Monday, July 22, 2024

Five-strong Irish field head to Golf de Lerma for Alps de Las Castillas in Spain – Irish Golfer Magazine

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The Alps Tour will remain in Spain this week as the Alps de Las Castillas gets underway on Thursday 11th to Saturday 13th at Golf de Lerma, in Llerma, Burgos. Five Irish will take to the course this week as part of the 144-strong field, representing 14 nationalities.

The 12th event of the regular season, Alps de Las Castillas returns to Llerma after an eight-year gap, and a strong field is expected in Spain. OOM leader, France’s Benjamin Kedochim heads into the week looking to secure his first win of the season to cement his position at the top and earn one of the five Challenge Tour places up for grabs. Two men come into the week with the opportunity to qualify directly regardless of position as two, two-time champions this season head to Golf de Lerma. Last week’s winner Brandon Kewalramani of the US and Frenchman Theo Boulet need just one more victory to secure automatic qualification to the challenge tour.

With just four events left before the Grand Final in Italy these are decisive weeks on Tour for the Irish contingent. Robert Moran comes into the event in eighth place in the OOM and in good form after a charge on the final day to finish second at the Alps de Andalucia last week. He will look to add to his two top tens in search of the top-5 spots on the OOM. Paul McBride (53), Michael Young, Marc Boucher (96) and Brandon St. John all head into the week knowing that the must make moves over the final four weeks to challenge the top of the rankings.

The challenge this week comes in the shape of Golf de Lerma. The par-72 course was built in 1992 on a former hunting estate and is sheltered by forest on both the northern and southern borders. Oaks and junipers dot the 5,900 meters in the streets where it is common to see scamper hares or spotted flying flocks of ducks and geese rest and feed in one of the eight lakes and two creeks dotted along the route. Both nines on this picturesque course begin with a bang. A pair of par-5s await the groups beginning on the first and the tenth with the first, a 611-yard tester. Two more par-5s on the eighth and 17th to negotiate as well as a pair of par-3s on either nine for the field to attack.

The top-40 and ties will head into the final day on Saturday with the cut coming after 36 of the 54-hole event and, with wide fairways and flat putting surfaces on show this week, a shootout could be on the cards. Michael Young kicks off proceedings on Thursday in group number one off the first tee at 8.30. Young has Spanish amateur Joel Ramirez Martin for company in the day’s only pairing. Next out is Robert Moran at 9.14 again off the first with Paul McBride heading off at 9.58 with Brandon St. John following out at 10.20.

Meanwhile, starting their week on the 10th tee-box we have Marc Boucher heading out at 8.41 with France’s Nicolas Peyrichou and Austrian, Uli Weinhandle for his walk. The last two winners on tour head into the week knowing just one more good week puts them into the Challenge Tour for 2025 and takes all the pressure off the rest of their season. Boulet and Kewalramani begin their week at 9.25 and 14.36, respectively. The OOM leader is also among the afternoon starters on Thursday. Kedochim heads off on the first in an all Latin three-ball with Spain’s Pedro Oriol and Italian Eduardo R Lipparelli at 14.47.

With a stacked field and mush to play for coming to the sharp end of the season there are plots and sub-plots a-plenty this week and the five Irish will be looking to get their elbows out and challenge for the coveted top-5 places on the Alps Tour.


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