Bradley Dredge is hoping the memories of his victory in the Madeira Islands Open – Portugal in 2003, where he shot a 12 under par 60 en route to the title, will inspire another stirring performance this year.
The Welshman triumphed by a staggering eight shots at Santo da Serra Golf, where the event returns this year after three editions on the neighbouring island of Porto Santo.
Dredge’s success was helped significantly by his stunning third round, when he came close to recording the first round of 59 in European Tour history, and the 38 year old is relishing returning.
“I always enjoy coming to the island of Madeira,” he said. “The course has improved every year so I’m looking forward to going back there. The food is always really great in the nice restaurants there and we stay in a good hotel.
“It’s always nice to come back to a place where I’ve played well in the past.
“The 60 stands out obviously, and having that chance to shoot 59. I had a putt from about seven or eight feet on the 17th which unfortunately I missed. I missed the fairway on the last and although I was on the green in two, I was 40 feet away, so I didn’t really have a chance for birdie there.
“You always remember those kinds of rounds. I remember walking up the 16th fairway with my caddie Rick, and we were counting how many under par I was. It’s not often you’re ten or 11 under and have to count up the birdies on both hands. I was 11 under and then I birdied the 16th.
“It was on the 16th that I thought shooting 59 was within reach. I hit it close on the 17th and had a good chance, but it wasn’t to be. I don’t think it would have counted officially as a record anyway because we were playing preferred lies.”
Dredge has made six appearances this season and has two top-20 finishes – 20th in the Open de Andalucía Costa del Sol and 17th at the Trophée Hassan II the following week.
“I feel as though my form going into the event has been pretty good and I’m looking for a good week in Madeira,” he said.
“My win was a while back now, although it doesn’t feel that long ago. One of the European Tour referees said to me the other day that I must be the player who’s played the longest on Tour without a win. Hopefully he’s just winding me up!”
Dredge added of the par 72, 6825-yards layout: “It’s not an easy course. There are a few holes that stand out – the par three fourth is one. You just want to see the ball land on the green because the wind can swirl and gust and you can end up anywhere – over the back of the green or way short.
“You’re just looking to hit the middle of the green, two-putt and walk off with a par. It’s a test of patience, but that’s what golf is all about.
“You have to be fit to get around the course, but fitness-wise I’m always in pretty good shape. You’ve got to be prepared for what the course might throw at you, but I know what it’s like and I’m looking forward to getting out there.”
Five other former champions are in the field - Alastair Forsyth, Daniel Vancsik, Niclas Fasth, Jarmo Sandelin and Santiago Luna - to contest the €675,000 prize fund, as is three-time European Tour winner Nick Dougherty.
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