Madeira has a long history of golf which stems back to the 1920s, the original course at Santo da Serra was a par 3 layout. In 1935 work started on a nine hole course which opened for play on the 25th February 1937. The unknown architect designed a loop which contained three par threes, four par fours and two par fives, the design incorporated eucalyptus trees and grass bunkering.
In 1988 the regional government in Madeira decided to build a new 27 hole golf course and appointed Robert Trent Jones Sr as the designer and in Sepetember 1991 the Machico and Desertas nines were opened for play. In 1993 Mark James won the inaugural Madeira Open, putting the island on the European Tour map.
Clube de Golf do Santo da Serra officially took golf to Porto Santo in 1996. It opened a driving range there in the summer in a bid to develop the game on that island. In 1997 the Club presented the Regional Government of Madeira with plans to build an 18 hole golf course on Porto Santo, between Pico Ana Ferreira and Ribeiro Salgado.
In October 1996 the club was passed to the Clube de Golf do Santo da Serra with a merger of memberships between the Madeira Golf Club and Clube de Golf do Santo da Serra. The Serras Course was commissioned and in October 1998 it opened for play. The development was completed when a new clubhouse opened in September 2000.
With all the top players at this week’s Players Tournament and with others taking a break, it means this tournament is left wide open for someone to step up to the plate this week.
My tips to win:
Gary Orr 22/1 has only played four events so far this season, he did open up with a 66 at the Sicilian Open but then went backwards from there, playing in some really tough conditions. He did play well in similar conditions at the Open de España last week, finishing just outside the Top-25.
Seve Benson 45/1 won last week at the The Barclays Kenya Open on the Challenge tour so will be coming into this week full of confidence. Seve did have three Top-20 finishes on the full tour last season and will want to do well here this week.
I did tip Tim Sluiter 60/1 at the back end of last year for the South African Open. Tim has only played in three events so far this year but has managed to make the Top-20 in two of them, including an eleventh place finish at the Sicilian Open in some tough conditions.
My each-way tips
Past winner Jarmo Sandelin 66/1 seems to be gearing up for this event with his sixteenth place finish last week at the Open de España, his first event of the season, which is pretty impressive in its self, lets hope he takes that form into this week’s event.
It’s been a bit of a stop start season for Robert Coles 66/1 and after his third place finish at the Trophée Hassan II you would have thought he would have kicked on from there. He has now missed the cut in his last six tournaments but in this limited field he should find his feet again.
This week’s outside bet and another player who has had a mixed start to the season is Emiliano Grillo 125/1. Emiliano has had a top-10 finish at the Africa Open and a Sixth place on the Challenge tour, he then missed the cut in his next three events but made the cut last week at a tough Open de España.
For updated betting odds during the tournament go to planetgolfreview.com