines, Today’s Golfer, voted Palmares joint runner-up in the best Portuguese course category in the publication’s annual travel awards.
Palmares became a new entry, at 26th, in Golf World’s poll of the Top 100 European Golf Courses, in 2011, and, this year, jumped a further three places to 23. It was also listed as the third best course in Portugal by Golf Digest, the number one distributed sports title in the USA –a little more than a year after being opened.
The three loops of nine holes – the Alvor, Lagos and Praia courses – enjoy expansive panoramic views across the Bay of Lagos, with each lay-out offering a different kind of golfing challenge in a glorious and natural environment.
The 27-hole set-up at Onyria Palmares Beach & Golf Resort is following Onyria’s traditional business model, with plans for a five-star hotel and a selection of plots for villas which have been released on to the property market.