2019 Melia Villaitana Benidorm

The Bertie Lawson Open

Levante golf course - 6,317 yards off of the yellow tees

The biggest talk of the tour (before the plane even took off) had been the weather and how we were “destined” for a thunder storm following the appalling weather that the region had suffered the previous week. Fortunately our positive mental attitude, and the deletion of the BBC weather app, resulted in a hot and sunny day. In fact, the weather remained that way all tour.

In my group, Nigel Brooke-Harte managed to win two of the nearest the pin prizes and Vic Froud got longest drive on the sixteenth. Neither had read the small print about handicap adjustments and how winning a prize meant a shot cut, but they took it relatively well. Nearest the pin prizes were also won by Bill Monaghan and Bert Lawson.

As the day’s scores were read out, the handicaps for the following day were announced. The system runs that if you win you are cut 3 shots and any score over 32 points is a shot cut for each point over. There’s also a one shot cut for any NP & LD prize.

Here are the Thursday’s scores with the handicap adjustments:

1Chris Miller36114-7
2Stuart Paton351813-5
3Nigel Brook-Harte34138-5
4Vic Froud331715-2
5Nick Harris312626
6Tony MacLean302222
7Bill Monaghan301817-1
8Andy Addison281818
9Geoff Harris271919
10Ben Wyatt273232
11Simon Swain272222
12Bill Ballard252323
13Bert Lawson251817-1
14Paul Harling252020
15John Roffey242121
16Rick Bullen233232
17Darrell Stacey233636
18Stephen Hodgson223334+1
19Peter Long202628+2
20David Jones133639+3

On Thursday evening we ate out at Ca Joan in Altea which is a carnivore’s paradise. They also had some great wines on offer and I am hoping that Bill B & Nigel BH will be the official sommeliers on the 2020 tour.

The 2019 Tour

As for the rest of the tour, we played Poniente on Friday which is a challenging Par 62 course with 6 Par 4 holes and 12 Par 3s. The Par 3s range from 77 yards out to almost 200 yards. Bill Ballard won the day with a huge score of 39, which resulted in a total cut of 10 shots going into the last day. Ben Wyatt came second with a great score of 37 which got him a 7 shot cut. Geoff Harris shot his 19 handicap into third place with 36 points and, of course, a 5 point cut. But it’s not all about the handicaps, with more than two-thirds of the field scoring over 30 points.

Back to Levante on Saturday for the final day’s competition in what felt like the hottest day of the week. Clearly the heat and the fact that Hendricks Gin had sponsored most of the week had caught up with us and the scoring was the lowest of the tournament (average of 23). The majority of the field started in contention for the top spot, but the final day took its toll on many a scorecard. However, Andy Addison romped home with 32 points to win the day, with Bill Monaghan second on 30 points and Tony McClean third on 28.

Once the scores were all in the mathematics could start crunching and the top spot for the week, the big money prize winner, the overall champion of the 2019 FGS Spain Tour is Bill Monaghan with 93 points. Three people came a close second with 92 points: myself, Nigel & Stuart.

A leisurely dinner at Cosa Nostra to end the weekend was enjoyed by all, with the obligatory Lemoncello nightcap.

Well played to everyone. The scoring and general performance on the courses was much higher than previous years in my opinion, with a more diverse set of results. The daily scores and leader board are still available via Google docs for all of you who played.

It just remains now for me to thank everyone for coming this year, for all of your thanks over WhatsApp after we got back and I wish Bill Monaghan all the very best of luck organising 2020. I know that he has already had some offers of help plus I have offered my consultancy services at a reduced rate.

Chris Miller

Tour Organiser (Retired)