JUANMA Fuentes Perez was yesterday crowned champion of the 55th Bahrain Open at Awali Golf Club.
Perez carded an even par 70 in the final round of play to finish with a four-under-par gross of 136 and clinch the coveted title by two shots.
The Bahrain national team coach won on his debut appearance in the prestigious annual competition, which was also the first time ever he played on a sand course.
“I’ve never played on sand before; just started three days ago and I really like it,” Perez told the GDN.
“It’s a really big test of golf. There are a few things different from playing a normal grass course, such as the speed of the greens and knowing where you have to put the ball, but overall it takes a lot of the same to do well.”
Perez was presented the Bahrain Open Trophy in an awarding ceremony that followed play. In attendance were Bapco GM HR and Administration Khalid Al Sabbagh, Awali Golf Club Captain Paul Anderson, Tournament Director Serwin Rampersad, and other players and supporters.
“I am very happy to win against such a talented field of players,” Perez added. “There were many top local golfers and some other professionals, and they added good value to the tournament.
“I really enjoyed taking part in this competition. Awali Golf Club is a really nice place and the members are so welcoming of us and they take very good care of us. I hope to see this tournament grow even bigger in the future.”
Perez finished ahead of runner-up Saleh Al Kaabi, who was last year’s winner. One of the highlights of Perez’s weekend was a rare eagle on the par five 18th on day one.
He almost repeated that feat yesterday, but could not sink his third shot and had to settle for a birdie.
Al Kaabi carded a two-under-par 68 to finish with a total of 138 for second place. He headed into the round joint-fifth but had one of the best scores of the day.
In third place was Jamie Elson who was one-under-par in the final round for a day two gross of 69 and 139 overall.
In fourth with the same final score was Sultan Al Hakam, who dropped from second position overnight after going for a two-over-par 72 yesterday.
Hamad Mubarak Al Afnan was fifth overall with a gross 143. Nasser Yacoob followed with a score of 144 in sixth, while Essa Ebrahim finished seventh on a 146 total.
Rounding out the top 10 were Abdulla Al Hakam in eighth with a 147 score, Khaled Salem in ninth also with a 147 total, and Hussain Salem in 10th with a gross 148.
Outside the main prize winners, several other awards were presented.
The prize for Best Gross on Day One went to David Park, while winning for registering the Best Gross of Day Two was Mohammed Al Marisi.
The prize for Best Nett of 138 was claimed by Hamed Al Qatami, while Mohammed Hamed clinched the Best Nett of Day One and Eid Murshaid Best Nett of Day Two.
This year’s Bahrain Open featured a field of 106 players, both professionals and amateurs, coming from all over the world.