Monday, March 16, 2009

Bourdy looks to defend Title

France’s Grégory Bourdy will attempt to kick-start his 2009 season when he aims to follow in the footsteps of Paul Broadhurst in 2006 by successfully defending his Estoril Open de Portugal title from April 2-5. The 26 year old will return to Oitavos Dunes, in Estoril, where he defeated Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth and England’s David Howell last year in a three-man play-off following a superb final round comeback to win his second European Tour title. Bourdy went into the final day with a four stroke advantage over the field but looked as if he had let the title slip through his fingers as he reached the turn three over par for his final round. He recovered on the back nine to finish on 18 under par 266 and set up the play-off, which he won by defeating Howell on the fourth extra hole, after Forsyth had dropped out two holes earlier. Bourdy will again be joined by the pair in the field this year and he admitted he was looking forward to returning to the scene of his dramatic triumph to defend his title. “It was a very good comeback and a strange finish,” said Bourdy. “I was still confident of my game despite the bad start to my final round having played so well on the first three days. I thought it was possible to make some more birdies on the back nine and I managed to do that. It was a very exciting finish. “To then win the play-off against David Howell and Alastair Forsyth was great, especially after playing so badly on the front nine. It was a very good comeback. Maybe that made me enjoy the title much more than my first victory in Mallorca in 2007, because it was more difficult to win this tournament. “It was my first play-off on The European Tour but I had played in some play-offs before and I had always won so I was quite confident. I had played well all week so I felt good going into it. To win against David Howell, who is such a good player, was great for me. Alastair went out after the second hole meaning I finished with David, so it was like match play which made it more exciting.” Bourdy’s victory helped him finish inside the top 50 on The European Tour money list for the second successive season and he is relishing his return to Oitavos Dunes as defending champion as he looks to ignite his 2009 campaign which has begun slowly, with tied 43rd in Qatar his best finish so far. “I’m really happy to be going back to Portugal,” he said. “I love this part of the world, especially Estoril. It’s a wonderful place. I like the golf course, it suits my game, and it will be special for me going back as defending champion. “I’m feeling good about my game but I’ve not played well at the start of this year. I’ve had a really bad start but I’ve changed a few things in my swing. I have to be patient but I’m close to my best game. After a few weeks of practising I will be ready for Portugal.” Only Broadhurst and Sam Torrance (1983) have successfully defended the Estoril Open de Portugal since it became part of The European Tour International Schedule.

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