Hole-in-one on new International Olympic Academy Golf Course among highlights at the 5th edition of the international golf tournament in Greece
2 December 2021 – Costa Navarino – Beautiful Messinian scenery and playing on the world’s first International Olympic Academy Golf Course were among the many highlights at the 2021 Messinia Pro-Am at Costa Navarino, the biggest and most successful yet in the event’s burgeoning history.
The line-up of professionals and more than 200 amateurs enjoyed golf across three different layouts, while forging new friendships by day and night at an array of events that celebrated Greece’s history, heritage and culture. For the first time, the Messinia Pro-Am featured rounds on The Dunes Course, The Bay Course and the International Olympic Academy Golf Course – one of two new José María Olazábal-designed layouts at Navarino Hills which are set to fully open in February.
For one player in particular, it was a week he will never forget as amateur Adolf Bachlea achieved a hole-in-one on the signature par-three 12th hole on the first official day’s play at the International Olympic Academy Golf Course, and his achievement was honoured at the Pro-Am’s prize-giving ceremony when he received a special award from Mr Spyros Zannias, vice-president of the International Olympic Academy. The name of the new course symbolizes the links between golf and Olympism, as it is the nearest golf development to Ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games.
A record 75 teams gathered in Greece’s southwest Peloponnese for this year’s event, and they were treated to an exhilarating, fun programme, with European Tour member Vitor Lopes taking top honours on the course after a dramatic conclusion to the 54-hole tournament.
The PGA of Portugal member produced a finish to remember as he held his nerve to birdie the last three holes to edge out PGA of Austria professional Georg Schultes and take the title by one shot.
“Myself and my team enjoyed such a fantastic environment here at Costa Navarino, both on and off the golf course,” said Lopes. “The new International Olympic Academy Golf Course at Navarino Hills opened for the tournament and it is unbelievable. It is certainly challenging but it combines a great layout with amazing views to make a great golf course. We cannot wait to come back next year.”
Lopes finished on a three-round score of 205, one stroke ahead of Schultes and three shots clear of Turkish professional Ulas Karatas in third.
The team event was won by Team Dooley (represented by PGA of Austria professional Steve Dooley and amateurs Claudia Stritecky, Gerhard Komarek and Julian Komarek) clinching a hard-fought victory by just one point on an overall score of 262 Stableford points after a strong final round on The Bay Course.
Sanctioned by the Confederation of Professional Golf and held under the auspices of the PGAs of Greece and the Hellenic Golf Federation, this year’s field featured entries from 20 countries.
Professionals, amateurs and their guests were accommodated at The Westin Resort Costa Navarino – a multi-award-winning five-star resort – and enjoyed a fascinating programme of themed evening events and dinners.
These included an American-themed ‘Bowl & Roll’ charity night, raising funds for the SOS Children’s Villages, and a final glittering prize-giving ceremony – hosted by Sky Sports News presenter Bela Shah and top broadcaster Chris Hollins – which included a gala performance from Petros Kourtis, who played at the opening ceremony of the 2004 Athens Olympics, honouring the bicentenary of the Greek Revolution in 1821.
A touching final moment of the evening came when Olazábal Design presented Costa Navarino with a commemorative bag and set of clubs including the putter used by José María Olazábal during his 1999 victory at The Masters. These will go on view in the new Navarino Hills clubhouse when it opens next spring.
It was a fitting conclusion to Costa Navarino’s 2021 season with golfers set to return to the Mediterranean’s prime sustainable destination from February 20, 2022, when all four courses set within a 13km maximum distance, will be in operation.
The official carrier of the fifth annual Messinia Pro-Am again this year was AEGEAN a member of Star Alliance, the strongest global aviation alliance. Alpha Private Bank was for another year Messinia Pro-Am’s loyal partner and silver sponsor, Vodafone Business was a bronze sponsor that proved for another year that ‘together we can’, the event organiser and official travel partner was Erasmus and Hertz was the official car transfer partner providing safety and comfort.
Τhe generous sponsors of this year’s Messinia Pro-Am elevated the overall guest experience, bringing a local flavor to the event with all day food and drink stations by local and international brands: The bars were always busy, filled with Amvyx brands: Jose Cuervo, Glefiddich, Nissos and Gancia; the athletes were energized on and off course with Costa Coffee, Amita Motion and Vikos soft drinks, while Poseidonia Restaurant, The Wagon Bar and Siampis, offered tasty and nutritious food and beverages in all three golf courses. Vourakis Jewellers crafted once again the beautiful Messinia Pro-Am awards. In addition, the Pro-Am had three international media partners – Simply Golf (Austria), Nineteen Golf (Switzerland) and Golfbladet (Sweden).
n The dates for next year’s Messinia Pro-Am will be announced soon. For further details visit messiniaproam.costanavarino.com
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