Monday, 02 June 2014
Alvaro Velasco   (Getty Images)
Alvaro Velasco (Getty Images)

Former winner Alvaro Velasco will return to the small island of La Gomera looking to emulate his victory of four years ago at the Fred Olsen Challenge de España.

Three rounds in the 60s that week were enough for the Barcelona native to claim a maiden Challenge Tour win by two strokes from Scotland’s Elliot Saltman at Tecina Golf.

Velasco would go on to claim the Kazakhstan Open just a few months later en route to topping the Challenge Tour Rankings in 2010, a feat that earned him a place on The Race to Dubai.

He would did not retain his playing privileges on The European Tour the following season, and has been back on the second tier for the past three years looking to rekindle that form.

La Gomera should bring back plenty of happy memories, though, and after a tie for 12th at the recent Open de España, Velasco is in confident mood.

“I’m always excited to return to La Gomera,” said Velasco. “It is a very nice place and the course is really good. It reminds me of good moments in my career, so I am very happy to go back there.

“My game was quite sharp that week, but my putter wasn’t that good until the last day. I remember I was hitting my shots to the green very nicely and giving myself plenty of birdie opportunities so hopefully I can build on that and play that well again.

“You have a lot of wedges to the greens, so if you can knock it close with those and then take advantage of the par fives, which are quite reachable, then you can make many, many birdies.

“My win in 2010 was key to the rest of that season, and after that I started playing really solid. I was playing OK beforehand, but that win really gave me lots of confidence and I played very well from then on. When I won Kazakhstan I was still riding that momentum from earlier in the season.

“My game feels pretty good, I’ve been playing quite solid the last couple of weeks, and I am hoping to start to put good scores together. The Open de España was a great week for me, playing in my National Open on the European Tour, and to play well was very nice. That result has given me my confidence back, and I have come back to the Challenge Tour with a fresh perspective.”

Velasco will return to La Gomera in high spirits after a closing round of 69 saw him finish in a tie for 19th at last week’s D+D REAL Czech Challenge.

The Spaniard will be joined in the Canary Islands by Oliver Farr, Antonio Hortal and Moritz Lampert, who have all picked up maiden titles recently, while Jordi Garcia Pinto will also be at Tecina Golf looking to extend his advantage at the top of the Challenge Tour Rankings.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LAMPERT, MoritzGER18-20
2JOANNES, HuguesBEL18-18
T3CLAVERIE, LuisESP18-16
T3DELPODIO, MatteoITA18-16
T5SJÖHOLM, JoelSWE18-15
T5JOHNSTON, AndrewENG18-15
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