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Porteous wins in Prague

Garrick Porteous sealed a dominant victory at the inaugural Prague Golf Challenge, winning by five shots to claim a maiden European Challenge Tour title. Garrick carried a four-shot lead into the final round and his five under par 67 took him to 24 under par (66-67-64-67) at Prague City Golf, with Julien Guerrier, Christopher Mivis and Bradley Neil in a share of second place.

Having not made a Challenge Tour cut all season, this is a transformative result for the 27 year old, long rated as a hot prospect since winning the Amateur Championship four years ago, as he moves up to 16th place on the Road to Oman. At the turn the lead had been cut, with Guerrier pulling within two strokes, but once again Porteous proved too good on the back nine, which he played in a cumulative 19 under par this week.

“I’m buzzing, it’s great,” he said. “I got off to a comfortable start with three pars and then managed to chip in on four for eagle, which got me going, and it was similar to yesterday. Once I hit the back nine I was comfortable, it was business as usual really – it’s probably my favourite nine holes I’ve ever played, playing them as well as I did!’’

“You get off to a hot start – the tenth is reachable in two, so is 13, and I hit my wedges really well this week, put a lot to inside ten feet, and that gives you the opportunity to make a lot of putts. This result gets my season going because I didn’t have much up in terms of points, and I’m really excited – it was there but it just needed to be all put together and that’s what’s happened this week.’’

“It’s nice to get over the line and win by a comfortable margin, and top 15 is definitely the goal now – at the start of the year the aim was to get into the Rolex Trophy and push on from there, so now I’ve got to try to back that up.”

Garrick now heads for Sardinia and the Italian Challenge which starts on the 13th July 2017. As he said, this result gets his season under way and he will be keen to continue this form in the weeks ahead.

Nike Athlete

Garrick Porteous has joined some of the biggest names in golf by becoming a Nike athlete. He has agreed terms with Nike to wear their golf apparel and footwear for the foreseeable future. He is continuing his excellent relationship with TaylorMade to play their clubs. Garrick said ‘I’m absolutely delighted to now be a Nike athlete. It has always been a dream of mine to represent such an innovative and exciting brand. The clothing and footwear are fantastic and I can’t wait to get started’.

He also said ‘It’s great to be part of the Nike family. My sister works for Nike as an Analytics Director for their Global Supply Chain, based in Portland, Oregon. She has always hoped that one day I would become a Nike athlete. I am privileged to join Nike and I look forward to a successful relationship.’

Garrick’s had a frustrating season to date. A number of missed cuts followed by an injury to his arm have prevented any real momentum. However, he is rested and fit again and will start his Nike future at the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge at Aviemore on the 29th June. This is quickly followed by final Open Championship qualification at Royal Cinque Ports golf club, Deal on the 4th July. He then flies off for two events on the Challenge Tour in Prague on 6th July and Sardinia on the 13th July. He is hoping this run of events can give him some momentum to get his season going.

Positive Signs

Garrick’s 2017 season is about to get into full swing and there are some positive signs that his game is taking shape. Despite a few missed cuts on the main tours he returned to home soil last week to compete in the Lookers Championship at Close House on the Europro Tour.

Rounds of 73-68-70 saw him make the cut and finish tied 16th. Whilst it wasn’t the finish he was looking for, it did demonstrate that he is going in the right direction. More hard work is required, but it should give him some confidence as he heads to Europe again.

Garrick has a week to prepare before he plays two events on the European Tour. The first is the Open de Portugal starting on 11th May, which is followed by The Rocco Forte Open on the 18th May. He then returns to the Challenge Tour for the D+D Real Czech Challenge on the 25th May.

Challenge Tour Starts

Garrick’s season on the European Challenge Tour starts next week when the first tournament of the year opens on 23rd March with the Barclays Kenya Open. The venue is different from 2016 and will see the Challenge Tour return to the Muthaiga Golf Club, Nairobi.

Garrick is excited to return to action after two events in February on the European Tour showed that his winter preparations were heading in the right direction. Whilst he missed the cut In Perth at the World Super 6, he bounced back in fine style to make the cut at the Joburg Open with a second round 65. Rain derailed his third round charge as the tournament was reduced to 54 holes, but the signs were very positive.

After Kenya, Garrick has a three-week gap before the Turkish Airlines Challenge on 20th April. This is quickly followed by The Lookers Championship at Close House on 26th April, which is the first event of the Europro Tour 2017. Naturally, Garrick is really looking forward to playing an event in the North east and in front of his home supporters.

2017 Schedule

Garrick’s 2017 season is about to start in earnest as he attempts to climb the ladder from the European Challenge Tour to the main European Tour. Given his promising finish of 30th on the Road to Oman last year, Garrick has planned his schedule to take advantage of his categories on both tours. He also hopes to benefit from a change in the rules where playing some European Tour events and the points accrued will count towards both tour order of merits.

Garrick has had a productive winter. He has had a well-earned rest, trained and practiced hard and is now ready to test his form in tournament play. His first tournament is on the European Tour ‘Down Under’ at the ISPS Handa World Super 6 in Perth, Australia (16-19th February). He hopes this will be quickly followed by two further European Tour events in South Africa if his tour category permits. These will be the Joburg Open (23-26 February) and the Tswane Open (2-5 March).

The European Challenge Tour starts in Kenya in March and Garrick will be teeing it up in Nairobi again. He then plans to play predominantly on the Challenge Tour alongside one co-sanctioned event between both tours (Open de Portugal) and three other European Tour events that count for both tours (Italy, Austria and Czech Republic).

To assist Garrick in his preparations and practice for 2017 he has secured access to Close House. This will allow him full use of the excellent practice facilities and their two quality golf courses. In return, Garrick is delighted to be playing in the first Europro tournament of the year being staged at Close House from 26-28th April 2017.

Garrick is confident his experiences of last year on the European Challenge Tour will stand him in good stead for the forthcoming season. He is preparing as well as he can and really looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead. The schedule is in place and Garrick is determined and focused to realise his goals for the season.

Tour Experience

Ever fancied playing 9 holes with a tour professional? Now is you chance – play 9 holes with Garrick, learn his strategies and more about course management, plus a host of other insights. Please see the poster below and contact Garrick if you are interested.

Reflections 2016

After 23 events and 17 countries Garrick’s 2016 season is over. Overall, this has been a very positive season for Garrick. He finished 30th on the Challenge Tour Road to Oman rankings which is a significant improvement from 48th in 2015.

Garrick nearly entered the winner’s circle when he finished second in the Red Sea Egyptian Challenge in April. A further three more top ten finishes helped shape a very consistent season with 65% of cuts made and 64% of rounds at par or better. His scoring average of 70.77 was slightly ahead of 2015 (71.04) and was reflected in a cumulative 67 under par for all events played.

2016 saw a number of highlights for Garrick. In May, he joined the ‘Class of 2016’ established by his management company, International Sports Management to support and sponsor talented golfers. In July, he shot an incredible 61 (11 under par) at the Slovakia Challenge to record a new course record. This included nine birdies, one eagle and eight pars. Finally, in November he qualified and played in the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final in Oman. Rounds of 67-71-67-70 saw Garrick finish seventh and end the Challenge Tour season on a very positive note.

Ultimately, Garrick fell short of his goal and top 15 on the Road to Oman rankings for a European card in 2017. However, because of his 30th position, he has status on both the Challenge Tour (category 6) and the European Tour (category 18) for 2017. The journey continues and Garrick will be working harder than ever on all aspects of his game and fitness to prepare for 2017.

Road to Oman

Garrick Porteous produced four sub-par rounds in the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final at the Almouj Golf Resort in Muscat, Oman. He shot 68-71-67-70 to finish tied seventh on 12 under par and was delighted with the way he played. Whilst this elevated him from 36th to 30th on the Road to Oman rankings it wasn’t sufficient to claim a European Tour card for 2017.

However, the last six weeks on the Challenge Tour have been very fruitful for Garrick. He has shown further encouraging signs with two top ten finishes and his game continues to progress well.

He now has a few days rest before heading to Spain and PGA Catalunya to embark on European Tour Final Qualifying School. This takes place 12-17th November and the top 25 players will earn their European Tour cards for 2017.

Oman Bound

After five weeks on the road in Kazakhstan (6th), Italy, China (32nd and 44th) and the United Arab Emirates (16th) Garrick is bound for Oman to play in the season-ending NBO Golf Classic Grand Final. He set off on 2nd October 2016 52nd in the Road to Oman (Challenge Tour) rankings and now currently sits 36th. He has made four cuts out of five and produced some good golf to move steadily up the rankings. Overall, he is very satisfied with the way he has been playing and delighted to make the Grand Final, which takes place 2-5th November at the Al Mouj Golf in Muscat.

Oman provides the last chance to secure a card for the European Tour 2017 season in regulation tournament play. The top 16 on the Road to Oman will secure their cards whilst the remaining 30 golfers will go to the Final Stage of Qualifying School at PGA Catalunya, Spain 12-17th November.

Garrick’s 2016 season has been very positive with some excellent golf and results. The final two events still provide an opportunity to realise his dream for 2017.

Challenge Tour Returns

After a two week break the European Challenge Tour returns to action with the Kazakhstan Open on the 29th September 2016. Garrick has been enjoying the break, resting and practicing ahead of a potentially very busy six weeks.

After Kazakhstan the tour moves to Italy, followed by two events in China and then the final two events in the United Arab Emirates and Oman. This is the business end of the season with some of the most lucrative events still to come. Garrick currently lies 52nd on the Road to Oman, but with some good form and results the opportunity to claim a European Tour spot for 2017 is still alive.

Copyright © 2019 Garrick Porteous.