The Mugello Tuscany Open returns to Poggio dei Medici Golf Club near Florence this week and last year’s champion Floris de Vries has revealed his tips on how to play the course.
The Dutchman posted rounds of 67, 68, 71 and 68 over the 7,114-yard, par 71 course to finish level on ten under par with Thorbjørn Olesen, then edged out the Dane in a play-off.
It was a dramatic finish as De Vries had led by three after 14 holes, only to bogey the 16th and 17th. He then hit what he later described as the best shot of his life, a three wood from 239 yards to six feet, but missed putts for eagle and birdie and had to settle for par and a place in the play-off.
The victory was the catalyst of a fine season which resulted in De Vries gaining his first European Tour card after finishing fourth in the Rankings, and he remembers Poggio dei Medici fondly.
“I remember the second hole being extremely hard,” he said. “It is a par four but long, and a lot of the guys last year were laying up their second shot short of the water and then pitching onto the green with their third.
“So that is a key hole and if you play it well you’re off to a good start. The first two holes are very important so if you can par the first two you should be pretty happy.
“Three, four and five are pretty simple – the third is a par five and four and five are par four – so you should be aiming to get through the first five holes in two under par if you’re playing well. If you do that you’re doing very well.
“The sixth through to the 11th are all quite tricky, but if you keep hitting the fairways you should be fine. It’s not a course where you need to be very long, and these holes in particular are not that long. It is, however, very hilly which makes it tougher than the yardages seem.
“On the 13th, 14th and 15th you can afford to be quite aggressive and make your move. These are holes that give you opportunities for birdies. And the last hole is a great finishing hole and you should be aiming to score there as well.
“So you need to be careful at the start and in the middle section, but there are also some holes where you can go for it and try and post a low score.”
De Vries made a promising start to the 2011 season, making five cuts from seven events, but then had to withdraw from the Open de Andalucia by Turkish Airlines with a knee problem and has been sidelined ever since.
“I have an infection in my knee and have been taking antibiotics, so I am going out of my mind with boredom and cannot wait to get back playing,” he said. “I’m still not sure when that will be. I was aiming for Wentworth (the BMW PGA Championship) but I’m not that confident as it hasn’t improved as quickly as I’d hoped. It is very annoying but I just have to be patient.”
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