We take a look inside the bag of Ricardo Santos to explore how he became the first Portuguese to win on home soil on The European Tour after a thrilling display of golf at last week’s Madeira Islands Open – Portugal.
Santos, who gained his European Tour card last year thanks to a fourth place finish in the 2011 Challenge Tour rankings, fired a stunning final-round 63 – nine strokes under par for the day – to cut through the field and win the tournament by a comprehensive four strokes from Sweden’s Magnus A Carlsson.
Beginning the day four shots shy of overnight leader Carlos Del Moral in a tie for third place, Santos knew he would have to put a special performance together to be in with a chance of claiming his maiden European Tour title at Santo da Serra, and special it was.
After rounds of 68-67-68 Santos had looked all week like a man in form and comfortable playing on home soil, and this form only improved in Sunday’s fourth round, producing a flawless display featuring nine birdies – including a hat-trick from the 16th to finish in style.
Reflecting on the victory afterwards, the 29 year old highlighted the key areas of his game that had helped him capture the €112,500 first prize and propelled him up to 50th in The Race to Dubai.
“I just played very solidly all the way round,” he said. “I kept hitting fairways and greens and trying to hole putts, and luckily my putting was incredible today.”
Indeed it was incredible, including a huge birdie putt on the 17th green that effectively sealed Santos’ victory. In all, the Faro born man had just 24 putts in total in the final round – indicative of the form he had shown with the smallest club in the bag over the course of the week.
In the Genworth Statistics Santos ranked fourth overall in Putts per Round with 27.5 putts, and first in the field in Putts per Green in Regulation with 1.619. His rankings on the putting surface were also reflective of superb iron and wedge play throughout all four days, ranking third in Greens in Regulation with 80.6 per cent, and the 2011 Princess by Schüco Champion took full advantage with a red hot putter thrusting him towards a breakthrough victory.
The quality of his overall game, though, cannot be ignored, ranking favourably across the board after finding an average of almost 61 per cent of fairways from the tee to finish 16th in Driving Accuracy, and 35th in Driving Distance, his sizeable 310 yard average drive surprisingly only placing him 35th in the rankings.
Here is what he had in his bag:
|Ball ||Titleist, Pro V1 X (11)|
|Driver||Titleist, 910 D3 - 8.5°|
|1st Utility Wood||Titleist, 910 H - 17°|
|3 - 9 Iron ||Titleist, 712 MB|
|Pitching Wedge||Titleist, 712 MB|
|Sand Wedge||Titleist, Vokey SM4 - 56°|
Titleist, Vokey SM4 - 60°
|Extra Wedge||Titleist, Vokey SM4 - 52°|
|Putter||Odyssey, W/H XG #7|